Artificial intelligence loosens the link between creativity and craftsmanship. A new online marketplace helps control the systems by selling pre-made prompts.
Advanced generative AI systems for text and images can take over some work from human professionals. They write elegantly worded texts in many languages or create high-quality graphics and illustrations - provided you give them the right commands, so-called "prompts."
Prompt engineering is developing into an art form of its own, as my colleague Maximilian Schreiner recently noted in his prompt guide for DALL-E 2. A new marketplace wants to profit from this.
Buy prompts for DALL-E 2 and GPT-3 online
It often takes a few tries until you find the optimal prompt for the desired motif or text. Besides, the creative potential of AI generators is huge - you'd have to spend a lot of money to even find out what's possible.
The new online marketplace "Promptbase" sees a business model here: it offers predesigned prompts for OpenAI's DALL-E 2 and GPT-3, which you can use to steer the system in the direction you want.
Prompts are posted by platform users, and prices currently range from $1.99 to $5. Promptbase receives a 20 percent share for each prompt sold. The startup also offers a consulting service for prompts.
"If you're good at prompt engineering, there's also no clear way to make money from your skills. PromptBase is a marketplace for buying and selling quality prompts that produce the best results, and save you money on API costs," the website says.
Computer commands as a commodity
Promptbase's offer serves as inspiration and can also make sense from an economic perspective: For DALL-E 2, for example, you pay about 13 cents per prompt.
If you get to the desired result faster with a purchased prompt idea for $2, your total cost can be lower, even if you paid for the prompt itself. Then there's the time savings and, of course, the value of the idea itself.
One challenge for Promptbase is controlling posted prompts, which becomes increasingly difficult as the company grows. That's because if prompts violate the content guidelines of AI providers like OpenAI, the command won't work and may even result in a warning or suspension. Currently, the startup manually checks all prompts.
Another business risk: purchased prompts can be shared online without Promptbase being able to take action against them. In any case, prompt creators already share their ideas for free in online communities, which should have more growth potential than a paid marketplace.
But it's possible that the overall market for creative machine prompts will become so large that a provider of select premium prompts will still have a raison d'être.