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The Evolution of AI Buzz: From Researchers to AI-Aware Users

Updated: Jun 30

By: Tianyi Huang

The AI buzz of the past decade wasn't aimed at the general public but was focused on AI builders—professionals and investors. To understand the evolution of AI buzz, we need to explore the AI world across three timeframes: two decades ago, the past decade, and the upcoming decade.

Two Decades Ago (2003-2013)

During this period, the excitement around AI was driven by researchers focused on aspirational methodologies and theories. Two critical components were missing: massive datasets and computing hardware to process them. The subsequent rise of cloud computing provided the necessary spark for AI to flourish, automating numerous tasks and allowing users to enjoy AI-powered experiences without even realizing it.

The Past Decade (2013-2023)

This era saw AI product designers focusing on providing a seamless user experience (UX), intentionally masking AI components. The hype around AI was concentrated among applied AI professionals and their investors. This period witnessed an AI revolution, albeit one hidden behind the curtain of smooth UX.

This Decade (2023-2033)

The upcoming decade promises an exciting shift in AI buzz. While AI research and applied AI will continue to gain momentum, a new player is emerging: the AI-aware product user, or "AI user" for short. In contrast to previous years, AI is now being pushed into the limelight, allowing users to actively engage with AI tools to solve individual problems. The product philosophy is evolving from providing instant gratification to offering useful, albeit imperfect, answers, encouraging users to tinker and learn.

As a result, a new professional class is rising: the prompt engineer. These individuals focus on using AI tools to push their boundaries and boost personal productivity and creativity without needing to be experts in AI research or applied AI. This shift marks the true revolution: the once-hidden AI now powers a new generation of interactive productivity tools designed for a growing user base.

As the AI buzz evolves and the number of AI users grows, the impact and reach of AI technology will expand exponentially, shaping the future in ways we can only imagine.

  • How do you think the rise of AI-aware users and the evolving product philosophy will shape the development and adoption of AI technologies in the coming years?

  • What opportunities and challenges do you foresee for different stakeholders, such as researchers, applied AI professionals, prompt engineers, and users?



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