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Dive into AI - Part 1: For The Beginner - Personal Use

On popular demand, I go into the most basic fundamentals and compile a few resources, to help you get started in AI as a personal user

Before we start, a few disclaimers

  • This is part 1 of a four-part series. This is a beginner’s guide where I cover things in the most basic way.

  • Parts 2, 3, and 4 will be more advanced and will cover - Resources for the AI Business User, AI Builder, and AI Technologist. Subscribe to get them all!

  • This is NOT a one-day read. Bookmark / Save this to consume over a week or two and learn!  

What the heck is AI?

The software has evolved over 40+ years. All this while, mainstream software has been a series of instructions given to the computer to follow.

If this button is clicked, do this….

If this chat comes from the user, perform that action…

and so on!

Of course, I am over-simplifying to make a point here.

With AI, that changes. 

AI systems are not given specific instructions to follow to create a result. They are just fed with large amounts of data from the past, from where it learns and does things.

Imagine you have a robot vacuum cleaner at home. The robot cleaner is given instructions in its software about what to do in different situations. When it is switched on, power up the little mop and start moving. When it hot an obstacle, change course… etc.

Now imagine you have your 6-year-old at home. He has been watching you clean the house for 6 years now. One fine morning, you ask him to help you with cleaning. Do you always have to give clear instructions? No! Because the child has ‘learned’ by observing how to do the cleaning.

This is exactly what the difference between a traditional software system and an AI system is.

See some additional detail below, as told by ChatGPT, to a 10-year-old! 

What difference does it make for me?

A lot! Now as software (aka machines) have the power to learn and think and do things intelligently.

Learning from experiences and making decisions have always been ‘human traits’. Now when machines get that power, they can replace a lot of what humans do!

But, the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE for a normal software user like you is going to be this 👇

AI is democratizing software for you

In the past, each action that a software performs, needed to be ‘interfaced’! Made into buttons, text boxes, and more. For you to click, type and go.

Not anymore.

Now the software understands you! You can talk to the software in plain language and it can understand.

AI can make you 100x more productive

Imagine the time when men hunted for food. They hunted with stones and bare hands at first. Then the spear was invented. Compared to a stone, it was a 10x improvement.

Some men trained themselves to use the spear.

Some resisted. Stayed with the stones.

What do you think happened?

Obviously, the ones who trained themselves on the new tool survived and thrived!

This is what AI does for you. It makes your productivity 100x. It’s your choice if you want to adopt it fast and thrive or resist and perish!

Which are the AI tools?

There are tons of tools out there, but I will try to list two tools each for 3 major categories.

  1. General Purpose - Any text-based Use case - ChatGPT || Google Bard 

  2. Image Generation - Midjourney || Bluewillow

  3. Video Generation - Runway || Synthesia

You will get a lot of great resources listing hundreds of AI tools, but in my opinion, if you are smart enough to prompt well and get good results (read on for more info on this), you will only need ChatGPT or Bard for most of your use cases. 

‘Prompting’ the AI

You must have heard a lot of keywords around prompting, prompt engineering, prompt design, and whatnot!

But please understand - ‘Prompt’ is just a fancy word for ‘your conversations with the AI’! 

You do not need to be an engineer, you do not need to understand coding.

You just need to know a language and need to be smart and logical. 


How well you talk to AI defines how good the answer is.

Try both these prompts on ChatGPT. You will see how drastically different the results will be.

The basics of good prompting are the same as the basics of any good communication: Clarity, Simplicity, Context, and Right Expectations.

  1. Be Clear and Precise: Specify your needs. The more explicit your instruction, the better the AI can respond.

  2. Provide Contextual Information: Provide enough context for the AI. For example, if you're asking for an opinion on a book, mention the title and author.

  3. Simple, Brief Requests: Break complex questions into smaller, single requests. Instead of asking multiple questions at once, ask one at a time.

  4. Setting Expectations: AI is not perfect and may not always provide the desired answer. It's a tool to assist and provide information to the best of its training and abilities.

  5. Make Continuous Improvements: Like all AI models, it's designed to learn and improve over time. User feedback is crucial in this learning process.

If you would like to dig in deeper and learn more, beyond the basics, listing down two great resources. Use these only for advanced learning.

What can I use AI for?

The possibilities are endless! But here are a few quick personal or career use cases.

  1. Improving your resume. 📝

  2. Practicing a foreign language. 🌍

  3. Writing better emails. 📧

  4. Summarizing long articles. 📚

  5. Generating ideas for a birthday party. 🎉

  6. Assisting with homework. 📖

  7. Suggesting recipes based on ingredients. 🥘

  8. Helping create a workout plan. 💪

  9. Brainstorming ideas for a personal project. 💡

  10. Practicing job interview questions. 👔

  11. Finding the right words for a difficult conversation. 💬

  12. Writing a short story or poem. 🖋️

  13. Creating personalized reading lists. 📕

  14. Explaining complex topics in simple language. 🧠

  15. Offering mindfulness and meditation prompts. 🧘

  16. Setting reminders for important tasks. ⏰

  17. Suggesting movies or books you might like. 🎬📖

  18. Providing trivia for a game night. 🎮

  19. Helping plan a weekend getaway. 🌴

  20. Assisting in learning a new skill, like coding or painting. 🖥️🎨

How many do you connect with? Can you think of other use cases? Add them in the comments.

The Red Flags

The usage of AI does not come without red flags. As a technology that is still in its infancy, you should be very well aware of the limitations of AI while using it.

1. AI is not a master. It’s a TOOL

AI is a TOOL. Use it like one. For any use case that you use AI, ensure there is human oversight. Do not rely completely on AI for results. You are the master and never forget to use your brain!

2. AI can ‘hallucinate’

Sometimes you will notice that AI makes up stories and gives completely incorrect responses, especially when you expect factual data from the AI. For certain use cases, you might want it to be creative (eg: writing a poem or story). But in some other cases, you do not want it to be ‘creative’ and make up things (eg: you are asking for the ingredients of a dish). Beware of this happening.

3. Data Privacy

Every time you share some information with the AI, remember that the data is getting shared with the builders of the AI. Ensure you use AI tools from trusted developers and companies.


As a beginner, remember to start with the fundamentals, learn from practical examples, and keep up with the latest advancements in AI to stay at the forefront of this rapidly evolving domain. Embrace curiosity, experiment, and enjoy the journey of exploring the endless possibilities of artificial intelligence.

Up Next → Part 2: For the Business User