🏛 Stoas near [[@flancian/tools for thinking]]📖 HedgeDoc at https://doc.anagora.org/tools-for-thinking 📖 Etherpad at https://stoa.anagora.org/p/tools-for-thinking 📹 Jitsi at https://meet.jit.si/tools-for-thinking
- #event https://www.eventbrite.com/e/render-tools-for-thinking-tickets-387188961607
- #go https://www.betaworks.com/event/render-tools-for-thinking#livestream-section
- organized by betaworks
I'll be scribing live, let's see how it goes :)
- If you're viewing this on anagora.org, you can join in and take notes in the public document ("stoa") below.
- I'll use one section below per session; I'll probably only do one or two live though.
- plexus will be used here (hadn't heard of it)
- see also tools for thought (a different group/term, but with some overlapping members)
- john borthwick jerry michalski
- How can a computer be a better tool for thinking?
- The word information -> better forming our minds.
- How to take all the ideas of a flow of information and analyzing them as they influence the world.
- What can we do with well tuned datasets??
- open protocols
- all the data could be owned by people contributing it, against the recent trend towards silos
Associative thinking; scaffolding them together; let them simmer in our brains.
- Taking a walk, going to sleep.
- Scaffold, then sleep.
- was introduced to his now wife as the biggest brain on the internet, high expectations :)
#push thebrain ~ the brain
- #push jerry's brain
- one million thoughts
- dioramas out of toothpicks
hypercard could have been the future (might be still!)
- bubble charter
- long standing addiction to the tool
- team mode is not what he'd like
- how to allow different people to use different tools, yet still create an aggregated insight
- we're dumber than we normally would be
- two more points
- civilizational aspect to this
- first thing recorded was theatre
- john borthwick
- #push readwise
john borthwick where do you see us by the end of the decade?
- belief that there will be a lot of change in this space
- when they started, evernote was the most popular request -- that's changed a lot since then
on a macro level
- (missed one beat here I think)
paradigm shift with #push notion (2017-2020), block based architecture
- other innovation: multiplayer
- then #push roam (blew up in 2021), first somewhat mainstream graph database
- then many tools coming online, but no clear next item of big innovation
- why did evernote get stuck?
one of the promises of the internet:
- you can just build anything, no need to ask for permission (if you have the basic resources, etc.)
- notion raised VC, a million or two before going mainstream
- roam raised very little before really growing
#push readwise didn't want to raise any money, unsure of the venture scale
- started charging a monthly fee for a consumer product (shock! :)), now can support a small team
- if you don't have the enterprise use case and are consumer based instead, it's unclear how sustainable you can be a priori (-> in the current landscape; but that might be ripe for a change, enough people want a way out of walled gardens, want a choice.)
- anki for writing?
how does this compare to gpt-3 generation? asker feels that AI based suggestions aren't really that great
- can't speak about better/worse, but for some people this might feel easier
- core thesis for ai
- john borthwick many silos enforcing separation between ideas; also a risk of being fascinated by the technology or the tool
- uncanny valley
- one company is controlling ebooks and is making it hard to innovate (if I got that right?)
- bet: innovation more likely either on podcast side or text to speech
- john borthwick the downsides of silos
#q over the last n years the tools for thought space has been changing; how has usage of your tool changed with that?
- started with srs
- started with kindle highlights, disentangling and making useful
- there was a period when people thought they would do anything in a particular tool, like roam
at some point they asked: what's the number one feature we need to implement to actually make money, charge for it?
- evernote was the first big one, that would not be the case before
- the user of twitter has helped advance the space
- #q if you did enterprise, what would you do?
#q on information density are people reading slower? it takes twice as long to listen than to read
- attention is more often split when listening
- less information absorbed when people are listening
- are you able to unplug and read for, say, 20 minutes?
"throw all your technology away, go into a cottage and read paper"
- the problem can probably be solved this way, but that's not feasible actually
- "fight technology with technology"
- maybe it's good to be able to read on your smartphone, how do you accomplish that?
- emergent reading (?)
- #q it seems you're in the position of owning the plumbing: can you lean into that, are you blocked by the players in this space?
john borthwick on the knowledge blob: it should be transportable
- they had to come up with their own core abstractions when developing their reading app.
- why don't we build on top of a block architecture]]?
"like it was the fashion at the time" :)
- metaphor from user feedback: no, it doesn't really work, it's too soupy (?)
- it felt "too liquid"
- how to turn fluid thoughts into coherent text
- document ~ doc
meaning exchange for knowledge blobs
- notes that you take while reading
- when you want to read a 120 tweet thread, you actually want to see that as a document that you can annotate as a whole
- #q on the toolchain aspect of the plumbing: love how you can jump from tool to tool. How much effort do you put into customizing the ingestion engines? On the Enterprise side: would love readwise for slack :)
#q Use cases in education; have you been thought about getting involved with schools? Have you thought about the impact of adoption by students who could be forced to use it? :)
Education just hasn't been something they've been successful at, haven't found a way to penetrate that field.
- -> hypothes.is collaboration?
- Education just hasn't been something they've been successful at, haven't found a way to penetrate that field.
gordon brander on subconscious
- (87 people watching at this point in time)
- actually talking about something on a larger scale than subconscious
- the internet is already a tool for thought
- we've gone through sense making crises several times on a historical level
we're going through another and we'll need to get through it
- planet scale challenges
- #push flanbook
- #push agora protocol
- some of the old dreams:
- took some time off here to post about this to social networks: gordon brander is building an agora! they don't call it that, but that doesn't matter. It looks technically advanced too.
memos are a really flexible data structure
- (super-thoughts? preceded them?)
- very generic content: they are essentially envelopes that can carry anything
- envelope has:
- ucan authorizes apps to manage data on your behalf
- sphere servers are superpeers. personal ipfs gateways.
- (missed the first minute)
jerry michalski with howard rheingold
- how do communities work? how do we get smarter humans?
- pass the floor
- (split screen with jerry's brain)
- palo alto research center
went there for alan kay's article for scientific american
- microelectronics in the personal computer
- if you weren't in xerox parc you just didn't have what he showed on screen
then time magazine making the personal computer person of the year
- the steves standing on the shoulders of giants
- it didn't come from defense contractors, it didn't come from corporations, it cames from individuals who used what institutions provided to build tools for thinking
- (missed one name here or two, check recording)
- von neumann
- alan turing
- led him to create.
- vannevar bush memex
howard rheingold on licklider 1960
- -> shame I can't read Jerry's brain here, I didn't know this name at first clearly :)
- (echo/feedback issues)
- J.C.R. Licklider got a position (which one?), had read Douglas Engelbart.
licklider has a psychologist on staff
- later involved in microdosing experiments?
#q jerry michalski what from the original vision has worked (and maybe we take for granted) and what hasn't (yet)?
- pointing and clicking
- shared notebook for people working on projects was part of the original demo
- tried going with organizations where these tools didn't work out, but the vision was as follows
- #push works
- vision was an integrated toolkit
- note taking apps, rapid learning apps
#q howard rheingold do you think of the brain as a way to think or a tool? (check?)
- Jerry thinks of it as photoshop for ideas
- (Demo bridging several nodes to cholera.)
- Putting all nodes side by side in a single tool (interface) is instrumental.
- thebrain's flexibility is one of the most attractive factors.
howard rheingold it externalizes your memory
- the magic number 7
- offloading leading going to higher levels of abstraction
- thinking visually w.r.t. the network of connections leads to a new framework of thought that would be otherwise difficult to hold in our minds at once
-> Howard wrote books before some of these tools; his office was plastered with papers and notes
- Stacks of notes that could be moved around.
- Ability to externalize was there; the ability to think with symbolic items.
- expressive capacity
- different tools have different expressive capacity
- when cad was new, it lacked a lot of the features it has now
- when shopping for a tool, it's hard to figure out which features we need a priori
some tools are very workflow opinionated, very rigid
- e.g. tools that enforce color coding
#q jerry michalski you set out to explore these tools and report back; what did you learn from your journeys?
- howard rheingold throughout history, we see that people who use tools find things to do with them
the internet is a good example: there is a myth that it was created as a bomb proof communication medium.
- actually packet switching was created for that purpose
- which was then adopted for the internet
- people like licklider knew of the need to network to exchange information
- researchers started using the network to talk about things like science fiction
- bob taylor: lesser known but very important character
- researchers supported the emerging community
- intergalactic network
- the model of an expert who broadcasts knowledge isn't as useful as a group or community of people who are learning together ~ colearning
#q jerry michalski on the problem of assigning truth values (paraphrasing, check)
- daughter started using search engines to do homework
- had to explain that up until now when teachers assigned a book, there were a number of authorities participating in that assignment (and could potentially act as gatekeepers)
- technology is advancing so fast that fake info risks becoming uncontrollable
- who do you trust? can you adopt their lists (adopt their trust)?
- sift if you're trying to check the veracity of that webpage, get off that webpage
- jerry michalski
#q On misinformation/disinformation. Politically: what's your view on the human mind itself, thinking of it as self-reinforcing loops? if you have a personal belief and you may or may not reinforce it.
- confirmation bias: more attuned to evidence that supports what we already believe
- the role of emotion and attachment
- don't know the answer to how to solve these tensions
- how to pull in the right people into the right discussions/contexts
human prejudices which keep us from learning things that we have not been yet trained to learn
- doesn't mean we won't discover ways to work around that
- we have to think of the strong connections between artifacts, language, metodology, training as they enable us to understand the psychology of the individual and the group
- experts on the well (sp?) is still around
- #push agora
- jerry michalski
#q is there a place for authority figures without going back to gatekeeping
- howard rheingold authority figure can be a loaded term
- authority of the text: how much you can trust the text, and the person
- teaching experience: social media
there's a place for authority and for questioning authority
- questioning is even more important now that we have fewer gatekeepers
jerry michalski the great transformation
- "don't ever read this book"
- critique of polanyi
- how do we steer away from radicalization as it's endorsed/enabled by corporate platforms?
#q (missed the gist of question about tools for thought, check)
- howard rheingold standard psychological tests with people and substituted a computer or cartoon rendition of a person or a computer voice: people attribute human qualities to things that computers do
- we have not evolved to make a distinction between synthetic and organic voices
- understanding our limitations can lead to working around them
one problem with teaching critical thinking:
if you teach questioning authority, they will question:
- ...and they tend not to like that :)
- when do you teach it? is elementary school too early?
- if you teach questioning authority, they will question:
#q michael thank you for your book. Two pieces to the description earlier of analog thinking extension: (...). How do those map, or not, to digital tools?
experiments with new interfaces
- move blocks around and change the computer landscape
book: the extended mind
- there's a lot of research that shows that teachers who use gestures are more effective teachers
- our bodies and how we manipulate forms in space communicate a way of thinking
jerry michalski sometimes a computer can slow you down and ask: how are you feeling right now? there's many processes (e.g. somatic) ongoing; slowing down and becoming mindful can help you become aware of them.
- physiological responses to new information.
- can we find that moment and call it out? offer a chance to slow down then, going deeper?
jerry michalski there are people who are aware of their heartbeat and people who aren't
- stock brokers: people who are aware of their heartbeat make better financial decisions (I think; the stream cut out for 10s)
- experiments with new interfaces
#q what's the more psychoactive experience you've had with a computer?
howard rheingold talked way into xerox parc, got access to an alto computer with a 5mb hard disk
- being able to move a paragraph around without retyping a page (!)
- "it was blissful" :D
- "it was not just a way to manipulate information, I could think better with it"
- computer programming does this with abstraction
what people did early online, late 1980s, people took psychedelics and chatted online
- lerl (sp?)
- took lsd again at some point, put on google earth and had a realization that what google was doing was building an ai
- howard rheingold talked way into xerox parc, got access to an alto computer with a 5mb hard disk
#q what do you think about tools for thought for modeling, simulations
- (had to context switch but this sounded interesting)
- Have to drop out for the day by now to prep dinner and start winding down for the night :)
📚 Node [[toolsforthinking]] pulled by the Agora
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559575547533033473
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559583096047116294
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559577225464352771
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559601534425395200
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559614656376889345
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559628714748559363
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1559660047407501314
- ChrisAldrich https://twitter.com/ChrisAldrich/status/1560385151640616960