5 Matching Annotations
  1. Jun 2020
    1. One need arose quite commonly as trains of thought would develop on a growing series of note cards. There was no convenient way to link these cards together so that the train of thought could later be recalled by extracting the ordered series of notecards. An associative-trail scheme similar to that out lined by Bush for his Memex could conceivably be implemented with these cards to meet this need and add a valuable new symbol-structuring process to the system.

      This reminds me of of how the Roam Research app has implemented bidirectional links and block references.

    2. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.

      This sounds a lot like Rheingold's tools for thought.

    1. What if the best tools for thought have already been discovered? In other words, perhaps the 1960s and 1970s were an unrepeatable golden age, and all we can expect in the future is gradual incremental improvement, and perhaps the occasional major breakthrough, at a decreasing frequency?

      Many have been, but they've been forgotten and need to be rediscovered and repopularized as well as refined.

      Once this has happened, perhaps others may follow. Ideas like PAO are incredibly valuable ones that hadn't previously existed, but were specially built for remembering specific types of information. How can we combinatorially use some of these other methods to create new and interesting ones for other types of tools?

    2. Put another way, many tools for thought are public goods. They often cost a lot to develop initially, but it’s easy for others to duplicate and improve on them, free riding on the initial investment. While such duplication and improvement is good for our society as a whole, it’s bad for the companies that make that initial investment. And so such tools for thought suffer the fate of many public goods: our society collectively underinvests in them, relative to the benefits they provide
    3. With that said, the term “tools for thought” has been widely used since Iverson’s 1950s and 1960s work An account may be found in Iverson’s Turing Award lecture, Notation as a Tool of Thought (1979). Incidentally, even Iverson is really describing a medium for thought, the APL programming language, not a narrow tool. introducing the term. And so we shall use “tools for thought” as our catch all phrase, while giving ourselves license to explore a broader range, and also occasionally preferring the term “medium” when it is apt.