The AI tool that I wish existed
There is an explosion in somewhat productivity based ideas and systems.
Browsing YouTube, Twitter or Reddit, one can read about nine different ways to organize your Notion, how Roam Research will transform your note-taking, the best ways to learn from notes and how you should listen to podcasts.
Like any novel efflorescence, it's become the subject of memes on its excessive nature.
Systems for system’s sake.
But for all these existing tools, they all are remarkably old style web in conception.
There are novel advancements in UI, or data organization, that is true. But they all still are built from primitives that would be known to someone coding in 2015 or 2005 or even 1995
Vague outline of the dream tool
The actual tool I would love to exist, one that would maybe fall into this semi mocked category, is one built around capturing, synthesizing and making information useful for creation.
But would purposely choose the idea of has being hands-off as possible, built with an AI first approach that would see the synthesis and usage integrated into your current work habits. Existing tooling could be connected, existing applications could talk to each other and existing development tools could be used. All the while, this magic tool of my imagination connects it all.
Brief note on what is AI first
Note on this AI first conception. What would it mean. The best way to perhaps think about it is the difference between Flickr and Instagram, or Google Maps on the desktop vs. Google Maps on the mobile. The differing approaches and focus change the products. The differing platform given priority changes, filters and mutates how it's designed.
The trade-offs on what gets built, what is useful and what needs to be designed around varies. And finally, the extent of the actions get built around the core focus. Mobile vs. Desktop first is one contrast, but I think yet another platform like differentiator exists.
The platform split of AI first vs. old web first is one that needs articulating.
Conceptually with AI first there is limitation on explicit actions by the user, anticipation, prediction and curation become centre stage. In the old web frontier one is structured into a certain frame, multi layer menus, configuration options and part assembled UIs.
Of course in reality just like with platform split of Desktop vs. Mobile, in AI vs. old web there will be many things that overlap. Configuration of some AI models bares some similarity to the configuration of some Notion document store. But this similarity is only surface level. The configuration of an AI first application is one with a great deal of extended affordance and effects, far beyond the understanding of the user. Much in a way that a fly-by-wire system in advanced aircraft will intercept and adjust in super human like ways the adjustment of the human pilot.
So what is the tool I think is possible
Currently, the smorgasbord of tooling around note-taking and knowledge capture implicitly assume a human directed model. You explicitly add or link content, the context is capture by you, the metadata is constructed by you. And perhaps out of the cloud you are inspired by something, but for the most part a great deal of human input is necessary to construct connections that should be automatically generated.
The tool I see is one that is first a queue management and ingestion machine, with inbound content from my Twitter likes, Reddit upvotes, Google Docs and downloaded PDFs catalogued and curated. Spliced and enhanced with added context.
That twitter thread about some new novel deep learning research. I want to capture the PDF link, I want the context of the discussion connected to the subreddit thread I read yesterday on issues with fatigue in wind turbine blades and I want the tool to prompt me the next time I go to sit down and start to program my mechanical stress python library that there is novel connection found from the content you have interacted with, perhaps it would be useful.
Summarization and CoPilot
The tool should pull from my marked content on the likes of Pocket or Instapaper, the articles linked in that twitter thread I marked, and generate a summary of interesting information. Because when I use the tool within Google Docs or program I'm creating, it should have an idea of what ideas are worth reminding me about, or what ideas are worth prompting me about. God help me but imagine Clippy, but it actually worked.
"I see you are writing a blog post on computer vision research, what about this cool paper you read 2 months ago the researcher also did something else tangential related here's how it would maybe fit in"
AI first tool should effectively allow me to search quickly over content with vague sounding phrasing. Vector search proves in some areas this is already possible, but we can extend it. Even basic OCR of images on Twitter would be a boon. Let me search "deep learning tesla model code" and have the tool surface a Reddit submission I upvoted with a link to GitHub and code for self drive model toy. Yes, it's nothing like the submission, but intuitively to a human you can see how the connections work. And working on the limited dataset of content I have explicitly interacted with plus with extended context, it's not a matter of trawling through everything on the internet.
Tool for content ingestion, curation and organization with search sitting with you as a creative copilot connecting ideas you have encountered and surfacing them when you need them. All of this is possible, and will extend the creative potential of millions of people. And more than this, such a tool would be capable of connection.
The closed ideology of siloed data makes no sense in terms of expending your creativity. You want to use this creative enhancer, this GPT-Creative, for enhancing any and all content you encounter.
Discover a new application, grant access to your creative companion, let them chew through the potential and enhance what the new connection throws back. Allowing you to interact directly with whatever you need to get done, focusing on building first without worrying about systems or ideal organizational tactics.