In the past half a year, I explored the space of thoughtware by creating rather isolated tools for thought which I was individually excited about:
- dual: amplifying knowledge work through user-defined assistants.
- autocards: accelerating learning through machine-generated flashcards.
- semantica: extending conceptual thinking through semantic embeddings.
- memnav: expanding propositional memory through text mining.
- k-probes: promoting critical thinking through prompt generation.
- eeg2fmri: enhancing neuroimaging through cross-modal synthesis.
I learned a lot about both thoughtware and myself through those projects, and I now have a more refined vision of how thoughtware should be like. It should be open source and self-hosted, in order to ensure better goal alignment between users and tools. It should be modular and composable, in order to support a combinatorial explosion of workflows. It should amplify and extend existing human brilliance rather than dehumanize through atrophy. It should non-judgementally extend the range of thinkable thoughts, rather than limit minds to rationalist conceptions of truth and knowledge. It should be informed by specific strengths and weaknesses of the human psyche as understood in cognitive psychology. It should be defined by its underlying culture and embodied principles, rather than opaque creators.
The conceptual framework I’m currently using as a backdrop for my thoughtware development is centered around terms like: belief, belief system, concept, idea, ideology, mental model, metaphor, paradigm, perspective, representation, thought, thought pattern, worldview. I multiplex those with technical terms like: sensor, filter, editor, bot, storage, mapping, search, or sampling. In the upcoming months, I plan to bring the following ideas to life, roughly in order:
- conceptarium: a fluid medium for storing, relating, and surfacing thoughts.
- ideoscope: an instrument for quantifying, understanding, and optimizing your thinking.
- an RSS aggregator which optimizes for surprisal.
- an IDE for synthesizing belief systems.
- a window into units of mutual interest.
- a memory palace which projects meaning onto physical space.
My work on the thoughtware stack is made possible by a handful of generous sponsors. If you resonate with it and want to support the growth of a new tooling ecosystem for thinking, please consider supporting me.