- Oct 2023
What is easier? Come up with good slogans out of nowhere, or come up with good slogans after getting a list of striking details?
Of course this is the basis of keeping a zettelkasten for writing as well. When you can pull up prior ideas as a bank of information to work from, you're never starting from scratch, which is difficult not only for ChatGPT, but for people in general.
Cross reference research on naming "white" things versus naming with a more specific prompt like "white" things in your refrigerator.
- Aug 2023
I could continue a thread anywhere, rather than always picking it up at the end. I could sketch out where I expected things to go, with an outline, rather than keeping all the points I wanted to hit in my head as I wrote. If I got stuck on something, I could write about how I was stuck nested underneath whatever paragraph I was currently writing, but then collapse the meta-thoughts to be invisible later -- so the overall narrative doesn’t feel interrupted.
Notes about what you don't know (open questions), empty outline slots, red links as [[wikilinks]], and other "holes" in tools for thought provide a bookmark for where one may have quit exploring, but are an explicit breadcrumb for picking up that line of thought and continuing it at a future time.
Linear writing in one's notebooks, books they're reading, and other places doesn't always provide an explicit space which invites the reader or writer to fill them in. One has to train themselves to annotate in the margins to have a conversation with the text. Until one sees these empty spaces as inviting spaces they can be invisible to the eye.
- zettelkasten pedagogy
- The Great Conversation
- tree branching
- red links
- tools for thought affordances
- writing advice
- blank page
- Jun 2023
We assume the AI will generate what a human collaborator might generate given the prompt.
Mistaken human assumptions that AI will generate what a human would given the same prompt are reinforced by claims by those selling AI tools that such tools "understand human language." We don't actually know that AI understands, just that it provides a result that we can interpret as understanding (with the help of our cognitive biases).
This claim to understanding is especially misleading for neural network-based AI. We don't know how neural networks think. With older Lisp based AI we could at least trace through the code to see how the AI thinks.
we can improve AI interfaces by enabling conversational interactions that can let users establish common ground/shared semantics with the AI, and that provide repair mechanisms when such shared semantics are missing.
By providing interfaces to AI tools that help us duplicate the aligning, clarifying, and iterating behaviors that we perform with human collaborators we can increase the sense that users can predict what results the AI will provide in subsequent iterations. This will remove the frustration of working with a collaborator that doesn't understand you.
Collaborating with another human is better than working with generative AI in part because conversation allows us to establish common ground, build shared semantics and engage in repair strategies when something is ambiguous.
Collaborating with humans beats collaborating with AI because we can sync up our mental models, clarify ambiguity, and iterate.
Current AI tools are limited in the methods they make available to perform these tasks.
finding effective prompts is so difficult that there are websites and forums dedicated to collecting and sharing prompts (e.g. PromptHero, Arthub.ai, Reddit/StableDiffusion). There are also marketplaces for buying and selling prompts (e.g. PromptBase). And there is a cottage industry of research papers on prompt engineering.
Natural language alone is a poor interface for creating an effective prompt. So bad that communities and businesses are surfacing to help people create effective prompts.
- Nov 2022
Powerful, non-judgmental questions
- If you had to guess, what would have to be true for you to...?
- If you did know...
- (on tangent) ...and how does that relate to you?
- What's not allowing you to...?
- What prevents you from asking…?
- Do you want to go into this?
- What's your criteria for saying yes?
- What would have you say yes?
- What are the things we're lacking?
- What's the scary question that you're not asking?
- What are the qualities you want for [being, action, process, etc.]?
- How would you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do?
These questions and similar ones (work this out) could be interesting prompts to be included on a syllabus or as starts for an annotated syllabus. (eg: What do you want to get out of this class? What do you already know about these areas? How can we expand on what you know? What would you like to explore?, etc.)
- Feb 2022
When Peter Thiel interviews someone he likes to ask the following question: What important truth do very few people agree with you on? This question sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.
- Sep 2021
Lists of prompts for writing/journaling:
- 365 Thought Provoking Questions
- 87 Self-Reflection Questions for Introspection
- 200 Icebreaker Questions
- 237 Icebreaker Questions to Try with your Team
- 36 Questions that Lead to Love
- 119 Journal Prompts
- 120 Questions to Ask Yourself
For a potential template:
- # Morning Questions
- [[Morning Questions]] #daily
- [[What Am I Grateful for?]]
- [[What Would Make Today Great?]]
- [[What Am I Worried About?]]
- [[What Am I Thinking of?]]
- [[Morning Questions]] #daily
- # Evening Questions
- [[Evening Questions]] #daily
- [[How Am I feeling?]]
- [[What's Something Good That Happened Today?]]
- [[What Did I Do Well?]]
- [[What Could I Have Done Better?]]
- [[Evening Questions]] #daily