I have long been frustrated by the repetition and inefficiency of the many forms our thoughts and content may take along its lifecycle. Some of this is no doubt a necessary and valuable part of the process of refining an idea; discussing it with a friend; writing some personal notes; perhaps more discussion; etc. But there are definitely steps of the process that I often encounter which feel like a needless impediment to the next and more interesting stage, whether that is collating research notes into a cohesive outline, or writing a final article after collecting notes and thoughts over a long period of time.
Extending beyond personal writing, there is a broad range of content out there that could be of greater value in a different form, whether it’s in the content of someone’s comment on an article or video, a Hacker News discussion, a private conversation in some direct messaging app, or any number of other things.
So the principle consideration here is how to move valuable “content” between different contexts. As with many of these thinking topics, I’m going to set aside platform issues for now, since they’re a thornier and arguably less interesting problem. My principle interest here is in what kind of value exists here and is as-yet largely untapped, and how to actually provide tools to make that happen.
It is increasingly obvious that AI is going to be tremendously helpful with this kind of thing. This is no great insight, but I kind of just wanted to muse on some possibilities here, which maybe I’ll refine later. Or… maybe not. This is a broad topic, so I think the best I can do for now is to throw some example ideas and scenarios out there as I work through them in my mind…
There are many people out there already doing the work of repackaging, collating, summarizing, reacting to, etc. lots of other, existing content. This is essentially the creation of new content value based on existing content. But couldn’t AI arguably do a lot of this more accurately, quickly, and consistently? At least in some cases I think the answer is a clear yes.
I was first inspired to start this topic perhaps surprisingly by writing about Moving private conversation into public channels - recipient fluidity and negotiating permissions with the help of AI. There it seemed like AI could be a great help in taking an informal and perhaps meandering conversation about a topic of greater collective interest (e.g. trip planning, recipe discussion, etc.), and summarizing it into a neat and informative “first post” for a new shared discussion topic. Obviously one could do this manually, but I strongly believe that the more work there is in doing things, the less likely people are to do it, so decreasing “friction” for the most positive outcome (in my view) is key.
In this case it may be obviously of value to many people to have some useful notes about someone’s experiences with a recipe, or to summarize a conversation around some travel recommendations that raised some questions, etc. You might want to share these questions and their context with one or more people you know who could help, or who had similar questions. Again you could do the work of summarizing the conversation for each person, but wouldn’t you be a lot more likely to actually share this stuff if you could just press a button, select a few messages, 1 or more recipients, and have the AI take care of the rest?
Another rich source of potential value and info is the YouTube comments section (stay with me here ). Say you’ve just watched a video on a popular task management workflow and there are 500 comments. Maybe there are some new ideas, solutions to problems the original video doesn’t cover, etc. somewhere in those 500 comments. What if an AI could look through all the comments for things that seem useful and then generate a summary of fixes, workarounds, and other insights? And you wouldn’t have to read the dreaded comments section! Seems like a massive value to me.
More to come…