Second Brain/Attention/Find Your Books

Recomendo - issue #411

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Mathematica creator Stephen Wolfram discusses AI

Don’t miss this Reason Podcast interview with computer scientist Stephen Wolfram on the future of artificial intelligence. Wolfram, the creator of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, offers insights on the capabilities and limitations of current AI systems like ChatGPT. He discusses the prospects for AI solving fundamental scientific problems, concerns about AI outputs reverting to the mean and dampening originality and innovation, and the choice between allowing powerful AI systems to operate in unpredictable ways versus constraining them to only do predictable things, limiting their capabilities. – MF

Build a soulful, second brain 

Sublime is a personal knowledge management tool crafted with soul. I’ve been allowing myself to digitally hoard all the beautiful words and insightful advice I come across online. Everything you save in Sublime becomes a card, and these cards can be organized into collections. There’s also a communal aspect to Sublime; you can follow other users and search public collections for cards to add to your library. I love that it encourages connections, synchronicities, and learning. I imported all of my Readwise book highlights and have been using Sublime as a literary Pinterest. The app is still in beta, and there is a waitlist, but Recomendo readers can skip the line and test it out for free. If you do sign up, here’s my profile — follow me and I’ll follow you back! — CD

Battle for attention

In an age of abundance, attention is our only scarce resource. Yet we know so little about it. This wonderful article in The New Yorker, “The Battle for Attention,” gives attention its own attention. I love the part about a secret movement that has evolved a 3-part method for paying attention collectively, which entails examination without judgment. – KK

Scribd for free

Scribd is a document hosting service that charges $12 a month to download the files it hosts. Since it makes money offering books I’ve written without paying me royalties, I have no compunction recommending this website that lets you download files that Scribd hosts for free. Note that I am not suggesting you download copyrighted material. I use it to download public domain documents, such as court records. – MF

Instantly catalog your personal library 

I have bookshelves in my living room, office, bedroom, and basement. Thanks to a Reddit Life Pro Tip, I can now find any book in my house with ease. All you need to do is take photos of all your bookshelves and give your phone a few minutes to process and index the text from the spines of the books. Once the little OCR icon appears in the corner of your photos, you can search for a title in your photo app at any time. It will show you exactly where the book is located on your shelf by highlighting the text found in the photos. This method worked on my iPhone, and I’m hoping it works on Android too, because it’s so useful. — CD 

Popup Japan

Craig Mod is a writer, designer, photographer, friend, and world-class walker who lives in Japan. He is currently walking from Kyoto to Tokyo (for the third time!) along a traditional route at the crazy pace of 30-40 km per day for 18 days. At the end of each looooong day, Craig is writing up the most lyrical and lovely observances of modern Japan along the way. His daily letters are insightful, honest, dark, luminous, sweet and prolific. When the walk is done at Tokyo, the daily newsletter stops and all emails are deleted. He’s one-third done, but you can sign up for his “popup newsletter” called The Return to Pachinko Road here. – KK


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