Ʌ: Thoughts

Chronoloop, or the Thought Cultivation Apparatus

woke spaced-repetition: extending human cognition via external storage and across time bespoke spaced-repetition: an autopoietic system where information time travels between your future and past self in a meaningful cybernetic loop


What if note-taking tools were a bit more serendipituous or even autonomous, and tried to “collaborate” with you on their content?


The most primitive way this might work is by trying to replicate the lucky coincidence I had: Select a recent note, or one that was left unfinished, and at a specific time of the day, or on other cues, make it unobtrusively pop up.

RemindMe bot on reddit kind of works the same way - allowing a relationship with the social site that simple periodic checking doesn’t.

Hierarchical outliners like Workflowy or Roam are prime for recalling/revisiting points, given their granularity and low input friction (i.e. it’s much more likely to actually match what you were thinking about, unlike say, Evernote).

The time of recall could also map to the time of creation/change in a more interesting way - akin to Spaced Repetition Systems. Less accessed notes could be recalled less/more often;the “rating” given could reflect the appropriateness of the note for this type of recall.

Implicit history // digital “wear”

In a similar way that a book’s pages are worn depending on what parts are read the most, the note-taking app could subtly show usage patterns through for ex. shading:

  • How much time was spent on a certain note/subtree
  • When was it created or last updated
  • At what time of the day is it accessed the most
  • What notes were edited at around the same time


Like Bush’s Trail Blazers, except autonomous.

The system (its agents) could present notes that reflect the patterns of browsing, what notes are viewed together, or even emergent clusters of notes (e.g. Roam’s “Unlinked References”).

The idea of an autonomous cooperative agent is inspired by Devine Lu Linvega’s systems 🌐.

Related to


I was once walking home from the tram station, and just as I was reaching the door, a notification went off in my pocket. It was a reminder I had set by accident, and all it contained was a half-baked note about some topic I was thinking about the day earlier.

Mildly amused, I dismissed it, but by the time I got to my desk, I realized I had finished “baking” the thought, it started off a mental cascade of other things I wanted to get around to, and I was fully in the context, ready to put it down on paper.

I had effectively maintained a continuous train of thought from the day before - if it didn’t ring, I might have forgotten about it until days later, by which time it wouldn’t have nearly the same richness.

Obviously, this is far from the autopoetic system from the tweet above, but it made me think…