Excursions by Amit Gawande

I wonder what’s the best way to make note of the fleeting thoughts, say adding an item to a list of things that one needs to do. I know my memory is not my friend here — it gobbles stuff, but fails to let it out timely.

Digital methods are easy to use, convenient, but are unnatural. You lose touch, context, of the written words after some time. They end up being a plain dump of words with no background.

I can capture more context with analog methods — a quick sketch or the current location — but it isn’t convenient. Either I do not have a piece of paper handy or I can’t stop and capture the thought (being in middle of traffic, let’s say) right at that moment.

I am waiting for the day the digital assistants would be smarter to help capture such thought. Today they aren’t. First, they can’t be easily summoned — “Ok Google” or Hey Siri” doesn’t work in middle of traffic, blaring horns or loud chatters.

Second, they are terrible at capturing unformed thoughts. They need structured inputs, which quick notes aren’t. Using digital assistants today is a painful battle between reality and expectations. Former is driven by the technology limitations, later by the out-right spurious promises in the advertisements.

With all said and done though, I have recently - and after enduring lot of pain - learned that heavy reliance on one’s smartphone to lead a structured life is not very sensible to do. There is a chance that it can lead to utter chaos when you don’t have your device on you. It can completely paralyze you for thoughts.

thoughts
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