The Paradox of Knowledge: Balancing Note-Taking Systems and AI's Burden


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 10, 2023

3 min read


The Paradox of Knowledge: Balancing Note-Taking Systems and AI's Burden


In the pursuit of knowledge, humans have relied on various tools and techniques to expand our understanding of the world. Note-taking systems have been a popular method to capture and retain information, while artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool for knowledge acquisition. However, as we explore the role of note-taking systems and the burden of knowledge on innovation, we uncover a paradox that challenges our traditional approach to learning and progress.

The Limitations of Note-Taking Systems:

Note-taking systems have long been regarded as a valuable tool for organizing and retaining information. However, there is a danger in relying too heavily on these systems. When we prioritize the act of note-taking itself, we risk filtering our experiences and thoughts through preexisting criteria, rather than allowing organic ideas to flourish. The most thought-provoking and transformative ideas often emerge from the synthesis of previously unarticulated thoughts in the present moment. By channeling the energy and ideas that are in the air at this very second, we can tap into a deeper source of creativity and insight.

The Burden of Knowledge and AI:

As humans continue to push the frontier of knowledge, the burden of acquiring and passing on this knowledge grows exponentially. Economist Benjamin Jones argues that this burden is slowing down innovation, as it takes longer for each successive generation to reach the frontier. AI, on the other hand, is not burdened by this accumulation of knowledge. It does not suffer from the limitations of time and degradation that humans do. AI simply continues to improve and accumulate knowledge, raising profound questions about its relationship with humanity. What will happen when AI surpasses our understanding and no longer needs us?

The Paradox of Progress:

Progress has always relied on the accumulation of knowledge from previous generations. By standing on the shoulders of giants, we have been able to see further and innovate. However, as AI accelerates past us, it will accumulate knowledge that surpasses our comprehension. The mountain of knowledge becomes an insurmountable obstacle, and our efforts to tunnel through it slow down. As the Encephalon (a hypothetical AI system) continues to accelerate, a growing gap emerges between us and AI. We may become secondary creatures, benefiting from the wonders of AI without truly understanding them.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace spontaneity: Instead of relying solely on note-taking systems, allow yourself to embrace the present moment and tap into the ideas and energy that surround you. Cultivate a natural salience filter that determines what resonates with you in the moment, rather than relying on preexisting criteria.
  • 2. Foster interdisciplinary learning: As AI continues to accumulate knowledge, it's essential to broaden our understanding across various disciplines. Embrace a multidisciplinary approach to learning, connecting seemingly disparate ideas and fields of study. This will help us adapt to the changing landscape of knowledge and maintain our relevance.
  • 3. Emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving skills: While AI can process vast amounts of information, it lacks human creativity and problem-solving abilities. Cultivate these skills by engaging in activities that challenge you to think critically and solve complex problems. By developing these uniquely human capabilities, you can complement the knowledge AI provides and ensure your continued relevance in a rapidly changing world.


The paradox of knowledge, where note-taking systems and AI's burden intersect, forces us to reconsider our approach to learning and progress. While note-taking systems can be valuable tools, we must not let them overshadow the importance of spontaneity and organic thinking. Simultaneously, as AI accelerates past us, we must adapt by fostering interdisciplinary learning and emphasizing critical thinking skills. By striking a balance between human creativity and the knowledge AI provides, we can navigate the evolving landscape of knowledge and contribute to meaningful progress.

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