Today's train of thought comes from: "Augmenting Human Creativity with Ayush Chaturvedi, Co-Founder of Elephas", interviewed in Ness Labs.
Elephas is a personal AI writing assistant for Macbook, iPhone and iPad. I don't use Apple computers and while I have an iPhone, it's unlikely I would use it for any substantive writing. So why am I interested in learning more about this app? My interest revolves around the general concept of having a Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tool embedded in the workflow.
I have yet to test out Copilot in Microsoft 365 at work. That seems to be very embedded within the productivity tools within the workplace workflow. That might be great at work but the knowledge base I have accumulated and shared at work in the past five years is a fraction of the knowledge base accumulated over a 30-year career. Granted the last 15-20 years are perhaps the most relevant.
As a side note, I started this blog 20 years ago, which seems incredibly long ago. How much of what I wrote 20 years ago is still relevant?
What I need is an AI assistant that can link to a disparate set of existing resources. As Ayush Chaturvedi points out in the interview, even the most conscientious advocate and practitioner of PKM will end up testing, adopting, rejecting, changing the suite of tools they use. The same happens in organizations. We end up with a disparate set of data sources that need to somehow be connected to the AI app and linked to each other.
I have been using TiddlyWikis for more than a decade as a PKM tool. I have accumulated many TiddlyWikis but I can relatively easily connect them. What I need now is an AI tool. Should the AI be embedded within TiddlyWiki? Should it be sitting on my desktop? Should it be cloud-based?
In Knowledge Management, we often talk about embedding KM within the workflow so that the tasks associated with managing knowledge are not separate from the workflow but rather fully integrated. Instead of having to proactively remember to save something to a knowledge base, the workflow should either automatically save to a knowledge base or at least trigger a reminder or prompt you to save (or share) to a knowledge base.
The same should be true in PKM. Advocates and practitioners of PKM are likely to be very aware of their own internalized workflows and pain points. The question then becomes, "What PKM pain points am I trying to solve with an AI assistant?" That should help inform the selection of a specific tool. Ideally, the AI-assistant tool options should not force me to switch away from my current tool set (TiddlyWiki/TiddlyMap in particular) but rather augment existing capabilities.