Thoughts and Tools

It is common knowledge that what separates us from other creatures in the animal kingdom is our ability to introspect and leverage meta-cognition to build better tools. Monkeys do it too, but not as well as us—it's something we should be doing more of.

Thinking is shaped by tools to an extent as it is by language. When neck-deep in the practical aspects of creation you tend to conceive of what you can practically build in a given context based on your prior knowledge of the tools you can utilize. On the other hand, when you're fundamentally reconsidering thoughts and principles, they are less influenced by what tools may be available to you at your current time/year/date/century of existence and more so by your creativity.


Tools can serve as either a bottleneck in the process of creation to the uninitiated enthusiast, or an accelerator for the expert. Perhaps an argument can be made for both cases, as the persistence, the perseverance, the honing of the craft that is acquired over years of practice, the unending refinement of work is in and of itself an act of creation—as it most certainly builds character and elevates the relentlessly dedicated practitioner over the average man.

Ideally, we would reconcile the two and enable enthusiasts to create as if they were experts.


At the end of the day, we won't ever be devoid of tools, as even if we skip the part where we directly manipulate a specialized utility to build or create something, there will be an intermediate tool that does that for us, so in effect, such breakthroughs in tools will only reduce and likely nullify the value of craftsmanship, a notion that has existed since the beginning of man.

Not so say that such an outcome would necessarily be undesirable, quite the opposite, as then the value of creation will be focused on the output less the process, as it currently is but it is simply the fact that the process of creation takes years of dedicated practice to produce a worthy output, whereas more novelty and exploration of the fringes + experimentation will be made possible through such commoditization of craftsmanship, which is likely to enable further progress in the efficiency of the tool itself.

The Augmented Man

The assumption here is that the ultimate tool would be something along the lines of an Artificial General Intelligence renderer that gathers its input from a Human Brain Computer Interface that simply transmutes reality, but I suspect that the fringier those thoughts are, the less likely your tool will be able to implement them from scratch, even if so, the uniqueness of outputs will be as individualized as your person- humans are the ultimate thinkers and the ultimate tools, it's just that we need to augment our natural prowess to decrease the span of time and effort it takes to take something from a thought in our minds to a tangible output that can be shared with our fellow man.

Historically speaking, a disproportionate amount of effort has gone into the development of input and control methods as opposed to the generation of outputs from tools which receive human input. The idea is that tools should interpret and catalyze intent better—as it's a two-step interaction. Human to tool, and tool to output. The less primitive your tools are, the more complex outputs you are able to attain—a 1:1 mapping between input and output is simply disappointing in this day and age and is rather insufficient to drive the amount of progress desired, as I believe it is fair for us to expect a multiplying effect from our technological devices with the integration of intelligence to them.

Overall, steps are being made in the direction of increasing the utility of tools as an execution multiplier, but we are still far from the potential that can be attained in that regard.