Patrick McKenzie+ Your Authors @patio11 I work for the Internet, at @stripe, mostly on accelerating startups. Opinions here are my own. Sep. 03, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

We’re not close to solving scarcity of cognition but we’re tantalizingly close to solving a scarcity of novel conversations with low cognitive load in them, and that is probably bigger than it appears to be.

There are some users who have a *deep* need to have something explained to them versus looking up an answer, for example, and as long as the chatbot isn’t obviously a chatbot it will create huge amounts of value for them.


Some people are embarrassed about not knowing things they “should” know. Some have limited capacity and don’t want to “waste” anyone’s time.

Some are working in a language where they have limited proficiency and benefit enormously from “Rephrase that sentence 5 times.”

I also think folks underrate what percentage of human activity is assisting other humans in taking a messy concrete situation and reducing it into an abstraction legible to an institution.

In some ways, words are the Everything API, and I hope we’ll see some of that.

e.g. Think of the number of people applying for benefits who have to be asked about relationship status and how complicated a lot of the IRL answers are, much more so than the 2-3 option radial select contemplates.

“Won’t you lose a lot of fidelity in that simplification if a computer does it?”

I think we lose a lot in the status quo when humans do it and some folks abandon the process because they’re worried about an authority figure interrogating them about circumstances.

You can follow @patio11.


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