Discover more from Subconscious
Building a decentralized shared mind
Two years ago, Chris and I began working on an idea we called Noosphere. Our dream was to unlock collective intelligence with a credibly neutral protocol for thought. You know those Obsidian/Roam/LogSeq note graphs? Like that, but an open protocol that lets us connect our personal knowledge graphs into a worldwide shared mind.
A year of building, then we raised a seed, recruited an amazing team, and over months of hard work, proved out the protocol, and began integrating it into a mobile app.
Today, we’ve reached our first major milestone. We’re beginning a soft launch for Subconscious Beta.
We'll be rolling out the private beta slowly at first, and then faster as we land additional privacy, encryption, and moderation features.
Manifesting collective intelligence
Knowledge production is a group activity, not an individual one. Computers most radically and usefully extend our capabilities when they extend our ability to collaborate to solve problems beyond the compass of any single human mind.
(Doug Engelbart, 2002)
If you’ve ever used a tool for thought, you know they can be a massive multiplier on thinking. It’s like having a second brain.
If two heads are better than one, why not more? What if we could put our heads together to level up our thinking?
Subconscious is a tool for thinking together. It’s powered by Noosphere, a worldwide decentralized thought graph.
Shared graph: Follow others to fuse minds. Every follow adds new synapses to your second brain.
Own your thoughts. Noosphere uses decentralized protocols and self-sovereign public-key cryptography to build a second brain that truly belongs to you. You own your data and have credible exit. No more lock-in!
Local-first. Everything works seamlessly offline. You have your own copy of everything you create, and everything you follow. Files can be synced live between your devices.
Credibly neutral. Noosphere is an open protocol, like email. Anyone can build new tools on top.
We think better when we think together. This beta is a first step in our mission to multiply humanity’s collective intelligence.
What’s in the beta?
Own your data. Your sphere is your personal data store on Noosphere. It contains your content and contacts, and is secured with a private key that you control. Your sphere belongs only to you.
Subconscious is local-first software. Your data lives on your device, so you always have it with you. It’s also synced to IPFS, a decentralized network. This means you have the multiplayer features of a cloud app, but you own your data, and have credible exit through your device, or any IPFS peer.
Publish public notes: Share your big ideas to Noosphere’s worldwide decentralized thought graph. Your notes are cryptographically signed and distributed over IPFS.
Draft local notes: Drafts stay private on your device until you choose to publish. Migrating from our Alpha? Your notes become drafts.
Follow others to meld minds: When you follow someone, their public note graph will be meshed with yours. Thoughts from your follows will bubble up throughout the app.
Link notes across graphs. On Noosphere, everything is interconnected. Link ideas across graphs, and freely traverse from one sphere to another.
Related notes. Scroll to the bottom of any note to see related notes. Connections and insights will bubble up from your sphere, and spheres you follow
In these early stages of the private beta, we’ll be running our Noosphere infrastructure in isolation (see FAQ). This gives us a chance to learn how to scale. As we grow, we’ll begin peering more eagerly with the rest of the IPFS universe.
Long term, the magic is that these multiplayer features happen over a decentralized protocol. Your sphere belongs to you, and Noosphere belongs to everybody.
Noosphere is open like email, or the web. Anyone can run a node, and developers can build new tools on top. But it also goes a step further, using self-certifying cryptography and decentralized protocols to eliminate the need for any centralized authority. That means you own your data forever. Noosphere is a knowledge commons for thinking freely with others.
Subconscious beta is an MVP. We’ve got the basics in place for a multiplayer tool for thought, but this beta is mostly a foundation. Here are some of our next-ups:
Private end-to-end encrypted notes: Noosphere currently supports public data. We're building support for private end-to-end encrypted data next. This will enable syncing and sharing notes while maintaining total privacy. No one except you will be able to read their contents, not even us!
Block-based editor: the current editor is pretty basic. We're working on an improved editor with rich block editing.
In-editor transcludes: see live previews of notes when you link to them. This will roll out as part of the block editor.
Feed: see updates from the spheres you follow.
Discovery: find and search for others to follow.
Expanded peering: opening up our infrastructure to the wider IPFS network.
Let’s think together
A parting thought,
The intrinsic rate of
Let’s 10x humanity’s collective intelligence.