Personal note-taking is going to change dramatically

Mickey Mellen
3 min readJan 14

My history of using different note-taking tools over the years is well-documented in this blog, including my recent move from Obsidian to Tana. While Tana has some great features and I really enjoy using it, it’s ultimately just a slightly better version of the tools that came before it and I may end up moving back to Obsidian. Those kinds of changes may become irrelevant in the future, as we’re on the verge of some huge changes in the world of notes.

I’ve talked about ChatGPT before, and I encourage you to play around with it when you have some time. It’s a mind-blowing tool, but it’s just a tiny scrap of what’s coming. Using tools like that to reference general data is great, but what if I could have it index all of my notes and provide answers from there?

Dan Shipper recently wrote a fantastic post about this, and I’ll share some of his thoughts:

A better way to unlock the value in your old notes is to use intelligence to surface the right note, at the right time, and in the right format for you to use it most effectively. When you have intelligence at your disposal, you don’t need to organize.

That’s something I try to do with my notes, but it’s a whole different world. With mine, I need to manually create references and the follow the paths. With AI, I could simply have it bring up the information that I need immediately.

Think about starting a project-maybe you’re writing an article about a new topic-and having an LLM automatically write and present to you a report outlining key quotes and ideas from books you’ve read that are relevant to the article you’re writing.

Again, this is something I’m trying to do by hand, and it works fairly well, but doing what Dan describes there is on a whole different level.

At the conclusion, Dan simply says: “ In the future, notes won’t be organized by us-they’ll be organized for us.


The closest example I can find today is It can pull your data from a ton of sources, including email, Slack, Dropbox, Notion, etc and help make sense of it all. In theory, they could continue to expand their sources and slowly integrate AI and start to become this kind of solution.

Really, that’s the main problem for now. Tools like ChatGPT are amazing, but their content comes from the internet at large, and not even anything from the past few years. I think the next step we’ll see is a real-time ChatGPT (“what’s happened in the Lions game right now?”), and eventually we’ll be able to pile our own content into our own system.

For now, I’m going to keep manicuring my notes to make them as helpful as possible, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to plug an AI into it to help me make even more sense of everything.

Originally published at on January 14, 2023.

Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.