Last updated: Nov 2018
I don't believe I was showing an extraordinary creativity when I thought, early October 2018, that it would be good to have a tool that would generate random associations between my own concepts. I was surprised, however, to fail at finding such a tool. So I coded a very simple program, called cr, which does exactly that: it takes a number of .txt files as input, each file containing a series of concepts, and generates random associations.
Here are, for instance, some possible outputs:
|Example 1||Example 2||Example 3||Example 4|
|evolution by replacement
|by no means
r/k selection theory
(Those are the most publishable out of 6 executions, with my current concepts).
This page is an account of my experience with this method, particularly of the highest quality associations that have been generated.
First, what is a concept? The answer is simple once the purpose of this method is understood: anything that may stimulate your creativity as you wish is eligible.
To make things clearer, here is the beginning of my list in c.txt:
anonymous negative feedback
I currently have two files: p.txt (44 people, some famous, some I know personally) and c.txt (everything else, 1194 concepts so far). I'm filling these files at a steady rate.
I have been interested in methods of learning from a relatively young age, which led me to Anki. At some point I read (from Robb Seaton) about using Anki for idea generation: by putting all cards in the same deck, the reviews should lead to collisions between unrelated topics and hopefully, new ideas.
However, the efficiency of the learning process with spaced repetition makes collisions quite rare. I've become frustrated with such a low density, which led me to this idea.
Now that I think about it, cr has other advantages over Anki:
Nothing really stands out so far.