Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Microsoft has unveiled Teams Premium, which will employ AI to carry out a range of functions, such as generating automated meeting notes. This feature will facilitate breaking meetings into sections, allowing users to easily select the most pertinent content.

A quick Google search for "AI meeting notes" yields an abundance of available options. It appears that even the once-manual task of note-taking during meetings is becoming automated.

The debate "Can pen and paper survive in a world of touchscreens and tablets?" is almost perennial (see my 2013 interview on this topic via link in comments). Most people feel they have lost touch with their own handwriting and possibly don't feel the need to write on paper. Despite the trend towards digital, automated note-taking, there are still compelling reasons to write by hand:

1. "Build- An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making" is a remarkable book based on Tony Fadell's life and experiences. He shares his perspectives of varied aspects right from building products to dealing with day-to-day work challenges. One of the things he shares in favor of taking written notes goes as follows-

"Writing by hand was important for me. I wasn't staring at a screen, getting distracted by my email. A computer to a smartphone, between you and the team is a huge barrier to focus and sends a clear message to everyone in the meeting: whatever I'm looking at on my screen is more important than you."

So for Tony, writing was a means to show he was present in the moment. And as he says in his book, it also helped him stay on top on things.

2. The second reason comes from Indian spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin, who shared an inspiring quote after being selected for the white-ball team following a four-year gap-

Ashwin posted the below quote on Twitter: “Every tunnel has light at the end of it, but only those in the tunnel who believe in the light will live to see it ..”
He further said-
“2017: I wrote this quote down a million times in my diary before putting this up on the wall! Quotes that we read and admire have more power when we internalize them and apply in life. Happiness and gratitude are the only 2 words that define me now."

We are what we repeatedly tell ourselves. Positive reinforcements via handwritten note helped Ashwin deal with the phases of rejection.

3. According to research cited in Scientific American, people who write out their notes on paper actually learn more. Taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop, and these different processes have consequences for learning. It forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention.

Ultimately, pen and paper still have a significant role in fostering clarity of mind and effective learning.

Do you still use pen and paper for note-taking? Share your thoughts.

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