I want my default mode network back.

Fri Apr 12 2024

I turned off all my AI code assistants.

I expected to feel a huge slowdown in my productivity. I was fearing an anxiety buildup as I plodded along on the keyboard. What I discovered instead was a sense of peace. I felt like I was returning to an old favorite hobby that I had given up for lack of time.

When I first started using Co-Pilot and then later Codeium I felt like I had a new superpower. Those lines of code would literally write themselves and my productivity was through the roof. But something felt off. It was like someone else was stealing my Asana tickets and completing them behind my back. Sure, there was code there, it looked right, and it seemed to work right, but I didn't know it. It was "stranger code".

Here is what I think happened. Our brains have something called the "Default mode network". This part of our brain is where we daydream, process past information, and plan for the future. The DMN can activate for short bursts of time even when we blink. My theory is that it also activates when we do things like take the time to type out a whole block of code by hand. By tab-keying out AI generated code we are canceling these small windows of time where our brain could process big picture thoughts. We lose sight of the problem we are solving and the code we are solving it with.

My theory is that producing more code with less thoughtfulness will eventually result in a loss of productivity. What do you think?