"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
10 Why isn't there more work on tools for thought today？12 Why isn't there more work on tools for thought today？Why isn't there more work on tools for thought today？How can we develop transformative tools for thought？2020-10-18Journal
Is it possible to avoid the public goods problem altogether? Here's three classes of tools for thought which do:
Search engines such as Google are tools for thought. They avoid the public goods problem because their value is in their brand and in hard-to-duplicate and capital intensive backend elements (including their data centers, proprietary algorithms, ad network, and distribution), not in their interface ideas.
A service such as Twitter can be considered a tool for collective thought. While the interface is easily copied, the company is hard to duplicate, due to network effects.
Novel hardware devices (e.g., for VR, or the Wii remote, or for new musical instruments) can be used as the basis for new tools for thought. While hardware can be duplicated, it's often much more expensive than duplicating software. And, in any case, the advantage for such companies is often in distribution, marketing, and relationships with vendors who make products for the platform.