Chapter 0

What are we building?


We create spaces to think, work & learn, individually or collectively in order to augment human intellect.

We cannot believe there isn’t a natural way of digitally manipulating knowledge and cognitive structures. We cannot believe there isn’t a way for computers to augment our capabilities while we cooperate with other humans in the physical world.

For us, it is absolutely ridiculous to think about a future where these tools do not exist. Since we have an optimistic and definite view of the future, we are building these tools ourselves.


What high-order problems are we trying to solve?

  • How to work and think more clearly? How can computers actively help us to create and handle conceptual structures that work according to our cognitive processes?
  • How to gain usable intuition about any topic in the shortest time and most effective way possible?

 

The current state of computing & interface design isn’t effective to tackle the problems we’re trying to solve, but we’re not starting completely from scratch. We are looking 60 years into the past in order to build 20 years into the future. It took time and effort to understand what computing pioneers had imagined, and to develop a conceptual framework to think about these problems.

For the past decades, computing research has been skewed towards artificial intelligence/machine learning as the answer. While these are excellent techniques to build a solution, they are not necessarily the key concept of that solution.

We can approach the problems we’re trying to solve without making computers any more intelligent or any more sentient than they are now. It’s a human-machine cooperation problem. An augmentation problem.

 

What are we building?

  • An Augmentation Research center.

  • Viable Solutions

    • Digital Tools and Physical Spaces to work and think clearly.
    • Digital Tools and Physical Spaces to learn and gain intuition.
  • Societal Impact: the result of combining design, human computer interaction and artificial intelligence to spark a conversation about the direction of research and teaching.


Since we’re a start-up company, the first item (team) and the second (product) are the most important to us.


An Augmentation Research center: This is both a core activity and a meta-task. By assembling a team of researchers and engineers, we are able to build solutions in the form of products. At the same time, these products augment the capabilities of our team, our lab, and available tools. Augmentation has compound effects.

Viable Solutions (products): The key activity of our operations: prototyping tools and systems and iterating as fast as we can in order to successfully augment human intellect.

As of today, we are building:

  • A shared physical space to work and think more clearly, something along the lines of an “Augmented Workspace” . This space is located in our offices in Barcelona and will be the first augmentation equipment of our lab. We will use it for research and product development, as well as a demo for potential clients.
  • A digital tool built to consciously manipulate concept structures (think of a network of symbolic entities and their relations) that will allow the user to virtually explore a topic space and develop usable intuition around that topic.