Open Collective
Open Collective

Augment Minds 2021

The first unconference on developing transformative tools for thought

Sunday, July 25, 2021, 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM (UTC+00:00)
Created by: Psionica



From personal knowledge management to spaced repetition, the past years have witnessed an explosion of tools which extend human thought in all sorts of clever ways. That said, the field as a whole is still in its infancy, with most work coming out of a loose network of start-ups, individual tinkerers, and a handful of research groups. Our very conception of what tools for thought are still appears underdeveloped and myopic to many. What's more, the wide range of approaches considered (e.g. networked thought, human-machine collaboration, immersive environments, brain-computer interfaces) makes it all the more difficult for new-comers to navigate this emergent field and for veterans to bridge transdisciplinary (and geographical) boundaries.

Augment Minds 2021 is the first unconference focused on designing and developing transformative tools for thought, seeking to provide a much needed forum for interdisciplinary discussion. It's an opportunity to explore recent trends in the field, exchange powerful ideas, and give rise to lasting collaborations. Augment Minds 2021 brings together developers, designers, researchers, engineers, and educators in an effort to pave the way towards transformative tools for thought.

"I want to be part of a rich scenius of serious, capable people doing full-time original research on enabling environments. I want to attend colloquia in which I’m regularly stunned by the ideas presented. I want peers who will candidly observe the limitations of my ideas, then work with me to improve them." - Andy Matuschak

Like any unconference, Augment Minds 2021 is participant-centric. Besides a few introductory lightning talks, the agenda is completely unknown prior to the actual event. Dynamic, yes, but not necessarily chaotic (in theory). Participants are free to host their own breakout sessions, which get scheduled towards the beginning of the umbrella event. A few ideas for sessions which you could host yourself include:
  • a group discussion on challenges you're facing in designing tools for thought
  • a quick demo of an open source tool for thought you've been working on in your organization
  • a short talk introducing a technology, followed by a discussion on possible use cases in the field
  • a brainstorming session on how tools for thought could help in a specific type of knowledge work
  • a quick chat on organizing events on the topic, hopefully with much better names


The schedule is still subject to change.
  • 15:00 UTC / 8:00 PDT: Opening Talk (Auditorium)
  • 15:30 UTC / 8:30 PDT: Lightning Talks (Auditorium)
  • 16:30 UTC / 9:30 PDT: Scheduling (Auditorium)
  • 17:00 UTC / 10:00 PDT: Hosted Sessions (Breakout Rooms)
  • 18:00 UTC / 11:00 PDT: Hosted Sessions (Breakout Rooms)
  • 18:30 UTC / 11:30 PDT: Hosted Sessions (Breakout Rooms)
  • 19:00 UTC / 12:00 PDT: Hosted Sessions (Breakout Rooms)
  • 19:30 UTC / 12:30 PDT: Hosted Sessions (Breakout Rooms)
  • 20:00 UTC / 13:00 PDT: Closing Talk (Auditorium)

The Gather Town Scape

Here's a preview of the online scape where the event will take place! The auditorium is north of the lounge, while the breakout rooms for the hosted sessions are located west, south, and east of the lounge. The TV screen in the middle of the lounge can be used to check the schedule for the hosted sessions following the scheduling activity. The breakout rooms and lounge tables are private conversation bubbles.


Q: How can I connect with other participants most effectively?
A: Make sure to fill in a description and potentially a personal website when registering for the event using an Open Collective account. This helps prospective participants get a sense of who's attending and helps you connect with other participants before, during, and after the unconference.

Q: What's the difference between lightning talks and hosted sessions?
A: The series of lightning talks at the beginning of the unconference is the main activity which is scheduled in advance. Experts from diverse angles will share their views on tools for thought in a fast-paced series of short talks. In contrast, hosted sessions are breakout groups organized by participants during the event. A scheduling activity will take place right after the lightning talks where participants who want to host sessions can reserve time slots and possibly decide on merging similar sessions.

Q: Can I host a session?
A: Any participant can host a session. If you're excited about a certain aspect of tools for thought, then you should definitely host one!

Q: What sort of session can I host?
A: This is mostly up to you. The main criterion is that the session should somehow be related to tools for thought. See the end of the Overview section above for some ideas. Note: sessions which include demos of commercial products should explicitly mention this in their session description (see below).

Q: What should I do to host a session?
A: Come up with a session format (e.g. group discussion, interactive demo, talk followed by discussion, etc.), a session title, and a one-paragraph session description. You'll be able to submit your session title and description through a form which will be sent out two days before the event, together with instructions on accessing the scape. Proposing hosted sessions will be possible until the scheduling activity during the event.

Q: How many people should I expect to attend the session I'll host?
A: The available time slots will result in multiple sessions being hosted in parallel. This gives an estimate of 10-20 participants. A good session title and description should help attract people interested in your topic!

Q: Will lightning talks and hosted sessions be recorded?
A: The lightning talks will be recorded by our team. In contrast, whether a session is recorded is up to its host(s) to decide. This will be specified during the scheduling activity together with the prospective hosts.

Q: What even is Gather Town and how can I use it?
A: Gather Town is a virtual space designed to mimic face-to-face interactions during physical events. For instance, moving your avatar next to another participant will spawn a chat bubble between the two of you. Specific instructions for accessing the event will be sent out a couple days before its start. In the meantime, you can try out an official Gather Town demo to familiarize yourself with the mechanics.

Our team

Benjamin S. L...

Core Contributor

James B

Core Contributor

Abdulelah Al ...

Core Contributor


Let’s get the ball rolling!

News from Augment Minds 2021

Updates on our activities and progress.

Follow-up: Feedback, Recordings, Resources

Hi there, We hope the unconference last week was a fun opportunity to meet others working the field! We'd really appreciate if you would take a moment to let us know what you thought about the event through this...
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Published on July 31, 2021 by Paul Bricman

Few Hours Left: Final Tips, Useful Links

Hi there, The unconference is coming up in a few hours! Here are a some final tips. Schedule · 15:00 UTC / 8:00 PDT: Opening Talk (Auditorium)15:30 UTC / 8:30 PDT: Lightning Talks (Auditorium)...
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Published on July 25, 2021 by Paul Bricman

Two Days Left: Gather Town Instructions, Propose Session via Form

Hi there, Thanks again for signing up for Augment Minds 2021. The one-day unconference is coming up soon. Here are a few more tips on making the best out of the experience. How to access the Gather Town scape · To access the Gather Town sca...
Read more
Published on July 23, 2021 by Paul Bricman


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Today’s balance

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Total raised

€449.11 EUR

Total disbursed

€449.11 EUR

Estimated annual budget

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