Saturday, June 11, 2011

Joi Ito Goes To MIT Media Lab

My friend in Kathmandu Ashutosh Tiwari, Harvard graduate, CEO of the Nepali Times in Kathmandu, founder of Entrepreneurs For Nepal, among other hats, had a Facebook update this morning that caught my attention.

Joi Ito had just been appointed Director of the MIT Media Lab, and that was considered unusual, because the guy apparently had dropped out of not one but two colleges, Tufts, and the University of Chicago.

I left a comment. Joi Ito? The name sounds vaguely familiar. Then I went over to the Wikipedia article on him.

Joi Ito - Wikipedia

I learned more than I ever knew about him. Then I remembered. The first time I heard the name was Fred Wilson mentioning him at his blog in one of his comments, he said Joi Ito was one of the most amazing people he ever met. I looked up the guy. I tweeted him, he tweeted me back, and that was it.

I went to his Twitter page again today. Wow. The guy was following me - me, myself and I - on Twitter. I admire people who do that. Because when you follow me on Twitter, you see me much. You have to put up with seeing me much.

So I was able to send him a Direct Message: congratulations.

Wall Street Journal: The Wizardly Ways of a Tech Lab: the students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab don't have to wait until the professors aren't around before they can start tinkering. ...... from the e-reader to the lifelike robotic prosthesis now in development. ..... The Media Lab was founded about 25 years ago by Jerome Wiesner, MIT's president at the time, and computer-savvy architect Nicholas Negroponte, who became its first director. ...... the term "media" in the lab's title has taken on seemingly unbounded meaning. ...... With a stated goal to "invent the future," the Media Lab has a $35 million annual budget, a good portion of which comes from sponsors, many of them major corporations. ..... Part of the Media Lab mystique is that no one owns the intellectual property that its sorcerers and apprentices generate. Rather, the inventions and innovations that come of its "antidisciplinary" approach to problem-solving are put into the public domain for anyone to take up and run with. ...... Affective Computing, Biomechatronics and Cognitive Machines. ..... the overriding concern is the development of a device, a machine, a process, a system. ....... Development & Research, with research kicking in only to help out if development gets bogged down by a lack of knowledge or understanding. ...... Media Lab's innovations have produced the Amazon Kindle electronic book, LEGO Mindstorms robotic toys, RockHero music videogames and child-safe automobile airbags ...... a team whose members have backgrounds in "architecture, urban planning, mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, systems engineering, medicine, neuroscience, visual arts, business management, science, and sociology." ...... "one of the most important disciplines in the twenty-first century will be no discipline at all." ...... "today, society is awash in digital affordances" but admits that "paradoxically, we feel less in control of our lives." ...... the "stage is now set to take technology to the next level," where "ordinary people will be empowered to do truly extraordinary things."
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