Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Last night I went to see fireworks. There were approximately 22,000 fireworks ignited and an expected turnout of about 320,000 people. You could pay 30,000 yen (around 300 dollars) and get a special seat as a sponsor. Otherwise, you could, like the 320,000 or so other people, find a nice spot and watch the fireworks for free. In fact, there were two other fireworks festivals (Japanese love fireworks) going on within view of the nice spot in the park that we had chosen.

Fireworks shows in Japan are sponsored by companies and local governments. The sponsors usually get the best seats and they are thanked over the PA system for the people watching the show up close. For 99% of the people who watch the fireworks from far away, the sponsors are invisible. These people are, to use Hollywood's favorite word, "stealing" this content. They don't view ads, they don't pay. They do consume a lot of beer, buy stuff in local shops which pay taxes and generally feel good about the "public good" they've just been a part of. Like me, they take pictures and videos of the fireworks and post them to the web and send them to their friends.

I wonder if there is some sort of equivalent business model for other content businesses. Charge a small number of people a large amount of money and give it to 99% of the people for free. Get sponsored by companies and other organizations like local governments that benefit from the secondary consumption increase and follow-on derivative works creation and sharing.

I did an interview for NPR's summer reading series where we are supposed to talk about books to read over the summer. I ended up talking mostly about blogs. ;-) It's about a month old.

What do YOU recommend we read this summer?

UPDATE: Here are my notes on Orientalism by Edward Said, thoughts after reading Science In Action by Bruno Latour, and my short review of We the Media by Dan Gillmor.

Declan McCullagh
Sheriff misusing FBI computer can't be sued

A federal appeals court said this week that the sheriff of Shawnee County, Kan., could not be sued for snooping through an FBI database for dirt on political enemies.

Oh yay. The FBI's Interstate Identification Index (III) he abused has 50.5 million people. I wonder what happens when they have even better information on people. So much of the law protects the police and assumes they are "good". In Japan, when I talk about the possibility of cases like this, people laugh.

Information collected about people by the government is and will be increasingly used for political ends. We need to work on measures to investigate and punish such abuses and fundamentally reconsider the cost benefit of creating such databases prone to abuse.

via Dan Gillmor

I had a breakfast meeting with Professor Hirotaka Takeuchi about my doctorate program and I was taking notes in my moleskine notebook. I was jotting down just names and keywords and I think the professor thought it was a bit odd. I realized that taking notes with the intention of googling everything later is very different than taking complete notes. I had never noticed that I had started doing this.

President George W. Bush

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

Ooops. A Freudian slip?

via George via IP

UPDATE: mp3 file of this from Lauren Weinstein's blog.