Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

January 1999 Archives

Talk at Waseda University

January 19, 1999

by Joichi Ito

Low Cost of Global Connectivity

Characteristic Models Examples
Borderless, Distributed Network "Out of Control" and no more sovereignty of nations IETF, Offshore Data/Tax Havens, TLD problems, Global Finance, Global Markets
Too Much Information Attention Economy Portals, Internet Traffic Model
Low Cost of Collaboration Non-Capitalist Asset Development, Online Communities


High Context Information/Media Products -> Services Copyright, Cygnus , Agent Disintermediation, News Feeds
Convergence of Telecom Services Large Scale Open Networks, End of Single Purpose Networks End of Telephone Companies (IP Telephony), End of DBS/TV


Evolution of Value and Exchange

The Market   The Firm   Community
Physical Assets Intangible Assets Social Assets
Metal, Food, Books   Process, Management, Risk, Copyright, Patents   Trust, Brand, Creativity, Open Source Software


Japan and the US

  • Reason for American Dominance in Information Businesses and Branding
    • Risk Valuation and Risk Taking
    • General Trust (Yamagishi)
    • Government Funding for Academic Aesthetics (Open Source Community)
    • Scale
  • Probable Future
    • Dominance in Japanese IT Industry by US
    • Japanese Companies to Service Foreign Interests
    • Leverage Cultural Assets to Add Value
    • Educate Next Generation
  • Risks
    • High Costs and Closed Markets Make Japan Undesirable
    • Japanese Companies Compete in IT Markets and Fail
    • Cultural Assets Lost and Collapse of Common Knowledge
    • Assets Spent on Bad Risks


Coase, Ronald H. The Firm, The Market, and The Law The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1988
Arrow, K. J. The Limits of Organization Norton, 1974
Barnard, Chester I. The Functions Of The Executive Harvard University Press, 1938
Chandler Jr., Alfred D. The Visible Hand : The Managerial Revolution in American Business The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996
Goldhaber, Michael H. The Attention Economy and the Net First Monday
Granovetter, Mark The Strength of Weak Ties - A Network Theory Revisited Marsden, P.V., and Nan Lin, Social Structure and Network Analysis, Sage, 1982
Hall, Edward T. Beyond Culture Anchor, 1977
Simon, Herbert A. The Sciences of the Artificial, Third Edition The MIT Press, 1969,1981
Aigrain, Phillipe Attention, Media, Value and Economics First Monday
Blau, Peter M. Exchange and Power in Social Life John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1964
Fukuyama, Francis Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity  
Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer Economics is dead. Long live economics! A Commentary on Michael Goldhaber's The Attention Economy First Monday
Mauss, M. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies W. W. Norton
McLuhan, Marshall The Gutenberg Galaxy : The Making of Typographic Man University of Toronto Press, 1962
Raymond, Eric S. The Cathedral and the Bazaar First Monday
Raymond, Eric S. Homesteading the Noosphere First Monday
Smith, Adam The Wealth of Nations The Modern Library
Yamagishi, Toshio and Yamagishi, Midori Trust and Commitment in the United States and Japan Motivation and Emotion Vol. 18, No. 2, 1994
Joichi Ito's Reading Notes January 16, 1999
Doubt and Certainty in Science by J. Z. Young

Excellent book. The book was published in 1951 and the references to computers are extremely dated, but his analysis of the brain, thinking, scientific discovery, learning, evolution, etc. are very enlightening.

Young tries to look at human beings from the perspective of a biologist. He tries to describe all aspects of humans including religion from a biologists perspective. He looks at the brain as an organ and begins by describing the brain and the neurons that make up the brain. He explains how these neurons and their behavior can explain most of the behavior of humans. Remeniscient of "Lost Worlds", he talks about the evolution of humans and how we are more a product of our social environment than our DNA. (This is a very old thread for me and something I would like to develop more in the future.) He explains how atoms flow through the human body and explains that we are a "pattern" and have nothing solid that persists over time. We are like a whirlpool. "Piology like physics, has ceased to be material," he says. In this sense, evolution of humans is about learning. Learning is about the brain. The neurons in our brain throb happily until they are disturbed by some outside stimulus. They try to come up with some solution that stops the noise and brings the brain back into sync again. This process of disturbance and harmony is the "doubt and certainty" in science he talks about. Learning, he says, is not all as Pavlov and his conditioning shows. Humans look at things and think in order to disturb or break up the harmony in order to discover better ways. He trys to explain that studying the anatomy of the brain my give us insight into the process of learning and help us evolve.

His vision seems to tie in well with the De Bono book about thinking that I have just begun reading after being recommended to do so by Sen Nagata. More on these thoughts later...

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