Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Academia Category

Ding! Earned First Higher Degree. »

In 2011, when we announced that I would join the Media Lab as the new Director, many people thought it was an unusual choice partially because I had never earned a higher degree - not even an undergraduate degree. I had dropped out of Tufts as well as the University of Chicago and had spent most of my life doing all sorts of weird jobs and building and running companies and nonprofits. I think it took quite a bit of courage on the part of the Media Lab and MIT to hire a Director with no college degree, but once...

Citing Blogs »

On May 13, 2018, I innocently asked: I may sound a bit naive, but as I read more academic papers in fields that I work in, I realize that they tend to cite academic papers more than blog posts even if there are better blog posts than the cited papers. It makes sense, but just noticing more specifically first hand.— Joi Ito (@Joi) May 13, 2018240 replies later, it is clear that blogs don't make it into the academic journalsphere and people cited two main reasons, the lack of longevity of links and the lack of peer review. I would...

On Ethics and Techno-Utopianism at the Media Lab »

I received a lot of excited feedback from people who saw the 60 Minutes segment on the Media Lab. I also got a few less congratulatory messages questioning the "gee-whiz-isn't-this-all-great" depiction of the Lab and asking why we seemed so relentlessly upbeat at a time when so many of the negative consequences of technology are coming to light. Juxtaposed with the first segment in the program about Aleksandr Kogan, the academic who created the Cambridge Analytica app that mined Facebook, the Media Lab segment appeared, to some, blithely upbeat. And perhaps it reinforced the sometimes unfair image of the Media...

My first visit to Kuwait to receive award for MIT »

I visited Kuwait November 20 and 21 to accept an award from the Emir of the State of Kuwait on behalf of MIT. The award was for "the extraordinary role of the Media Lab in creativity and innovation of science and technology." Last year, Bill Gates won the award. This is the inscription on the award: "H.H. Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award has named Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) -USA- the recipient of the Informatics Badge of Honor for the extraordinary role of the Media Lab in creativity and innovation of science and technology during its 16th annual awarding...

Hundreds of MIT Faculty Members Sign Statement Upholding the Value of Science and Diversity »

Over 300 400 members of the MIT faculty, including myself, have signed the statement below. (You can see all the signers on the mitvalues.org page.) My quote included in a press release issued this afternoon was: "Academic institutions have historically been havens to protect diversity of opinions and the freedom to express those opinions when the political climate has impinged on this freedom. It appears that we are entering a period where the political climate requires us to assert our leadership to protect and foster diversity and scientific inquiry itself." The President-elect has appointed individuals to positions of power who...

Credit for Help on Blog Posts »

Copyright xkcd CC BY-NC Back when I first started blogging, the standard post took about 5 min and was usually written in a hurry after I thought of something to say in the shower. If it had mistakes, I'd add/edit/reblog any fixes. As my post have gotten longer and the institutions affected by my posts have gotten bigger, fussier and more necessary to protect - I've started becoming a bit more careful about what I say and how I say it. Instead of blog first, think later - agile blogging - I now have a process that feel a...

Becoming a Professor »

Photo by Daderot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons When I was first appointed as the director of the MIT Media Lab, The New York Times said it was an "unusual choice" - which it was since my highest academic degree was my high school diploma, and, in fact, had dropped out of undergraduate programs at both Tufts and the University of Chicago, as well as a doctoral program at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. When first approached about the position, I was given advice that I shouldn't apply considering my lack of a degree. Months later, I was contacted again by...