Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Recently in the Religion Category

The Future of Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence »

The library at the Minerva Priory, Rome, Italy. I recently participated in a meeting of technologists, economists and European philosophers and theologians. Other attendees included Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson, Reid Hoffman, Sam Altman, Father Eric Salobir. One of the interesting things about this particular meeting for me was to have a theological (in this case Christian) perspective to our conversation. Among other things, we discussed artificial intelligence and the future of work. The question about how machines will replace human beings and place many people out of work is well worn but persistently significant. Sam Altman and others have...

Asphyxiation and deep thoughts »

Jet lag woke me up at 4AM today and I've been sitting in my cabin in the high altitude mountains of Utah reading blogs and chatting with people. I just finished chatting with reverend AKMA about my last post, trying to see if there was something similar to good theologians and open source leaders. We talked about the importance of humility and the risks of greed. (AKMA pointed out that he was by far the most humble person on the planet.) I noticed that my thoughts seem to be somewhat more spiritual than usual. Then I remembered reading somewhere that...

Lessig's ghosts and what you can do »

In the May 30, 2005 issue of New York Magazine there is a story that included details about Lawrence Lessig being repeatedly molested by the choir director when he was a choirboy. The article covers the history and the current lawsuit where another former choirboy, John Hardwicke is suing the school with Lessig's help. As a friend of Larry's, it was painful to read the article and it was even more painful trying to figure out what to say to him. Larry blogged about it initially a few days ago and there were a stream of supportive comments. Today, he...

The media Pope and Tony Verna »

I was IM'ing with Boris yesterday and he said an interesting thing. "He lives on in our media... Forever remembered as the first super mediatized Pope ever. There is more documented evidence of his existence than any Pope ever before. He will NEVER die... as long as we have storage memory..." I worked with Tony Verna several times back in my MSM days. Tony is the inventor of the instant replay and one of the people behind Live Aid. I learned more about television from Tony than just about anyone else. I remembered Tony telling me an interesting account of...

AKMA boasting about his family »

AKMA’s Random ThoughtsWhat Then Of Boasting? Pippa continues making wonderful images with paint and pen and keyboard (Margaret and I cherish her email messages). At F2C, Dave isenberg brought out a t-shirt he'd been given by his print shop; it read in big letters, "God Bless America," with an American flag imprint. He reckoned that the clergy delegate was the right conferee to get the shirt, so he threw it out to me. (This story does get back to how proud I am of Pippa.) I sat with the shirt displayed beside me through Thursday's program, and brought it home,...

A chat with AKMA about self-esteem »

A few weeks ago, there was an article in Scientific American "debunking" the myth of self-esteem. I've never been to therapy in the US so I don't have first hand experience, but my good friend John Vasconcellos is one of the founders of the movement and my impressions about the movement from him were that it was important and useful. John told me that he thought the definition that they used in the article was different from the one he was using. He said he would get back to me on his thoughts on the article. I found a thread...

Thermodynamics and Evolution »

Susan Crawford quotes an essay by John W. Patterson called "Thermodynamics and Evolution", part of a volume of scientific responses to creationism. She ties it neatly to Internet governance at the end.Susan CrawfordHere is Patterson's conclusion: "In reality, ... the 'uphill' processes associated with life not only are compatible with entropy and the second law, but actually depend on them for the energy fluxes off of which they feed. Numerous other kinds of backward processes in simpler, nonliving systems also proceed in this way, and do so in complete accord with the second law." This all ties to internet governance....

The graves in Jerusalem »

One thing that Yossi, our tour guide in Jerusalem, showed us that was interesting was all of the Jewish graves at the foot of Mount Olive. According to the Jewish scripture, the Messiah was to come to earth and those in the graves at the foot of the mountain would be the first to come back to life. The legend says that they would then go to the Temple of the Rock to be the first to pray there. The problem is, the front gate of the Temple of the Rock has been sealed and along the wall facing the...

Story on Cobb County Creationism Case »

Mark Frauenfelder @ Boing BoingStory on Cobb County Creationism Case Gary Peare sez: "I have a modest proposal regarding the following story:"A federal trial began today in Atlanta over evolution disclaimers in Cobb County schools. A group of parents backed by the ACLU argue that the disclaimers in science biology textbooks are a government endorsement of religion."The county put stickers with the following text into the books:"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered. "So...

The three big Jewish brands »

I was just on a panel with Yossi Vardi, the founding investor in ICQ.Yossi VardiThere are three big brands that we have created which are well known enough to have approximately 20 million or so links on Google. They are The Bible, Jesus Christ and ICQ. The first one took 3500 years, the second one 2000 years and ICQ only 8 years as of next week. As you can see, they all spread virally....

My trip to Jerusalem »

Thanks to Yossi Vardi, we got one of the best tour guides around, Yossi Kalmanovich. I joined Lance Johnson who flew in that morning. Yossi is a professional tour guide and you could tell. His explanations were very thorough and balanced considering he was a very passionate and proud Jewish man. We first went to the roof of the University where we could see all of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Then we went to Mount Olive where he pointed out the primary places and described the Muslim, Jewish and Christian stories. There were a variety of towers by different...

Israel update »

I noticed that the "liberal" (I don't know if that is the correct term) people here are banning products made in the West Bank and Gaza to protest the Israeli settlements there. I am going to Jerusalem this morning. As someone who is mostly non-religious and Shinto if anything, the notion of so many religions can sharing the same holy place is very difficult for me to understand. Hopefully, I will understand it better after visiting....

Reverend AKMA on the cave of John the Baptist »

Reverend AKMA has an interesting post on the front-page story claim that someone has discovered the cave of John the Baptist and why he isn't into archaeology anymore. AKMAThis story reflects several problematic tendencies in the popular (biblical) archaeological market. We get their textual siblings over in literary historiography, so I’m not casting stones only at the other interpreters. But there have been heaps of hermits (I just spent way too much time trying to devise a collective noun for anchorites) in the Judean wilderness about whom we know absolutely nothing. We happen to know a little about one of...

Those Sexy Iranians »

photo from Hoder's photo blogThe New York TimesThose Sexy Iranians ...True, girls and women can still be imprisoned for going out without proper Islamic dress. But young people are completely redefining such dress so it heightens sex appeal instead of smothering it. Women are required to cover their hair and to wear either a chador cloak or an overcoat, called a manteau, every time they go out, and these are meant to be black and shapeless. But the latest fashion here in Shiraz, in central Iran, is light, tight and sensual. "There are some manteaus with slits on the sides...

Easter Show Includes Bunny-Whipping, Broken Eggs »

Easter Show Includes Bunny-Whipping, Broken Eggs The horror... via Metafilter...

Breakfast between Global Leaders for Tomorrow, Social Entrepreneurs and Religious Leaders »

This morning, we had a breakfast between the Global Leaders for Tomorrow, Social Entrepreneurs and Religious Leaders. I got a great table with a broad range of people from developing nations, religious leaders, economists, and entrepreneurs. We started out the discussion talking about the nature of money. We talked about how greed and the idea that more money means more happiness is compulsive behavior and the notion that more money makes you more happy may hold true in developing nations, but is not necessarily true in developed nations. We talked about how this notion of more money means more happiness...

Off to Munakata shrine »

Mizuka and I are off to Munakata shrine, the local Shinto shrine for the New Year count-down. We'll be celebrating it with our new neighbors. See you all on the other side!...

Reverend AKMA can't prove that Jesus wasn't half-dolphin »

Reverend AKMA can't prove that Jesus wasn't half-dolphin.Via adamhill on #joiito

Congratulations Full Professor AKMA! »

AKMA just got promoted to full professor. Congratulations!Via Joho the Blog

The Dalai Lama's dinner speech »

Went to the Dalai Lama dinner speech today. I'm on the supporters board for his visit to Tokyo. This is the second time. I think the first time was more important because he was having difficulty getting into Japan, but this year it was much easier. He's not yet as popular in Japan as he is in the US, but he is gaining greater and greater support in Japan. The dinner guests were quite an interesting cross-section of Japanese business, political, religious, academic and entertainment related society. Just like las time he was very playful and inspiring.Today he told us that he will be visiting Ise Jingu, one of the oldest and most famous Shinto shrines. He will do the sanpai, a Shinto ceremonial visit there. He talked a lot about "Human Values" and "Religious Harmony" and "Emotional Religious Relationship." His visit to and honor of a Shinto shrine is part of this push for religious harmony. He talked about the importance of "Global Responsibility" and the necessity for everyone to realize that we are all physically and mentally the same. "Alright, maybe a BIT different physically," he conceded. But he stressed the importance of understanding the huge similarities rather than on focusing on the differences.At the end, he took questions and answers. A young Japanese man talked about how he was trying to change the world one person at a time and how he hoped Japan would plan in important role in bringing religion and science, East and West together. He asked whether it was OK to make a movie about how the Dalai Lama was reborn in Japan to help lead this movement.The Dalai Lama smiled and said that the Dalai Lama Institution existed only as long as the people of Tibet felt it was necessary. He has a prayer that as long as his soul was active, he would dedicate himself to helping human-kind everywhere. He said that if for some reason the people of Tibet decided that they didn't need a Dalai Lama any longer and he could find suitable parents in Japan, it was quite possible that he would be reborn in Japan to carry on his mission to help human-kind.It was obvious that the security team and the hotel hated that he walked through the crowd instead of leaving from the back exit that they were trying to usher him to, but he worked the crowd. Better than any politician I've ever seen. His hand-shakes were obviously much more sincere than most politicians (I should compare, but the image was similar) and everyone who had shaken his hand was left kind of stunned.One other interesting note was that he talked in Tibetan and there was a translator to Japanese... but when he got excited, he spoke in English. ;-)Monk Matsunaga of Koyasan was at my table so it was fun to talk about how excited I from my visit to Koyasan. Matsunaga-san told me that the Dalai Lama had visited his temple in Koyasan.

AKMA's Cyber Crypt »

David Weinberger blogs about AKMA's Cyber Crypt service.

Eternal Flame »

David WeinbergerI hereby name AKMA the executor of my site. When I die, my heirs will pay all reasonable expenses (up to $30/year) to keep my site publicly available as well as a small stipend to AKMA to prune the hedges and scrub the grafitti off every now and then.I hereby declare the same.AKMA, maybe you should start a business...

The whole "there is only one God and my God is the best" thing... »

Glenn ReynoldsNOW THAT'S, ER, CHUTZPAH: Christopher Hitchens is Fisking the Ten Commandments.Frank Boosman also comments on the problem with the "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me" commandment.Like I keep saying, all of you "I only have one God, and my God is the best" people seem to be a bit insecure about your God. As Christopher Hitchens says, "The first four of the commandments have little to do with either law or morality, and the first three suggest a terrific insecurity on the part of the person supposedly issuing them."As we Shintos like to say, you can put your god over there next to our other gods. While you're at it, why don't you get off your high horse and quit defining Good and Evil as Us and Them. ;-p

Meeting with Kenji Yoshigo of Soka Gakkai »

Today, I met with Kenji Yoshigo, the Vice President and Executive Director of Soka Gakkai Office of International Affairs. Soka Gakkai is a Buddhist sect which is one of the largest and most influential in Japan. One of the key things that sets it apart from other Buddhist sects is their active involvement in society including education, International relations and politics. They are the force behind Komeito Party.I had hear about Soka Gakkai from a variety of people, usually with negative connotations. Some people alluded to conspiracy, others refer to them like some sort of cult. The only real first hand negative interactions that I had heard of were interactions with overly enthusiastic members trying to recruit people. I had always been curious about the Soka Gakkai, but not curious enough to overcome the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and actually approach them.Kana, a young woman who works for me is Soka Gakkai. I found out when I learned that she was marrying a staff member of the Komeito and I asked her whether she was Soka Gakkai. She is one of the hardest working people on our team and has a passion for justice that exceeds ones expectations. She invited to give the toast at their wedding. At this wedding, they showed a video of messages from the young children she was mentoring, and I met many of the Soka Gakkai people she worked with. I was very impressed with how intelligent, aware of current issues, and friendly they were. The impression I got at the wedding changed my mental image of Soka Gakkai.Early this year, Lou Marinoff, a well known philosopher who I had met several times in Davos visited Japan. He had been invited by Soka Gakkai. I had dinner with Lou and his Soka Gakkai host. Lou told me how impressed he was with their efforts and urged me to contact them and learn more about Soka Gokkai. I respect Lou's opinions greatly and he is quite knowledgeable and objective. His description of the variety of things Soka Gakkai was doing made me decide to try to contact Soka Gakkai to try to get a first hand impression.After the dinner with Lou, I asked Kana if she would help me learn more about Soka Gakkai. It took a bit of scheduling, but she coordinated this meeting with Mr. Yoshigo.

The anti-gay bandwagon and American politics »

I got a few very thoughtful emails from Megan about the anti-gay bandwagon and American politics today. First of all, I think it's sad seeing the Pope and American politicians taking positions against gay rights and I strongly believe in gay marriages.

Islam tutorial with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Founder, American Sufi Muslim Association »

Some quotes...In America, we have the constitution. If something is socially unjust, Americans say 'It's unconstitutional'. In Islam, the equivalent is, 'this is un-Islamic'.I regard Osama Bin Laden as the Robin Hood character. If we had a democracy in Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden would run for office.There was a study that came out in June. The question was how the rest of the world views the US. Bin Laden was one of the top 4 on the list of who could help change US behavior. The approval rating, even in Europe has gone down over the last year.The American Muslim community can help interface with the Muslims in the rest of the world. The American Muslim leaders and the American Jewish to work on issues such as the Palestinian issue.Q: What about the role of women in IslamA: Ideals and realities often have a gap. Even the framers did not really give people equal rights at the beginning. The ideal equality, but it didn't end up that way. The prophet was very much a feminist. The problem was when the Koran was implemented, local culture became law. Over 95% of law in the middle east is not from the Koran. The industrial revolution and the spreading of wealth increased the role of women. You can see this in the Middle East as the countries become wealthier, there are more lobbies to allow more equality for women.If the Islamic world were more democratic and were more economically healthy, you wouldn't have many of the problems you have now. The rage in the Muslim world is focused on local issues. The war on terror should be focused on creating a light at the end of the tunnel and helping people raise themselves up.

Technobot gets smarter and the plot thickens »

I've just upgraded my Technobot. It is run every 10 minutes on my server and goes to technorati, gets my cosomos, and does the following:Makes my technorati sidebar for my blogIf there are new inbound links, it sends the link info to to the following places:My computer via emailMy cellphone via i-mode email (just normal email)To me via JabberTo the #joiito channel on freenodeThis is yet another step in the rather blasphemous experiment to connect all of the social software I can find together into one big blob. It's rather interesting watching people discover or rediscover new communication modes and the new meta-modes that the connections enable. For instance, I think that wikis and IRC seem to work well together since wikis are an easy way to log some of the interesting things in the rather transient conversations on IRC. Blogs are cool in IRC because it's a nice way to find out more about each other or to link to things one has said without quoting it in IRC.Now I'm beginning to have the too-many-windows-to-focus-on-syndrome. Maybe I need another screen. ;-)Thanks to rvr for helping me with the irc stuff...

Larry Wall on God »

Found this on BoingBoing. In an interview on Slashdot, Larry Wall, the legendary inventor of Perl is interviewed and asked about God. Larry Wall You can't please God the way Enoch did without some faith, because those who come to God must (minimally) believe that: A) God exists, and B) God is good to people who really look for him. That's it. The "good news" is so simple that a child can understand it, and so deep that a philosopher can't. Now, it appears that you're willing to admit the possibility of bit A being a 1, so you're almost...

Some Koyasan Notes »

I just got back from Koyasan. It was an amazing experience. The day we arrived the head monk gave us a speech about the mandalas in the Kongobuji temple of Koyasan. There was a very impressive ceremony and dancing by women from the temple at the end. We all sat around inside the main temple room and listened. (I snuck around a bit and took pictures.) A magazine, AERA, is doing a story about me and the cameraman was also snooping around taking pictures of me taking pictures of stuff. Koyasan only has temples and no hotels, but many...

GOD NAMES NEXT "CHOSEN PEOPLE"; IT'S JEWS AGAIN »

SatireWire | GOD NAMES NEXT "CHOSEN PEOPLE"; IT'S JEWS AGAIN March 2002 Jerusalem (SatireWire.com) Update — Jews, whose troubled, 10,000-year term as God's "chosen people" finally expired last night, woke up this morning to find that they had once again been hand-picked by the Almighty. Synagogues across the globe declared a day of mourning. ... Due to the absence of voluntary candidates, God's Law stipulated that the Almighty had to choose a people at random to serve out the next 10-millenia term. Elias Contreau, director of the International Interfaith Working Group, said he wasn't surprised it came to a blind...
Whiplash by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

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