joi ito – mit

joi ito b w

intriguing, interesting, resonating.

he’s making it easier for dear ed to change.


By opening up the Media Lab, Ito hopes to move closer towards his goal of “a world with seven billion teachers”, where smart crowds, adopting a resilient approach and a rebellious spirit, solve some of the world’s great problems. His is a world of networks and ecosystems, in which unconstrained creativity can tackle everything from infant mortality to climate change. “We want to take the DNA [of the lab], the secret sauce, and drop it into communities, into companies, into governments,” he says. “It’s my mission, our mission, to spread that DNA. You can’t actually tell people to think for themselves, or be creative. You have to work with them and have them learn it themselves.”

I want it to have a much stronger normative political message — a lot of the kids at the Media Lab today don’t want to make more money, don’t want to become immortal, they just want to figure out how to fix this unhealthy system we have. There are lots of kids who are not happy with this massive consumerism, this unsustainable growth, but who have really smart science and technology values. That’s a type of person we can draw into what I think will become a movement.”

Here, even if you’re the only person in the world who thinks something’s interesting, you can do it. Our funding model allows our students to do anything they want without asking permission. It’s like venture capital: we don’t expect every experiment to succeed — in fact, a lot are failures. But that’s great — failure is another word for discovery. We’re very much against incrementalism — we look for unexplored spaces, and our key metrics for defining a good project areuniqueness, impact and magic.”

Ito set out some of his key principles. These included: “Encourage rebellion instead of compliance”; “Practice instead of theory”; ” Constant learning instead of education”; “Compass over map”. “The key principles include disobedience — no one ever won a Nobel prize by doing as they’re told,” he explains later. “And it’s about resilience versus strength — you don’t try to resist failure, you allow failure and bounce back. And compass over map is important — you need to know where you’re going, but the cost of planning often exceeds the cost of actually trying. The maps you have are often wrong. These principles affect and apply to just about any organisation.”

Joi writes of tools for the coming chaos here.

wikipedia him.

his site:

joi's site

brother to Mimi Ito.


via interview june 11 2012:

Wired: And in the face of that we ought to do what?
Ito: What you need to do is understand these changes are happening, and build systems and governments and ways of thinking that are resilient to this kind of destructive change that is going to happen. It’s a kind of change that is really hard to predict, it’s really hard to control, so how do you as a human being, or as an organization, survive in this chaotic, unpredictable system where planning is almost impossible?

Wired: Please tell me you have an answer.
Ito: There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:

  1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.
  2. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the network as you need them, as opposed to centrally stocking them and controlling them.
  3. You want to take risk instead of focusing on safety.
  4. You want to focus on the system instead of objects.
  5. You want to have good compasses not maps.
  6. You want to work on practice instead of theory. Because sometimes you don’t why it works, but what is important is that it is working, not that you have some theory around it.
  7. It disobedience instead of compliance. You don’t get a Nobel Prize for doing what you are told. Too much of school is about obedience, we should really be celebrating disobedience.
  8. It’s the crowd instead of experts.
  9. It’s a focus on learning instead of education.

We’re still working on it, but that is where our thinking is headed.


love this:

joi ito post

what i’m trying to do is free someone’s soul from his/her image


Joi Ito (@Joi)
4/26/13 5:36 AM
My Freesouls story features on Fotopedia Reporter!…


here he is via  Skoll World Forum in a film from the opening plenary – via this fastcompany post

love image at 4:01 – moving between silos

3:20 – Premal – the power of a correct idea, spreads so quickly that scale happens at a never before pace..

4:45 – Joi – frugal engineering happens in the absence of abundance, living in a frugal society doesn’t mean you’re disadvantaged, it means you’re advantaged in thinking from the perspective of efficiency

5:00 – Premal – so wonderful to see the reverse

Joi – we’re trying to fix things with resources, rather than with understanding

6:20 – as we become more interconnected, .. we become more conscious

Premal – the problems of this world demand – audacious thinking


latest from

via keynote at

reimagining education conf

permission-less innovation is what’s driving the internet


joi on web at 25

Iwan Baan image


city science (mit) – like personal fabricating your city.. no?


ted 2014:

joi ted 2014
















During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab, the motto he proposed was: “Demo or die.” He said that the demo only had to work once.But Ito, who points out that he’s a “three-time college dropout,” wants to change the motto to: “Deploy or die.” He explains, “You have to get it into the real world to have it actually count.”

The cost of prototyping and distributing is becoming so low that students and software can do it too,” says Ito. 

What we need to learn is how to learn.”

Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general direction of where you need to be.

“I don’t like the word ‘futurist,’” he says. “I think we should be now-ists. Focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.”

after the internet – people who survive have a different set of principles…

the cost of trying new things was almost zero – so people w/o permission/money can do things

from publish or perish, to demo or die, to deply or die (get it out into the world)

pull things when you need them rather than stockpiling them

you can’t plan life – but if you have a really strong compass…

focus on being connected.. always learning…. fully aware.. always present..


sept 2014:

These schematics and the engineers in the factories knew the state of the art and could apply this know-how to their own scrappy designs that could be more experimental and crazy. I

They place barely visible chips onto boards by hand and had a soldering technique that Americans will tell you can only be done by a $50,000 machine. What amazed me was that they used no assisted vision. … bunnie posits that they do it mostly by feel and muscle memory. It was amazing and beautiful to watch.

the low cost of labor was the driving force to pull most of the world sophisticated manufacturing here, but it was the ecosystem that developed the network of factories and the tradecraft that allows this ecosystem to produce just about anything at any scale.

Both Shenzhen and Silicon Valley have a “critical mass” that attracts more and more people, resources and knowledge, but also they are both living ecosystems full of diversity and a work ethic and experience base that any region will have difficulty bootstrapping.

perhaps could happen anywhere – if we just freed all the people up – Baan ness – all of us as ecosystem.



oct 2014:

It is hard for us to accept that people do not fall in love with works of art only for their own sake, but also in order to feel that they belong to a community. By imitating, we get closer to others—that is, other imitators. It fights solitude.  –  Taleb, black swan

most people are other people. trumping authenticity for attachment.

perhaps why ie: th experiment and this mit & twitter – won’t get us there – until we free people up to be themselves. twitter data is irrelevant – if it’s not really us. no? how to make it not an imitation. every day.


mar 2015 – talk at safecast – SCC2015 in tokyo:


2016 edge question:

Director, MIT Media Lab
We don’t know exactly how FMTs work, other than that the introduction of microbiota (poop) from a healthy individual somehow causes the gut of an afflicted patient to regain its microbial diversity and rein in the rampant Clostridium difficile.
Siddhartha perhaps preventative & detoxative – chip as rna ish
It appears that our gut microbes produce a wide variety of neurotransmitters that influence our brains, and vice versa, much more than previously believed. There is evidence that, in addition to mood, a number of brain disorders may be caused by microbial imbalance. The evidence is so strong that FMT banks such as OpenBiome have started screening donors for psychiatric problems in addition to a wide variety of health issues. Consequently, it is now harder to qualify as a donor to a fecal bank than it is to get into MIT or Harvard.
microbes more abundant in the human body than human cells,
There is increasing evidence that allergies and many modern ailments have come into existence only after the invention of modern hygiene.
microbes in the soil appear to be an essential part of the system
csu guy on dirt et al
systemic change. deep/quiet enough

for energy\alive\health ness..

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake… a nother way


on blockchain & bitcoin – feb 2016

I’m worried about the current situation of Bitcoin and the Blockchain.

Partially driven by the overinvestment in the space, and partially by the fact that Bitcoin is much more about money than the Internet ever was, it is experiencing a crisis that didn’t really have any parallels in the early days of the Internet.


The future of Bitcoin, decentralized ledgers and other Blockchain-like projects depends on this community.


Unfortunately, the wild growth of Bitcoin and now “the Blockchain” has caught this community off guard from a governance perspective, leaving the core developers of Bitcoin unable to interface effectively with the commercial interests whose businesses depend on scaling the technology. When asked “can you scale this?” They said, “we’ll do the best we can.” That wasn’t good enough for many, especially those who don’t understand the architecture or the nature of what is going on inside of Bitcoin.

perhaps scale comes from the problem/desire/core/focus.. being on something 7 billion people would be invested in… w or w/o money/reward.. et al… perhaps scale comes from that energy.. only.. ie: has to be all of us ness

Many companies that are used to making decisions around less complicated systems

decision making ness


If you try to build “something like Bitcoin but better!” it will probably turn out insecure, underwhelming, and will go against the the fundamental principles that give Bitcoin the potential to be as impactful to banking, law and society as the Internet has been to media, communication, and commerce.

? – what if bitcoin.. and measuring transaction/validation ness of blockchain has already missed it ie: www ness..? ie: by focusing on banking, law… et al..


Mobile Internet “feels” like the Internet, but it’s an ugly and distorted copy of it with monopoly-like systems at many layers. This is exactly what happens when we let the application layer drag the architecture along in a kludgy and unprincipled way.


I’ve been sitting back quietly hoping that things would just calm down, and they might eventually. But I see more and more misinformation and hype with “Blockchain” being reduced to the same useless suitcase words that “IoT” and “The Cloud” have become and it makes me sad and a bit mad.

I’ve decided to spend the next chunk of time trying to counteract or balance some of the most misguided stuff that I’m seeing in areas that will have an impact on our future.

Vinay‘s comments on tweet thread where Joi shared this post

Nov 2014 I started to talk about the governance issues in bitcoin, specifically libertarian coin and anarchist development governance.

I think the split that we are seeing now is produced by a functional power vacuum: bitcoin doesn’t ship with its own governance tools.

If bitcoin had an effective governance model (even “one vote per bitcoin” might work) it could stabilize and self-finance from BTC.

But as things stand I think it’s going to pass to #Ethereum to build a self-governing platform: the job needs smart contracts at least

and/or.. perhaps this is – proof of work – enough.. that we need to go beyond measurement/govt/contracts ness

io dance


mar 2016 – on disobedience:


Love @Joi’s take on civil disobedience.… I spent a year on faculty at @medialab where I specialized in disobedience.

One of my Nine Principles is Disobedience over Compliance.


I’m not encouraging people to break the law or be disobedient just for the sake of being disobedient, but sometimes we have to go to first principles and consider whether the laws or rules are fair, and whether we should question them


Society and institutions in general tend to lean toward order and away from chaos. In the process this stifles disobedience. It can also stifle creativity, flexibility, and productive change-and in the long run-society’s health and sustainability.


I believe that being “disobedience robust” is an essential element of any healthy democracy and of any open society that continues to self correct and innovate.


reinventing bookkeeping – april 2016

There is, for example, no reason that every entry in our books needs to be a number. Each cell could be an algorithmic representation of the obligations and dependencies that it represents. In fact, using machine learning, accounts could become sophisticated probabilistic models for what might happen depending on how things around them change. This would mean that the “value” of any system would change depending on who was asking, their location, and the time parameters.

yeah – or beyond measuring transactions even  –  each cell is hosting life bits.. not as value.. but as a means to connect.. to self (augment memory) and others (tribe ness)


It feels like we are using integers when we should be using imaginary numbers. Reinventing accounting should be more like discovering a new number theory than tweaking the algorithms, which is what I feel like we’ve been doing for the last several hundred years.

using imaginary numbers..? or disengaging from imaginary monies/measures/values..

ie: a nother way… io dance/hosting life bits (blockchain/stack ness: replace server farms – chip energy efficient –dna\ness)
ps in the open (idiosyncratic jargon)
decision making/B redefined via self-talk as data


living spaces


city ness


from march 2016 – shared by joi on fb june 2016—march-2016

The Internet and increasingly more powerful computational tools, accelerated the rate at which research can be conducted, shared and combined. This has generated a new opportunity but also increases the complexity, making it increasingly difficult to tackle many of the interesting problems through a traditional disciplinary approach.


we’re moving into an era in which system boundaries are not as defined. These underrepresented systems—the microbial world, say, or the global climate, or the environment—present significant design challenges.


I will create a vehicle for the exchange of ideas—a vehicle that brings those working in antidisciplinary space together in exciting ways that challenge existing academic silos. My ultimate aim is to create a new platform and network for the 21st century: a new way of thinking and doing that will spread beyond the Media Lab, and beyond MIT.
mech simple enough.. a nother way (short)
The peer review of academic papers was important in building scientific knowledge before the Internet, but in many ways it is holding us back now.  It often leads researchers to focus on proving the value of their research to a small number of experts in their own field rather than risking an unconventional approach—thus reinforcing a cliché of academia: “learning more and more about less and less.”
As the curator of the new journal, I will work on creating a model of interaction online; many of the contributions will be snapshots of in-person conversations. This intimate form of communicating is in stark contrast to the formal peer-review system, allowing contributors to tackle the most interesting problems and ideas of our times; it is itself an experiment.
self-talk as data ness – so imagine that .. with 7 bill people.. as the day. everyday.

In addition to building this new way of collaboration and publishing, I would like to develop a new, hybrid research-and-development process—a translation process that will deploy academic research into the real world and bring the real world into academic research.

rev of everyday life


We are entering another new age—one in which structured reason is not enough. A new kind of science is emerging, based on designing novel methods of addressing complex adaptive systems—systems that remain beyond our ability to fully understand. My work will contribute to a new way of conducting antidisciplinary but rigorous research with global effects that will allow us to survive and flourish in this new age we have entered.
perhaps. hosting life bits.. that io dance


‘structured reason not enough. systems that remain beyond ability to flly understand’ -host life bits that io dance 



Credit for Help on Blog Posts…

how about a mech (ie: hosting life bits).. that does the linking for us as we share (in whatever mode)


forbidden research


added to books to readWhiplash

thank you library.. reading whiplash


interview w obama

This may upset some of my students at MIT, but one of my concerns is that it’s been a predominately male gang of kids, mostly white, who are building the core computer science around AI, and they’re more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings. A lot of them feel that if they could just make that science-fiction, generalized AI, we wouldn’t have to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society. They think machines will just figure it all out for us.


I don’t know if you’ve heard of the neurodiversity movement, butTemple Grandin3 talks about this a lot. She says that Mozart and Einstein and Tesla would all be considered autistic if they were alive today.

OBAMA: They might be on the spectrum.

ITO: Right, on the spectrum. And if we were able to eliminate autism and make everyone neuro-­normal, I bet a whole slew of MIT kids would not be the way they are. One of the problems, whether we’re talking about autism or just diversity broadly, is when we allow the market to decide. Even though you probably wouldn’t want Einstein as your kid, saying “OK, I just want a normal kid” is not gonna lead to maximum societal benefit.

OBAMA: That goes to the larger issue that we wrestle with all the time around AI. Part of what makes us human are the kinks. They’re the mutations, the outliers, the flaws that create art or the new invention, right? We have to assume that if a system is perfect, then it’s static. And part of what makes us who we are, and part of what makes us alive, is that we’re dynamic and we’re surprised. One of the challenges that we’ll have to think about is, where and when is it appropriate for us to have things work exactly the way they’re supposed to, without surprises?

supposed to..?


ITO: What’s important is to find the people who want to use AI for good—communities and leaders—and figure out how to help them use it.

let’s try hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data

seems obama keeps brining up moneys/wars.. as signs of whatever..


ITO: We have to rethink what clean means, and it’s similar whether you’re talking about cybersecurity or national security. I think that the notion that you can make strict orders or that you can eliminate every possible pathogen is difficult.


ITO: I think we’re in a golden period where people want to talk to each other. If we can *make sure that the funding and the energy goes to support open sharing, there is a lot of upside. You can’t really get that good at it in a vacuum, and it’s still an international community for now.

ie: two convos.. as the day


joi: I think one of the problems is that there’s this general notion of, how can you be smart if you don’t have any money? In academia, I see a lot of smart people without money.

– – –

President Obama (@POTUS) tweeted at 11:16 AM – 12 Oct 2016 :

Now this was fun. Artificial intelligence, space travel—hope you enjoy exploring new frontiers as much as I did. (

now this was fun…?

the fun..?
as Aleppo
as dopla
[same thing Don Tapscot.. on his fun lecturing about blockchain revolution..]
we have to take a break.. put fun/entertainment/busy-ness on hold..  rather than how we keep on putting people on hold..

go deeper


Joi Ito (@Joi) tweeted at 2:03 PM on Sun, Oct 16, 2016:
When we “surfed” the Net and when it was more punk rock – “My 1994 Column About Joi Ito’s Webzine” by @hrheingold


fb live on whiplash


joi: cp snow the seed lecture.. 1959.. intellectuals need to talk to scientists .. written as urgent.. defines today..john brockman.. in getting sci books popular..  first moonshots.. random kids getting into rockets.. today.. fewer people involved.. i hope this book can get randoms excited about science..

jeff: if you’re serious about democratizing scientific knowledge.. where beautiful/elegant ideas are known..  complex ideas to wide societies..

joi: the agility and permissionless motion.. that govt can’t… can we do more things like wikipedia..

whiplash: 9 tools to navigate an uncertain future

1. Emergence over authority

2. Pull over push

3. Compasses over maps

4. Risk over safety

5. Disobedience over compliance

6. Practice over theory

7. Diversity over ability

8. Resilience over strength

9. Systems over objects


how survive our faster future w walter isaacson

over anticipate short term under anticipate long term

trump doing things.. like he had read the book.. not planning.. going with flow..

emergence (sbj) of ant colonies..

8 min – arab spring happened so quickly.. infrastructure not ready yet

11 min – once the media becomes a battlefield.. and power gets more powerful more you write about it.. so if manipulated..

12 min – diff chunk on media we’ve never seen before.. seeing media as a game.. game in real life.. ie: not liking these powers speaking in complete sentences.. found out if you poke them.. can be quite entertaining..

15 min – kids who play for fun.. sophisticated.. help guide this movement..

warfare is about deception.. this is an online war.. don’t underestimate..  it’s a business.. ie: kids in macedonia after trump.. when that ends will go after healthcare

20 min – moving so quickly.. less about rules and laws .. more about responding quickly

29 min – a lot of people were criticizing us because we were so rogue.. now they’ve joined us..

31 min – on the importance of agility .. vs policy bogging you down

33 min – we have to assume that for some price.. anybody can get into anything.. so what are your threat models.. better to assume attacks and work on working way back.. than thinking can block

gershenfeld sel..

37 min – we’re not going to see one huge dominate ai.. best thing to look at .. ai’s…imagine corp even more opaque.. can move more quickly..

38 min – imagine an extended intelligence for every function.. who give you great advice.. as tend to be correct more and more and we don’t know why.. people will still feel in charge.. move to us becoming somewhat complacent in our civics.. not clear ..

40 min – depending on which breakthrus come out first..

44 min – because so much commercial value in ai.. small businesses and academia can’t afford these.. so see smartest aggregating into big co’s.. my point.. even if have all best intentions..not going to have sophisticated findings.. ie: facial recognition not noticing colored faces.. so.. now.. we’re building and saying.. what do you think of it.. rather than integrating as you build..

why we  need to let go and let 7 bn at it..

46 min – on manipulations.. ie: kids better learning outcomes.. by making robot more kid like.. so buy in more..

49 min – you have to be ready to give up control

why we have not yet

50 min – tricky now.. somebody’s inefficiency is somebody’s revenue

53 min – by tweaking the music i could manage the floor.. disco.. and how i think about the lab.. tremendous permission.. all making same music in our head..

? manage the floor..? can’t come from one person.. and again.. why we haven’t yet.. we have means to listen to and connect everyone (ie: via curiosity) .. we certainly aren’t doing that..

55 min – a system where other is embraced.. not another



Wrote this with Neha and Rob.

The Blockchain Will Do to Banks and Law Firms What the Internet Did to Media

unless.. we make banks/law firms irrelevant.. let’s host-life-bits that io dance on blockchain instead..

Yet, in the 1990s, the mainstream press scoffed when Nicholas Negroponte predicted that most of us would soon be reading our news online rather than from a newspaper.

Fast forward two decades: Will we soon be seeing a similar impact from cryptocurrencies and blockchains?

rather.. a similar impact on 2 convos..  on humanity.. why waste time/energy/blockchain/us/whatever.. on made up money..?

like the internet, blockchain technology is strongest when everyone is using the same network, so in the future we might all be talking about “the” blockchain.

indeed.. why we need to go deeper than ie: banks.. law firms.. cryptocurrencies.. if we want everyone using it.. must be deep/simple/open enough for all.. today.. money/measuring.. has never done that for us.. it has never included all of us..

This initial lack of commercial players and interests was critical….Bitcoin is the killer app for the blockchain.

? why wouldn’t we want the killer app to be non commercial..? ie: hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data

But the blockchain will also support a variety of other applications, including smart contracts, asset registries, and many new types of transactions that will go beyond financial and legal uses.

what if only transactions that matters.. enough.. is facil ing 7 bn curiosities.. everyday .. as the day.. [aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]

What cannot be disputed, however, is that Bitcoin is real, and it works.

works for what..? for fake\made-up money ness..? doesn’t work for people.. ie: not everyone is using it .. or can/will.. and why keep measuring transactions/us..? in humane..

We’re often seeing so-called blockchains that are not really innovative, but instead are merely databases, which have existed for decades,

isn’t that what money is..? database.. screwing with us..?

This is one reason why the work that we’re doing at the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab is so important: It is one of the few places a substantial effort is being made to work on the technology and infrastructure clear of financial interests and motivations. This is critical.

it is critical.. ginormous.. is it really happening..? clear of financial interests/motivations..?

Those who do so will be well placed to thrive in the new, emerging financial system.

how is that clear of financial interests..?


Conversation with Matsutaka Hosoo 12th head of Nishijin weaving family in Kyoto – English subtitles

7 min – ha.. punchcards

13 min – visiting nomads.. stay 2-3 wks