The People

 

March 04, 2005

Joichi Ito:

One-question interview

joiito.jpg

Joichi Ito is Vice President of international and mobility for Technorati which indexes and monitors blogs and the Chairman of Six Apart Japan, the weblog software company. He is on the board of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization which proposes a middle way to rights management, rather than the extremes of the pure public domain or the reservation of all rights. He is a board member of Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan. In 1997 Time Magazine ranked him as a member of the CyberElite. In 2000 he was ranked among the "50 Stars of Asia" by Business Week and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications for supporting the advancement of IT. In 2001 the World Economic Forum chose him as one of the 100 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow" for 2002. He has served and continues to serve on numerous Japanese central as well as local government committees and boards, advising the government on IT, privacy and computer security related issues. He is currently researching "The Sharing Economy" as a Doctor of Business Administration candidate at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy at Hitotsubashi University in Japan. He maintains a weblog at joi.ito.com where he regularly shares his thoughts with the online community.

Q: How do you think social software and online communities could be used to foster intercultural understanding? Is the idea of a global village where we all live in peace a pipe-dream, or is it something reasonably achievable? Can the Internet help us get there?

A: A great deal of the world problems represent a breakdown in democracy due to globalization. The increase in speed, complexity and scale of geo-politics and economy together with the juxapositioning of extreme diversity has caused many countries to amplify the political extremes, aggregate power and veil their actions in secrecy as a response. The media has shifted from the voice of the citizens back in the days of Thomas Paine to media corporations more focused on the bottom line than on supporting a deliberative democracy.

Increasingly, many countries are run by a conservative and somewhat extreme ruling class which gains the support of the lower class through the use of simple messages and mass media. The message is delivered one-way and missing is the voice of the moderate individuals.

Social software and online communities have the potential to provide a voice to the moderate middle class which is currently underrepresented. Providing voices to people from diverse cultures can provide a way for people to care in a way that second hand reporting can not. Social software and online communities represents a revolution in media. The citizen's media is an amateur revolution which not only fills the gap left by the commercialization of the news media, but an increased level of coverage because of the ease with which people can publish.

Current trends in search engines, reputation management and feedback systems in online dialog provide an ability for the community to self-select emergent leaders, reputable sources and even collaborative authority such as Wikipedia. The short term impact of such online communities may have been overestimated in the past, but they are being underestimated for the future.

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Comments

Can globalization be reversed? And if not, how can citizens get more input (not be second-class citizens behind Corporations)?

Posted by: Genevieve Bosshard at March 11, 2005 12:01 PM


While the internet and social software make it easier to share information, they also make it easier for people with particular views to get together. I think it´s an excellente question whether the internet allows intercultural understanding or just gets people who think the same to find and support one another. Is there real exchange and learning or just retrenchment?

Posted by: Jon Clark at March 11, 2005 12:06 PM


Hi Ito, welcome to Madrid Atocha workshop; we are looking forward to do some good work here!

Posted by: AtochaWorkshop at March 11, 2005 12:10 PM


Is freedom of expression, and widespread access to opinions (via Internet) enough? What if everyone writes a blog and no one reads them, and the corporations go on merrily creating policy without us, without the government, almost? (If the govt. allows it.) Then what use is talking over Internet?

Posted by: Genevieve Bosshard at March 11, 2005 12:57 PM


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The Workshop

On March 11th 2005 the Atocha Workshop on Global Terrorism, hosted by the Safe Democracy Foundation, will create a repository of original thinking on Global Terrorism that will continue to be fed weekly in the form of a weblog by creative thinkers on the subject from around the world.

The launching event will take place at the Atocha Train Station on March 11th, 2005 at the restaurant Samarkanda. Here, in in an atmosphere that will encourage creative thinking, around 200 people will participate as policy proponents, webloggers or as public; all will be engaged in the discussion of the proposed policies.
Workshop Program and Agenda >>

The People

The Workshop will bring together journalists, politicians, activists and scholars in the fields of democratic advocacy and terrorism analysis (see full list). We are introducing them by means of One Question Interviews. Anyone can register to the Workshop and participate by asking them further questions, challenging their assumptions or proposing their own alternative ideas.
Read more >>

The Proposals

The general criteria for published ideas in the Atocha Workshop Weblog are that they be original, creative, potentially executable and most important that their implementation would likely lead to a more democratic world. The basic concept of the Worshop is that in politics, as in biology, diversity is needed to fight a threat. Political leaders, when confronted with the problem of global terrorism need a menu of possible responses. From the proceeds of the discussion on the weblog plus the physical event we will offer a series of Policy Proposals.
Read more >>>

The Topics

During the Creative Debates we will be working towards making Policy Proposals from the 12 topics that we have selected. These topics are only starting points.
Read more >>


The Atocha Workshop is sponsored by the Safe Democracy Foundation. (Formerly the Varsavsky Foundation)

With the support of
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