Joi Ito

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Foremost Authority on Designing Innovative Technologies to Transform Business and Society; Advocate of Emergent Democracy, Privacy and Internet Freedom; Co-Author, “Whiplash;” Director and Professor, MIT Media Lab

Biography

Is your company prepared for a faster future? Two revolutions – one of smaller, cheaper devices and another of mass global communication – have joined to herald the demise of gradual, easily adaptable change. Our lives may be getting more convenient, but for companies and individuals alike, old certainties are dissolving and the competition for survival in a transformed marketplace is becoming more intense. As the director of the MIT Media Lab, one of the world’s most important hotbeds of technological innovation, Joi Ito is a firsthand practitioner and theorist of technological acceleration and the social upheaval it brings. Focusing less on industry-specific predictions and more on teaching business leaders how to adopt a new perspective on the digital world, Ito shows organizations precisely how and where they should change their thinking to cope with radical, never-ending change.

A self-taught computer scientist and engineer, Ito is the co-author with Jeff Howe of “Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future” (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016). In this entertaining and eye-opening book, Ito and Howe reveal how organizational leaders can proactively prepare for the future through an altered state of mind, prioritizing such values as risk, disobedience and diversity over safety, compliance and old-fashioned hierarchy. Using vivid examples of these mindsets in action, from digital disrupters like Craigslist and Kickstarter to the manufacturing upstarts of Shenzhen, China, the authors chart a new cultural course for creating and sustaining dynamism. The framework they outline helps individuals and institutions target their investments in a future economy that seems unpredictable and uncertain. Similarly, Ito applied his personal insights to correctly anticipate technological change, building a career as a successful venture capitalist.

In addition to being a brilliant technology thought leader and successful investor, Ito is a specialist on digital currencies. He focuses on the long-term applications of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, arguing they have yet to reach their full potential and why investors need to avoid viewing them as merely speculative bubbles. To that end, he works closely with blockchain expert Neha Narula on the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative. A keen ethicist, Ito has also partnered with renowned technological governance, AI and cybersecurity authority Jonathan Zittrain to teach the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence course at Harvard Law School.

Ito, who writes a periodic column for WIRED, is the recipient of the Oxford Internet Institute’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The New School in 2013 and two years later, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Tufts University. His engaging, energetic and optimistic presentations and keynotes focus on topics ranging from his seminal book on changing one’s framework for approaching technological change to the utility of digital currencies and the ethical implications of AI. He also advises investors and venture capital firms on how to successfully target investment in the new economy. Ito recently was awarded a doctoral degree from Keio University and is currently writing his next book based on his dissertation, The Practice of Change, which will be published by the MIT Press. Another book is also in the works, based on his ground-breaking essay in the Journal of Design and Science, Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto.

Joi Ito is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

*Image credit: Diana Levine.

Videos

Books & Research

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future

(Grand Central Publishing, December 2016)

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Ito, Joi

Biography

Is your company prepared for a faster future? Two revolutions – one of smaller, cheaper devices and another of mass global communication – have joined to herald the demise of gradual, easily adaptable change. Our lives may be getting more convenient, but for companies and individuals alike, old certainties are dissolving and the competition for survival in a transformed marketplace is becoming more intense. As the director of the MIT Media Lab, one of the world’s most important hotbeds of technological innovation, Joi Ito is a firsthand practitioner and theorist of technological acceleration and the social upheaval it brings. Focusing less on industry-specific predictions and more on teaching business leaders how to adopt a new perspective on the digital world, Ito shows organizations precisely how and where they should change their thinking to cope with radical, never-ending change.

A self-taught computer scientist and engineer, Ito is the co-author with Jeff Howe of “Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future” (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016). In this entertaining and eye-opening book, Ito and Howe reveal how organizational leaders can proactively prepare for the future through an altered state of mind, prioritizing such values as risk, disobedience and diversity over safety, compliance and old-fashioned hierarchy. Using vivid examples of these mindsets in action, from digital disrupters like Craigslist and Kickstarter to the manufacturing upstarts of Shenzhen, China, the authors chart a new cultural course for creating and sustaining dynamism. The framework they outline helps individuals and institutions target their investments in a future economy that seems unpredictable and uncertain. Similarly, Ito applied his personal insights to correctly anticipate technological change, building a career as a successful venture capitalist.

In addition to being a brilliant technology thought leader and successful investor, Ito is a specialist on digital currencies. He focuses on the long-term applications of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, arguing they have yet to reach their full potential and why investors need to avoid viewing them as merely speculative bubbles. To that end, he works closely with blockchain expert Neha Narula on the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative. A keen ethicist, Ito has also partnered with renowned technological governance, AI and cybersecurity authority Jonathan Zittrain to teach the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence course at Harvard Law School.

Ito, who writes a periodic column for WIRED, is the recipient of the Oxford Internet Institute’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from The New School in 2013 and two years later, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Tufts University. His engaging, energetic and optimistic presentations and keynotes focus on topics ranging from his seminal book on changing one’s framework for approaching technological change to the utility of digital currencies and the ethical implications of AI. He also advises investors and venture capital firms on how to successfully target investment in the new economy. Ito recently was awarded a doctoral degree from Keio University and is currently writing his next book based on his dissertation, The Practice of Change, which will be published by the MIT Press. Another book is also in the works, based on his ground-breaking essay in the Journal of Design and Science, Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto.

Joi Ito is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

*Image credit: Diana Levine.

Speech Topics

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future

To survive the future, individuals and organizations must first change their perspectives. This requires dispensing long-time assumptions about governing institutions. Where earlier generations may have prized stability and authority, today we must be restless and dynamic. In this presentation based on his book co-written with Jeff Howe, “Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future,” Ito reveals his framework for updating one’s approach to technological change. He argues that in the new world, organizations should value risk, disobedience and diversity rather than a more traditional corporate ethos of hierarchy and respect for experience. This may come with difficulties for some companies and institutions, but Ito contends that it is the only way to survive the proverbial “whiplash” of a universe in constant flux.

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