Archive for April 29, 2011
The announcement of MIT’s new Media Lab Director is a big deal, and is relevant for computer science. What I found most fascinating about this piece was the blatant contempt that The Register obviously holds for the Media Lab, e.g., referring to Nicholas Negroponte as “The PT Barnum of Science.” They say, “While real research is about finding new ways of thinking and finding new ways to tackle difficult problems, the Media Lab is really an incubator for media stunts, debasing the idea of research.” (The MIT Media Lab is the home of Scratch and other great computing education innovations.)
Is this just The Register, or is this a common perception of the Media Lab outside the United States? Do they see the value of things like Scratch, or do they see the education work as similarly “debasing,” or do they not see the education work at all?
MIT has appointed a new director of its Media Lab: a blogger and networker who found computer science boring, and dropped out of higher education completely after discovering that he couldn’t learn physics “intuitively”. But since it’s actually MIT’s Media Lab we’re talking about, the appointment of dot com socialite and self-confessed dilettante Joicho Ito is really the perfect, perfect choice. A happier marriage could not be imagined.
Ito has dabbled as an entrepreneur, running Japan’s first ISP for a year, and in the last few years helped inflate the Web 2.0 bubble. He has been CEO of Creative Commons, set up a Guild in World of Warcraft, and served three years on the board of domain name quango ICANN. More recently he’s been in Dubai, the lowest tax regime in the world.