Special Lecture by Prof. H. Ishii of MIT

I was able to participate in the special lecture of Prof. H. Ishii of MIT on Nov. 27 in Tokyo.  The title was “Future Memory”.  When I looked at the title, I could not really understand what it means but later, it became clear.  I understood that the major contents of the lecture had two parts: 

AjHow we live in an environment that require drastic changes in terms of our values

BjDrivers for creation

As for A), there were two points

PjPerspective, Axis, Origin

As axis and Origin of a person’s idea are always challenged to be changed due to confrontational ideas. These have to get transformed to a middle ground or a balancing point between the axis and the confrontation through constructive discussions.

QjUnavoidable Natural Disaster

Brain freeze due to the myth of safety.  This is one of the reasons that Tokyo Electric Power Company caused the melt-down of nuclear reactor after the 311 earthquake.  Given the fact that natural disaster is not avoidable, it is more important for us how fast we recover.  We should not wait for a perfect thing to be created for a long time but instead start launching in the market with the best efforts.  And then, by criticizing by the users, the thing launched should be polished and get better.  Under such environment, we are required to be resilient and robust.  Furthermore, a role of SNS is evident in a way to connect the people who have with the people who need to have.  Through the SNS, the people in the Tohoku Area after the 311, was enormously supported.

BjWhat drives creation?

Prof. Ishii showed us a picture of pyramid with three words: from the top, 1) Vision, 2) User’s need, 3) Technology.  He also mentioned that the drivers for creation were 1) Sticking-Out Power, 2) Path-always-behind-me power, and 3) Creating-mountain Power.  Right after the lecture, he tweeted about these powers and I also re-tweeted (Hiromi koizumi@a_attain). 

Japanese children are always taught that “the nail that sticks out gets banged down.  In other words, we should keep low profile or we should not do something different from others.  However, he said, “the nails that sticks out too much cannot get banged down.”  What a wonderful comment!  The power of” a path always follows behind” came from a poem made by the famous artist, Mr. Kotaro Takamura.  The poem says, “There is no road in front of me, I can create a path behind me,” i.e., one should have a spirit of going forward into an untouched land.  The power of creating mountains which was found after Prof. Ishii joined MIT but it is not so important to climb a mountain that someone else has created or the one that someone created in the past but more important to make a huge/brand-new mountain and climb up to the top by him/herself.  There might be some Japanese youth who happened to become a sticking-out person without knowing and banged down to lose confidence.  However, those youth, he mentioned, should use the humiliation as energy to burn the desire to achieve the goal.  Be confident and do not give up.  Keep the loftiness.     

This is Prof. Isii’s way of “Innovation and Growth.”

What a wonderful way of keep growing!  I sincerely would like to follow such a way of living.

Furthermore, there was a story about Facebook account of his mother who passed away a few years ago.  This story leads to the title of “Future Memory.”  Prof. Ishii created her mother’s account after her death and delivered and is still delivering her haiku poems in Facebook as he believes his mother’s poems are very beautiful.

I personally believe that our souls will remain alive in a world after death but I realized through this story that I would also leave intangible thing through a tool like Facebook in this physical world.  What can we leave to our descendants in 2200?  What would be the two kanji letters that represents your life?  These are the questions he asked to all the participants that evening.  I would like to seriously think about this for the next few weeks. 

I was one of the lucky ones to exchange name cards with him after the lecture and this will be one of the treasures of my life. 

Prof, Ishii, I will keep following you through twitter!

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