“Three years later, we have 16 million data points. It is arguably one of the most successful citizen science projects in the world,” says Joi Ito. “How did a bunch of amateurs … somehow come together and do what NGOs and the government were completely unable to do? … It’s a new way of doing things enabled by the Internet”.
Remember before the Internet? Ito calls this period ”B.I.” In this stage of the world, life was simple and somewhat predictable. “But with the Internet, the world became extremely complex. The Newtonian laws that we so cherished turned out to be just local ordinances … Most of the people who were surviving are dealing with a different set of principles”.
In the B.I. world starting a business had a clear timeline, says Ito: you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the A.I. world the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It has pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence”.
During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab (vedi qui e qui) 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”.