Joi Ito's dissertation, The Practice of Change: using networks, not markets, to solve problems

Originally published at:


Thank god no one can game the system on the internet.


I learned a few days ago that Joi Ito’s parents worked for Stanford Ovshinsky at Energy Conversion Devices and Ovshinsky, a great inventor who never went past high school and grew up as a Social Democrat in the Workers Circle tradition, mentored him and treated him almost like a son.

I’d like to ask Joi Ito about his history with Ovshinsky sometime and will when next I see him at the Media Lab.

The Man Who Saw Tomorrow: The Life and Inventions of Stanford R. Ovshinsky by Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett might be worth a mention by boingboing at some point. Ovshinsky deserves to be remembered and studied.


There are way too many words, in that snippet alone. Aren’t markets just really slow networks?

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A post-Internet framework for understanding and intervening in complex adaptive systems.

I am almost certain this means something.

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“Transform strongly held beliefs”? What happens to those who don’t transform? Off to the gulag?

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For the curious, 43-page preview here:

This is very close to the standard Lorem Ipsum of the the art world for the past decade or so. Endless articles and conference papers that no one ever refers back to.

  1. A vague statement about “the emergence of new forms of collaborative practices.”
  2. This phenomenon has the potential to do good.
  3. Therefore, whoever is doing this vaguely defined thing should keep on doing it.

“How and why we must change the values of society from one based on the measurement of financial value to flourishing and robustness.”

I think this is worth a deeper look. Measuring financial value, that is, the total size of our economies, only works so far, and has broken down. If we instead had measures based on robustness or even network-level measures to optimize, I think we’d see a healthier economy.

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He says - “the Internet is the best example of this architecture”

So, the post-internet internet?

Or maybe the internet it was originally supposed to be, inherently distributed/network, before it got monopoly/enclosed by the 20C-style dynosaurs - but how long can such ingenious perversion hold off inherent inevitability? Cory’s Walkaway expores this.

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