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Net Journal 3

Human evolution through tools to aid thinking

---- Connecting various types of knowledge and services that were not originally designed to be connected, easily and on the spot, seems to be exactly the way the ubiquitous era should be. What kind of vision is being created in the background of such research and development?

Dr. Tanaka: What I focus on is a world where our ideas can be turned into reality on the spot. With current computers, even if you think, "I want to experiment with something new by combining this and this," you cannot do it immediately. Since you have to improve programs or develop new applications, it takes a certain amount of time and energy. Both your experiment and your thinking must stop until the new software is complete. We intend to realize an environment where the stopping of the thought process can be minimized, where a tool can be created while thinking, and where something new can be tried immediately using the tool and another new hypothesis can be generated from there.

In a ubiquitous knowledge environment, diverse types of computers will be integrated not only into the web but also into the environment itself, including home electrical appliances, roads and buildings, and will constantly provide services in certain ways. Such a situation is called "pervasive computing." I aim to realize pervasive computing by which ordinary people will have access to flexible federations.

---- If it becomes possible for people who are not computer specialists to create new software programs and applications easily, what effect will this have on society?

Dr. Tanaka: We will be able to turn ideas into reality the moment we come up with them or create new environments at the same speed as we think, and more new ideas will be born from there. I can say that this is a completely new tool that is a first for mankind. If tools for thinking evolve and it becomes possible to materialize our ideas at the same speed as we think, forms of information and intellectual property created from there should be completely new and different from the past. My own ideas have changed dramatically since I began to work using IP and IB. New tools may change people's thinking itself. This is truly the beginning of an era of new evolution for mankind.

(2006/06/26)

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