Joichi “Joi” Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy and Internet freedom. As director of the MIT Media Lab and a Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways.
Soon after coming to MIT in 2011, Ito introduced mindfulness meditation training to the Media Lab. Together with The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, Ito teaches Principles of Awareness, a class devoted to promoting the contribution that awareness and focus can bring to the creativity process.
Ito is chairman of the board of PureTech and previously served as board chair and chief executive of Creative Commons. He sits on the boards of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The New York Times Company. He also is a strategic advisor to the Sony Corporation. In Japan, he was a founder of Digital Garage and helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. He currently is a visiting executive researcher at Keio University SFC. Ito also was an early investor in numerous companies, including Flickr, Last fm, littleBits, FormLabs, Kickstarter and Twitter.
In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute. He received an honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from The New School in New York City in 2013 and two years later, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Tufts University. In 2014, Ito was inducted into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame an was a recipient of the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement. In 2017, he received the IRI Medal.
He is co-author with Jeff Howe of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016), and he now writes a monthly column for WIRED magazine.
Ito is a member of the 2017 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Visiting Professor of Law from Practice at the Harvard Law School, where he and Professor Jonathan Zittrain teach The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence.