I went to the ‘Open House 2010’ of ‘SONY Computer Science Laboratory (CSL)’ known as ‘Sony’s magic lab ? a place where geniuses and super-talents pop up’.
After the presentations of very interesting fijndings by both Sakurada-san and Rekimoto-san, Kitano-san and Tokoro-san joined to host a panel with these two. Being requested to make comments, I asked what they thought about recent reports of ‘Craig Venter having succeeded in making artificial life in laboratory’ in relation to their (Sakurada san’s and Rekimoto san’s) research themes. After all what Venter accomplished is truly ‘extraordinary’ and ‘outrageous’.
Next was unique presentations by young researchers. Hasegawa-san at Tomato (London) proposing ‘Process Design’, Tobita san in Comic Computing, and Owada san known for ‘Toirel, Moe (Toilet, Sprout); are all very ‘strange’, ‘Otaku-fu (somewhat Nerd or geek)’ but definitely have some big energy. At a panel after their presentations, Kenichiro Mogi-san tried hard in various ways to provoke them, but these three wouldn’t be provoked so easily, which was in a way surprising.
In the end, Kansai Yamamoto-san sitting at the front row of the room boosted all by saying “Maybe the key is to keep on going, being ‘strange’…..” and I very much agree.
Kitano san, the Director himself, is quite a character who was awarded the ‘Mentor Award’ http://www.kiyoshikurokawa.com/en/2009/12/mentor-award-of-nature-the-crazy-ones.html of the Nature magazine by his motto ‘The Crazy Ones’ though he never have worked in Japanese Universities.
I think that you must be a ‘misfit’, ‘out of box’, to develop a new field, new idea, produce outcomes big enough to change old dogma or to pursue something with energy strong enough to change the society. It has always been so in history.
SONY CSL‘Demonstration’ was scheduled 2 days after, but to my regret I have to miss it.
I spent a great, satisfying half day at the Open House 2010 of SONY CSL.