Information and communications technology and local economic development

of 12

Please download to get full document.

View again

All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
12 pages
0 downs
Information and communications technology and local economic development
  11 QUARTERLY REVIEW No.23 / April 2007 1 Information and Communications Technology and Shiso  — Shiso   as a Capability for Science and Technology — S USUMU  H  AYASHI  Affiliated Fellow  1  Introduction  When the integration of sciences and the humanities refers to collaboration between science/engineering and the humanities/social sciences, it constitutes an essential element of science and technology policy, taking how science and technology are positioned in modern society into consideration. Japan’s Third Science and Technology Basic Plan [1]  repeatedly emphasizes the importance of this issue, especially in the environmental field.However, this article views relations between science and technology and the humanities and social sciences in a way that is completely different from the notion of integration as suggested above. The article points out how these relations can be a key factor in determining the growth or decline of Japan’s information and communications sector, especially the software sector, and proposes the need for a science and technology policy incorporating this perspective.This article is an extension of the view proposed in “The Two Rationalities and  Japan’s Software Engineering” [2] , a feature article in the September 2004 issue of “Science & Technology Trends” that analyzed the  weakness of Japan’s software sector from the perspective of rationality. While the earlier paper focused on software technology, the present paper encompasses the information and communications field as a whole, and portrays social systems for researchers as the source of science and technology. This perspective is what I refer to as  shiso  (see definition below), which is a Japanese term, and the issue is not confined to information technology alone. As most science and technology fields, and even the entire society, are becoming computerized and cybernated* 1 , the need is growing for science and technology policies that incorporate  shiso , particularly policies aimed at the development of human resources. 1-1   This article’s definition of shiso  This article provides a discussion intended to contribute to the promotion of Japan’s science and technology. From this perspective, the usual meaning of the Japanese term  shiso -a social or political thinking structure-is not appropriate for the discussion. Shiso , as used in this article, is dissimilar to the one used to explain Kantian philosophy and Marxism**, but is rather close to the meaning of “philosophy” as in “the practical philosophy of the Toyota Production System.” To avoid confusion, what this article refers to as  shiso  is first defined, and then followed by a discussion on the need for  shiso .The Kojien Japanese dictionary defines  shiso  as follows: (1) thought; (2) <philosophy> (a) results of contemplation not just through intuition prior to any judgment, but through such intuition combined with logical reflection; the content of such thinking, especially structured thinking; (b) a system of comprehensive ideas on society and life, often with social or political implications.Placing emphasis on the systemic aspect mentioned in (2)-(a) and the comprehensiveness in (2)-(b), this article defines  shiso  as shown in Table 1. According to the definition in Table 1,  shiso  encompasses everything that arises from spirit (as in the pioneering spirit, the explorer’s  12 SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY TRENDS spirit, and the frontier spirit) and philosophy (the philosophy underlying Japanese-style manufacturing), to culture (corporate culture, Toyota’s culture), soul (an engineer’s soul), and doctrines and “isms” (Taylorism, Fordism, rationalism). Because this article broadens the meaning of  shiso  so much from ordinary usage, even technical words are included. According to this definition, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism,” a work by sociologist Max  Weber, may be regarded as a treatise explaining the cause-effect relation between two different  shiso s such as this: “the Protestant  shiso  produced the  shiso  of modern capitalism.” 2   Shiso   in information and communications technology:  Software engineering and the development of the Internet This chapter explains what  shiso , as defined above, actually represents, examining three notable cases found in the history of information and communications technology. These examples demonstrate two things: (1) Shiso  in science and technology has different phases; (2) Shiso  has had strong positive and negative impacts on the history of the U.S.-led development of information and communications technology.The first case helps explain the role of  shiso  in recent trends in software production technology. This is an attempt to address  shiso  as a useful methodology for systems and systems development processes, and is an extension of previous articles by this author and his fellow researchers [2,3] . Shiso  has two meanings in this case. One is close to  shiso  as in “this system’s design  shiso ,” which is a concept specific to each software development project and lasts for a relatively short time on a small scale. Shiso  here can be defined as “lower level”  shiso  because it is more specific and individualized. The other meaning is related to the attitude where “each development project shall have a lower level  shiso  specific to it,” and this will be used to point out how this attitude has been advocated as a new paradigm for software production by an increasing number of researchers since the late 1990s. This represents a major shift in the software development process paradigm, and is a “higher level”  shiso  as suggested in the remaining two cases, because it is a common idea among different development projects over the long term.This leads to the second case, which explains a higher level  shiso . The second case will reveal the role that  shiso  played in the development of the Internet, the largest direct effect exerted by information technology on society. The last case is Web2.0, a typical case of higher level  shiso  and a major recent trend in information technology. This subject is analyzed from the viewpoint of  shiso  as defined in this article. Web2.0 is not a collective term referring to a set of new technologies, but a clear embodiment of  shiso . It has something in common with the other two examples and is strongly linked to current social changes. 2-1   Software development in relation to    theoretical and shiso  -oriented skills  Current trends in software engineering mean that software engineers have had to start acquiring capabilities that may be called “theoretical skills” and “  shiso -oriented skills.”  A. Cockburn, a prominent American software consultant, described in his recent book  [4]  how the theory propounded by the 2006 Turing Award  winner P. Naur, known as “programming as theory building,” is in fact practical knowledge for software developers. What Naur calls theory is not a set of printable rules, such as programs and specifications, but a more comprehensive idea consisting of knowledge possessed by those who create rules (programmers), especially that on how to create rules, and the process for creating and maintaining rules. Naur’s theory uses the terminology of British philosopher G. Ryle, who  was influenced by the ideas of Wittgenstein, one of the most distinguished philosophers of the Table 1 : This article’s definition of “ shiso  ” Shiso   refers to a specific pattern of thinking being shared, and handed down from one generation to the next, in a specific group (e.g., a religious order, professional group, ethnic group, company, university, community), and a system (a set) of such patterns. However, shiso is unlike instinct and custom in that any action taken according to shiso must be conscious, where “conscious action” means the person taking that action is aware that it follows a distinctive pattern.  13 QUARTERLY REVIEW No.23 / April 2007 20th century. The above study by Cockburn [4]  also cites design scholar P. Aine’s explanation of software development based on Wittgenstein’s language theories, suggesting that Cockburn  views practical knowledge on software engineering as an extension of the philosophy (   shiso  ) of Wittgenstein. What Naur means by theory building is the activity of matching elements in real-world activities with formal and symbolic operations on the computer. From this perspective, Naur has emphasized that the “exercise of theory building” is essential for the education of programmers. Shiso s similar to Cockburn’s and Naur’s constitute a dominant trend in recent software engineering. For example, the same tendency is clear in “Problem Frames” [5] , the latest theory of M. Jackson, the inventor of the Jackson method* 2 ,  which some call the world’s first program development method. D. D’Souza, who is known for his component-based development method* 3 , has also stressed this trend for several years and is trying to construct an srcinal  shiso  for software development [6] .These  shiso s should be considered as skills because of their contribution to improving software productivity. They are “lower level  shiso s” if expressed by the terms introduced at the beginning of this chapter, or they are the opposite of scientific theories if put with the term “theory” as defined by Ryle and Naur. Modern scientific theories owe much to Western philosophy. The philosophies of Descartes and Leibniz and the  shiso  of Newton have had an impact on the generation of each scientific theory, whether positively or negatively. Shiso  helped scientific theories to be incorporated into culture and society, consequently allowing science and technology to bring change to  shiso . This fact suggests that  shiso  is precisely the right tool to harmonize the development of systems that exist as independent theories. That is, what Cockburn, Jackson and D’Souza proposed are, in fact,  shiso s.This explanation clearly holds true for agile methods, the latest software methodology that has quickly come into widespread use since the beginning of the 2000s (see Reference [2]  ). Unlike conventional software development methods, such as the Jackson method, agile methods have been promoted through a group called the Agile Alliance, in which anyone who agrees with the Agile manifesto, a set of values on software development, can participate. In short, what defines agile methods are these  values, or  shiso . Agile methods are based on the  shiso  that the key factor of success or failure in a development project is the relationships among programmers within the development team. This is natural, considering that what Ryle and Naur call theory resides not just on paper, but in the minds of the people involved. Since people act as devices to create and store theories, the state of the mind of each device, such as the courage to accept change and the humility to facilitate ease of communication among team members, influences productivity. Agile methods emphasize such attitudes of programmers, and argue that having a good mind is an indispensable skills of being a programmer. This is very close to what  Japanese companies have traditionally promoted as corporate cultures through kaizen activities. In fact, as explained in the following chapter, Toyota and other Japanese-style production and management  shiso s have influenced the  shiso  of agile methods. This is proof that agile methods may be called a  shiso .In summary, the latest software engineering consists of theoretical skills (skills called “modeling”) to create systems as individual theories and  shiso -oriented skills, which refer to structured terms and phrases to enable theoretical skills to be communicated and learned. 2-2    Shiso   in the history of Internet development  The previous section explained what  shiso  is, taking the latest trends in software engineering as examples. The next section describes examples taken from the early days of modern information and communications technology. Shiso  played an essential role in the development of the Internet, one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Internet technology was born, led by one person’s  shiso , at a time when few people could recognize its potential or visualize its complete form. Waldrop [7]  and Kita [8]  wrote that the  shiso  of a psychologist named J.C.R. Licklider played a  14 SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY TRENDS critical role in the early stages of the development of the Internet. In particular, Kita’s “Internet no  shiso  shi” (“The History of Ideas of the Internet”) carries the word “  shiso ” in the title. This book portrays the history of Internet development as a history of ideas or a history of the evolution of technical ideas. Although personal computers connected through a network constitute the popular image of modern IT society, this was not the dominant technical image in the 1960s and 1970s, when such networked computers had yet to emerge. In the information and communications world before the Internet, research groups dispersed across the U.S. were separately conducting outstanding studies that would go down in scientific history. They were striving toward different goals, while competing with each other. Some were faced with the limitations of thinking inherent to technology professionals, and others suffered from their inability to transcend existing technologies and a lack of evaluation from the users’ point of view.However, technologies resulting from these efforts were integrated by  shiso s proposed by the psychologist Licklider between the late 1950s and the early 1960s, such as “man-machine symbiosis” and “a network of thinking centers,” and were made manifest under the guidance of these  shiso s. Licklider had once been a development team member of the SAGE system* 4 , an epoch-making system in the annals of computer development history. This experience, combined with his nonexpert status in the information technology field, made him a scientist who was capable of roughly estimating the potential of technologies from the viewpoint of a user without technical bias. Coincidentally, this scientist was offered an important post in the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA),  which gave him access to ample funds for use at his discretion. Licklider made the bold decision to spend the funds on emerging elemental technologies corresponding to his  shiso .The Roman philosopher Seneca remarked, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” This is sometimes quoted  with reference to requirement engineering, a branch of software engineering, as a warning to software development teams who may fail in their endeavors if they do not successfully identify their goals (requirements). Licklider was able to show the direction of the port, or the goal (developing the Internet), through his own  shiso . When the subject is an integrated technology like the Internet, the commitment of many excellent research groups is not enough, because their progress will be offset if individual groups are aiming at different goals according only to their own  shiso s, with no shared  shiso  to align them. This is like a boat whose crew is rowing toward different destinations. By contrast, even small driving forces can produce a great effect  when aligned and combined (Figure 1). When the situation was similar to (a) in Figure 1, Licklider used research funds, an element of the research environment, to roughly set a direction (destination port) for researchers to pursue, in a manner that few of them recognized. The result  was the launch of the Internet. Once the Internet emerged, the societal need for such technologies as email and the Web became the “port,” rapidly �              �       Figure 1 : Cockburn’s explanation of development project directions Prepared by the NISTEP based on Figures 3-17 and 18 in Reference [4]  15 QUARTERLY REVIEW No.23 / April 2007 spreading the Internet in a way few experts had imagined. 2-3    Web2.0 and the open shiso  The last case is Web2.0, referred to by some as “the latest version” of the Internet, and which is derived from Licklider’s  shiso . Web2.0 is an idea proposed in the autumn of 2005 by T. O’Reilly, a well-known author of software-related literature. Umeda introduced the term to Japan in his book  [9] . One may still wonder what kind of technology this is. Although Web2.0 obviously has something to do with the Google search engine, even O’Reilly’s article [10]  does not provide an explicit explanation of Web2.0 technology. Instead, he just lists, alongside common and well known technologies like “Napster,” “Wikipedia,” “blogs” and “web services,” such notions as “syndication” and “participation,” which may be regarded as a policy or an attitude.Like agile software development, which is an alliance of people sharing the same  shiso ,  Web2.0 is actually a group of information and communications technologies and services based on a common  shiso . That is, as agile software development is essentially a  shiso  symbolized by the Agile manifesto, Web2.0 may be expressed as nothing but the  shiso  of Web2.0. This means that an easy explanation of the essence of this  shiso  should not necessarily be sought in software-related literature. As far as I know, the closest idea to the essence of the Web 2.0  shiso  has been represented by T. Friedman, an American journalist, as the “flattening of the world,” which he says is a “new version” of globalization [11] . Web2.0 is this flattening phenomenon in the information technology sector, and is one of the most significant technical factors behind the overall global flattening.To put it simply, the  shiso  of Web2.0 may be considered as one that aims to transform a society into an aggregated intelligence acting like a huge cyborg, by connecting people’s individual intelligence (assumed as CPUs) through information and communications technology. Under this assumption, the performance of the resulting device is dependent on the performance of individual CPUs, or humans, and of the society to which these people belong. This suggests that improving the quality and accuracy of such “information devices” as Google and Wikipedia is not a matter of science and technology, as has been conventionally assumed, but a matter of social and educational policies. The quality of the  Wikipedia free encyclopedia varies depending on the language used. The quality of the Japanese language version is generally not as good as the English version. This can be attributed to a disparity in performance between the two language-speaking groups, or more specifically, the size of the Japanese-speaking population and the English-speaking population and the total quality of each group. This disparity in performance is highly likely to be reproduced on larger scales because Wikipedia, Google and similar technologies are now being widely adopted in education as a matter of course, and the Japanese have a low competence in the English language.It is also obvious that such a social scientific analysis of societies is indispensable for forecasting trends in, for example, the long tail phenomenon [9] , which is explained as a “structural change in commerce” as a result of applying the above devices to commerce. Because this kind of issue needs to be discussed in light of not only economic principles, but also from language and cultural perspectives (where the issue is pertinent to numerous countries) and the  values in the society. What is more noteworthy is that the  shiso s of Web2.0 and flattening are not isolated or exceptional examples. The primary element underlying them is the same as the one behind the open source movement in the software sector. That is, the  shiso  that is optimal for solving a problem concerning an entity that is too vast and too fast-changing for anyone to theoretically predict the future within a reasonable timeframe, is to use social collaboration. That is to say, the best approach is first disclosing as many constraints as possible, then sharing a provisional solution with others through a network of many independent people  who have a common goal and  shiso , and allowing them to refine the solution step by step through a succession of methodical modifications. Apply this  shiso  to knowledge searching, then
Related Search
Similar documents
View more...
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks