Brain Trust Member

Joi Ito.jpg

Joi Ito

Director, MIT Media Lab



Joichi “Joi” Ito is an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and scholar focusing on the ethics and governance of technology, tackling complex problems such as climate change and redesigning the systems that support scholarship and science. As director of the MIT Media Lab and a Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences, he supports researchers at the Media Lab to deploy design, science and technology such AI, blockchain and synthetic biology to transform society in substantial and positive ways.

Together with The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, Ito teaches Principles of Awareness, a class devoted to explaining the contribution that awareness and focus can bring to the creativity process.

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.

Ito is chairman of the board of PureTech Health and previously served as board chair and chief executive of Creative Commons. He serves 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. 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.


Ito also was an early investor in numerous companies, including Flickr, Last fm, littleBits, Optimus Ride, FormLabs, Kickstarter and Twitter.

In 2011, he received a 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 2017, he received the IRI Medal.

He earned a PhD from Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance in 2018 for his thesis, “The Practice of Change,” which is being edited into a book to be published by MIT Press. He serves as a distinguished researcher at the Keio Research Institute at SFC's Internet and Society Laboratory.

Ito is co-author with Jeff Howe of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016), and he writes a monthly column for WIRED magazine.