Understanding the unfathomable nature of human society and moving toward becoming scientists with depth

Shuichi Sakai / Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo

What are "technologies that allow human beings to live safely?" Thinking of overall designs that include the social system is precisely what will allow us to protect the safety of our IT society and provide resilience in today's day and age. Intellectuals possessing fundamental knowledge and skills as well as depth as human beings will create our future society.

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Shuichi Sakai

Q: What were the origins or circumstances that motivated you to participate in computer science research for so long and what are your dreams for the future?

Sakai: I have researched the rapidly changing field of computer systems and applications. I started my research during the 1980s, and at the time I enjoyed making new things that were never seen before, which moved quickly and pleasantly. In the 1990s, computers and the Internet became the norm in society. Since the transition to information technology occurred very quickly and caused many problems as it proceeded, it inevitably led to some societal instability. In the midst of all this, I started to think: where is human beings’ true happiness? One could say that computers and the Internet originally began as being quite unreliable. My idea gradually changed into what one can do to create a safe society based on these unsafe technologies. Now I think that I would like to create my own field of scholarship that incorporates ethics and provide enhanced feelings of the happiness of our age.


Q: What type of approach would this field take?

Sakai:  The foundation for this would certainly be system engineering. For example, if the national identification number system is created, it will want to make technical use of personal information. However, at the same time, it will become essential to protect personal information, so to implement both of these things, I think we will use passwords and verification. At that time, I will work together with lawyers and people in the social management field to consider how we can fully design something to include personal information protection laws and the national identification number act, which will also be supported by technology 10 years later. We will also consider how to combine IT and enterprise architecture so they function well. I think that my role is giving feedback and creating the idea of how technology should be.