Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week it’s all about exchange and overview - from Pakistan to Japan to Iowa to the world - we’ve got students from the Middle East visiting Japan to learn about tech, educators from Japan visiting Iowa to learn about STEM (no, really), and a global survey of Millennials’ perceived levels of innovativeness!
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – February 7, 2014 ::
• College Kids from Pakistan Get One-Week Tour of Japan
Selected by their respective universities in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, 12 university students are scheduled to visit Japan to learn about technology, creative industries, and culture. This is pretty awesome on a number of levels. Pakistan does have some advanced technologies (nuclear weapons are pretty advanced), but the nation does not have a great distribution thereof. Japan, on the other hand, has one of the most comprehensively advanced societies on earth. Sure, a 80 year-old grandma might still like cassette tapes and her fax machine, but she can also rocket across the nation in a bullet train at a moment’s notice and, in all likelihood, is among an aging population block most likely to be first in line for awesome robotic exoskeletal force amplification suits - clearly young people from Pakistan stand to benefit from learning about Japan’s nationwide tech networks and stuff. The entertainment and cultural part… well, that’s where it might get a bit uncomfortable. There seems a pretty glaring incongruence between citizens of an Islamic state and things like AKB48, miniskirts, hotpants, and obese, ultra-popular transvestites hawking Mister Donut and showing up on every other TV show. Good luck guys.
[EXCHANGE PROGRAM FOR A WEEK IN JAPAN - EXPRESS TRIBUNE/NYT]
• Japanese Educators Learning about STEM Education in Iowa. No, Not a Typo.
The thing that so many non-Americans don’t get about America is that the freedom to do whatever you want is also the freedom to do not a damn thing. Those doing not a damn thing often scream the loudest and get the most attention (skewing international perceptions of the nation as a whole), and those who do awesome stuff only get attention if they’re famous - but, awesome stuff they are doing! That’s basically why a delegation from Japan, where average science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) test scores are always way higher than those of the U.S., are visiting a standout STEM program based at the University of Iowa. What that means is, even though Japan’s average STEM scores are consistently among the world's top 10 (though Japan does have its own gender-based STEM problems), they’re still trying to improve. Hey America, see how that works? Let’s maybe take some of that unjustified confidence and spend it on going to Japan to learn how to get those averages up, huh?
[JAPANESE EDUCATORS LEARN ABOUT STEM EDUCATION IN IOWA - CBS2 IOWA]
• Millenials Want to Work for Innovative Companies, and in Other News, They Also Like Food and Money.
The so-called 'Millennials' are the humans currently anywhere from about 14-ish to about 33-ish years old. Something like that. In this survey, conducted by the Foundation for Scientific Validation of Common Sense and the Glaringly Obvious (oh, would it were), it’s been discovered that a majority of Millennials around the world would like to to work for innovative companies working toward positive social change. Shocking. Among that majority, when asked if they considered themselves innovative on an individual level, to quote:
“In India, Thailand, South Africa, Brazil, and the U.S, over 70% of respondents identify themselves as being innovative individuals. Just 24% of Japanese respondents think this, probably because of the country's strong group-oriented culture.”
Hmmm. Hmmmm… The JTFF has about a million opinions on Japan’s outlier status there. But this time, let’s have the JTFF just shut up - and we’ll toss this one out there: what do you think? Why don’t young Japanese people think they’re innovative? Is it to massage the hive mind and avoid standing out? Is it just like, you know, accurate? Opinions requested below. Respondents will receive cookies.
Addendum: An Honest Note on Why Millennials are the Best Generation Ever:
Framed in the context of Western civilization, but applicable to all of humanity, the thing about Millennials is, because they’re coming of age in the time of ubiquitous communications and all their stupid behavior is so easily broadcastable, people tend to think that they, by and large, are the crappiest generation. In truth, they're less crappy than their predecessors, Generation X, who, as evidenced by the existence of hippies and disco, are WAAAAY less crappy than their predecessors, the Baby Boomers, who were way less crappy than the so-called “Greatest Generation,” who, because they fought great wars and died by the millions, are often left beyond reproach - but the truth is, in quite a few ways, the GG as people were way crappier than the generation who brought about Woodstock and the Bee Gees because of how fantastically bigoted and ignorant and proficient at racism and segregation and homophobia and environmental destruction and pollution they were. And those before them, yep - even crappier, and on and on. And on. Point being, on a global scale, while we can easily see a lot more of the stupid (and be stupid ourselves by commenting on it), by all statistical measures, there’s actually way less stupid in the world. Things are far better than they've every been in the history of our species. Except for pop music. Science has actually proved that contemporary pop music sucks beyond belief. Here, read about it. It’s science, yo.
Oh, and give it 20 years or so, and the Millenials will be crappy, too. That's how it works.
[MILLENNIALS WANT COOL JOBS SHOCKING AIN’T IT - FAST COMPANY]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.