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1. Preface:Internet, Nerve Network of Society Japanese Page

Shigeki Goto, JPNIC Trustee

Sense of Social Unity over Networks

Just think about it: the uniqueness that is a human being. An individual human being is, biologically, nothing but a helpless and vulnerable living creature. But once such individuals come together to create a community, they can display power of great magnitude. It is of course these human beings as individuals that constitute our society. A variety of things are exchanged among them, including tangible materials. Energy exchange is also of importance, but the most notable is the exchange of information.

Men have exchanged information since time immemorial without the help of personal computers or the Internet. And yet, the recent advent of the Internet has brought about a major transformation of life for mankind. The reason is that it has the unlimited potential to expand the scale, and increase the speed, of information interchange in our society.

The 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal pointed out in one of his works that the life of an individual human being eventually comes to an end no matter how much knowledge he has acquired during his lifetime, but that mankind, if seen as one creature, remains immortal by constantly learning and advancing. The truth of Pascal's words may be felt by those who spend a considerable amount time on the Internet. We have now entered into an era where information is shared across all human societies.

Development of Division of Labor and Dependence on Others

At the time of the Industrial Revolution, Adam Smith advocated the concept of division of labor. His "Wealth of Nations" noted that productivity of pins improved by several thousand times when division of labor was introduced. In those times, the development of transportation technologies led to market expansion and the incidental elimination of local blacksmiths. Today, the modern revolution via information communication technology (ICT) is facilitating the division of information-related labor.

On the other hand, the division of labor means that one's life is largely dependent on others. No single company, for example, can exist isolated from other companies. For a human being, the relationships with others becomes all the more important. The Internet Age is not one of solitude, as one might think. On the contrary, a greater emphasis is put on relationships with friends and acquaintances. Development of division of labor in this area will further increase the value of unique information, and that of duplication is decreased. Here we must consider what rich information might be in a true sense.

Human beings (adults, in particular) transmit information largely via languages. Information by means of voice in multimedia information, as well as by written text, is simply a variety of language. Therefore, it is very likely that its distribution is hampered by language barriers at various points. So far, we have been comfortable with a lifestyle where Japanese served as the only communication language. There is no denying that Japanese is a highly sophisticated language, but it will not be easy to maintain our lives relying solely on one tongue in the future.

The Evolution of JPNIC

The Internet continues to progress, and the expectation and needs of communities regarding this network are also on the rise. For the growth of our network, we all know that quality computers and optical fiber networks are inevitable but that they are not almighty. It is only natural that such intangible resources as IP addresses and domain names come into focus here. Further to this, the introduction of Japanese domain names seems a matter of course language-wise for the reasons mentioned above.

Against such backdrop, as is also detailed in this Newsletter, the JPNIC organization is also welcoming a new era. The move toward the privatization of NICs is being seen happening around the world. Thus, it should be no surprise that JPNIC establishes a new company in order to provide better services. Even so, the Internet in Japan has a huge presence; naturally, the world is closely watching the development of JPNIC, its central working body.

The Internet evolves, so does JPNIC. I believe that this is a time in which this trend has become quite clear.

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