NTT DoCoMo has announced the establishment of the Mobile Society Research Institute. This new group will study the social impact of mobile phone use in our society.
DoCoMo, whose corporate philosophy is “creating a new communications culture,” is the first mobile phone company to have begun operations in Japan. Mobile phones have become widely used in over the ensuing decade, and their impact on society has been enormous. As a result, DoCoMo believes that it is now important to analyze the influence and impact of mobile phones on society from a number of different perspectives.
At the research institute, which will remain independent from its business, DoCoMo will aim to clarify both the positive and negative aspect of mobile phones. The aim is to focus on enhancing the upside, while minimizing the downside by taking necessary countermeasures.
At the research institute, various specialists from a variety of sectors will research and analyze both the present and future influence of mobile communications. Findings will be widely disclosed to the public through reports, publications or symposiums.
Specific themes of research are as follows:
1) Impact on society and culture
Research will focus on the cultural and social impact of mobile phones, both positive and negative. Recently emerging social issues that will be studied include mobile phone usage etiquette, and the increasing popularity of a “mail culture” that features the wide usage of emoticons.
2) Legal systems
As mobile phones become more useful, crimes such as spam mail and “digital shoplifting” (stealing published information by using a phone’s digital camera) are continuing to increase. The institute will study countermeasures, including the consolidation of a legal system with which to address mobile phone-oriented crimes.
3) Impact on industry
The institute will study the industrial impact from the dissemination of mobile phones on a variety of sectors.
4) Mobile phone as a social infrastructure
Mobile phones will also be studied as a type of social infrastructure by taking social psychology into account. This will include their role as indispensable tools for information distribution during times of natural disasters.
Takemochi Ishii, Professor Emeritus of The University of Tokyo and Chairman/CEO of the Tokio Marine Research Institute, will lead the institution as managing director.
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