In an early 2018 interview with Direct Talk for NHK WORLD TV, Dr. Ikegami elaborates on the diversity of intelligences she has come to appreciate while researching autistic and other communities in virtual worlds:
Film crews visited Eiko at the New School for Social Research, at home, and inside of Second Life, where she could give the clearest impression of her work with avatars and ‘second selves’ over the last 10 years.
Just as ecology shows us that diversity is crucial for the sustainability of life on our planet, diverse styles of intelligence can be seen to enrich societies. To comprehend and meet the challenges of our time, including those presented by sophisticated mixed-media and AI, Dr. Ikegami suggests we not neglect the many diverse expressions of intelligence right where we are.
Also seen in this video is Larry, the multi-talented avatar she met with NHK TV at his home in Wyoming, in 2016. Noting more ways to see intelligence than standardized tests offer, Eiko sees Larry as an especially vivid–but not too unusual–example of Autism Spectrum Disorder as a neurodiversity.
Dr. Ikegami’s personal worldview has been enlarged by her first-hand discovery of the unique richness of self-organizing community life evolving along with virtual and mixed media. In particular, adults on the autism spectrum who describe for themselves, their own autistic experiences and often quite different ways of perceiving, present a large open window into what is often assumed to be a closed-off world.