This book is the result of the research into shikakeology that I have been conducting for the past fifteen years. It has been written to appearl to a wide readership. It would be a true pleasure if this book could make others excited about the future that the use of shikake will make possible.
In the book's introduction, I discussed the impetus for beginning to work on shikakeology, but I should also mention that the risks for a researcher involved in starting up a new area of research are quite significant. The most unfortunate aspect is that no academic societies devoted to shikakeology yet exist. A lack of academic societies means that there are no opportunities to present the results of my research. Also, as there are few colleagues involved in the same research, I must make advancements in the field almost by myself. This requires considerable resolve and continued optimism.
Broadly speaking, the value of a researcher can be divided into their academic and social contributions. However, without academic conferences devoted to my field, academic contributions to shikakeology cannot be expected. My only option has been to present at conferences for affiliated fields. This is like always being the away team and is often uncomfortable.
I have been able to sponsor an annual organized session on shikakeology at the national conference of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence, said to be the most liberal Japanese academic society. I am fortunate to have met colleagues through these events. In addition, motivated by the belief that it is best to provide social contributions if academic contributions are not possible, I have been working to expand shikakeology by holding events that target the general populace, such as workshops, hackathons, and contests.
I chose the term "shikakeology" because of my desire to select a name that is familiar to the general public (in Japan, at least). Many people may react to seeing a term that ends with "-ology" by keeping a respectful distance and gradually losing interest. However, I have found that many others already seem to understand and be interested in shikakeology. As a result, further research and breakthroughs are necessary. The field will never expand merely because people show some interest after hearing a fun-sounding word.
Therefore, I have wanted to publish a book on shikakeology aimed at a general audience for some time now. The field has indeed attracted many different groups and individuals, from ordinary people to business leaders, but unfortunately there has been nothing to give to these people in terms of literature aside from academic articles (written by me). Through this book, I hope to create more opportunities for people to become familiar with this field and put shikakeology to practical use.