Popular IT-anthropologists: Observe families until they go to bed
Intel recently advertised four anthropologist openings and had more than 300 applicants, including top-notch researchers from the best schools according to Union Tribune San Diego. The newspaper portrays several IT-anthropologists, among others Anne Kirah who is heading a team of eight anthropologists at Microsoft:
She focused on immigrants and refugees in her anthropology graduate studies at the University of Oslo, Norway. Today, she takes notes on people's daily lives, from Japan to France and Australia, in her role as Microsoft's chief anthropologist. Data from the families she studies led the company to add several features to the Vista operating system, due out next year.
Much of the team's research is conducted without a link to a specific product:
The anthropologists will typically spend two days with people, or families, who have agreed to let them into their lives. Kirah will knock on the subject's door at the hour when they wake up and stay with them until they go to bed.
For anthropologists who wonder if they need to be a computer geek in order to work as an IT-anthropologists: When Anne Kirah was ansked if she was interested to work for Microsoft she "thought Microsoft made chips, and I didn't really know what a chip was."
INTEL-anthropologist Genevieve Bell compares academic and business life:
One of the biggest differences between her Intel research and university studies is that she doesn't have to spend a lot of time writing grant proposals, she said. And instead of teaching in a Stanford classroom, she's introducing social science to engineers in meeting rooms, she said. “I'm doing vibrant, rich, rewarding work that's intellectually exciting,” Bell said. “I'm giving a voice to people who otherwise wouldn't be in the conversation.”
Also a former suicide-prevention counselor (Kelly Chessen) were engaged by a computer company - that actually specializes in data-recovery:
While the counseling of computer-crash victims might sound humorous, a hard-drive meltdown can create despair on the same level as the suicide hotline, Chessen said. She has taken calls from people who have just been fired over lost data or who are facing the loss of years of work or the demise of an entire small business.
“We've had people talk about taking their lives if their data can't be restored,” Chessen said. “A lot of my job is really just listening to people, even when they're angry and yelling. I help give them hope.”
>> Microsoft and the Australian tribe - Interview with Anne Kirah (ABC Radio Australia)
(all links updated 3.1.17)