Genevieve said - although she was fibbing a bit - that she wasn't going to have any graphs in her presentation, but one did pop up probably around Powerpoint Slide 10. Another very big table which she called a graph popped up in Powerpoint Slide 14.
She said: "I am not a technologist, I am a cultural anthropologist". She flashed a picture of herself when she was 10 and said I am the one in the middle with the skinny white legs. She said: "I know the difference between a snake hole and a lizard hole and which one not to put my hands down to get dinner".
The small and crazy maverick team of 10, in her own words, includes people specialising in different disciplines.
She said: "One of my colleagues has a background in performance art. We're not necessarily the people who tell you about big boxes with big blue buttons. My job is to go hang out in foreign countries and go find out what makes people tick. Sometimes the best way of doing that is seeing what people do in their daily lives".
She continued. "Part of our job is to find out what people are really doing with technology. Part of the challenge is getting at what's important in China, in India. My job is to spend time outside the United States and find out what makes people tick". She said that the easy part is doing the data collection. The harder thing to do is to find out what to do with that information.
Americans are trained to think the individual is important but that's not true in other cultures, she said. The individual is not the small unit of social importance everywhere. It may be that a whole village uses one computer and that mobile phones are shared.
She said that one of the big challenges is what to do with all of the material that's collected. In some cultures religion is part of a way of life, and so Intel's RD labs think of viewing that as a starting point for future designs.
The digital home will differ according to culture.
She said that Intel is not the only company that has anthropologists. There are people like her at Kodak, Microsoft and Hallmark.
Cultural anthropologists have a code of ethics which means that the individual identity of people that are studied are not revealed to others, much as journalists protect their sources. That includes data both inside and outside Intel.
Sounds like a fab job to us. We once visited Intel's fab in Albuquerque, and it seemed to us that this micro culture was well worth studying, with technicians striking up relationships with each other and even falling in love while inside bunny suits.
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