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Anthropology and Innovation in the Technology Industry

Delta Innovation Hub (210 Spring Street) Main Presentation Area (Room 100)

Guest speaker, Dr. John Sherry, will be presenting Anthropology and Innovation in the Technology Industry on Monday, April 10th, at 3:00 pm at the Innovation District Presentation Room (100). This will be followed immediately after by a meet and greet with snacks provided.

Dr. John Sherry holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona. He was the first anthropologist hired at Microsoft, and a few years later, at Intel, where he has spent the bulk of his career. At Intel, Dr. Sherry has participated in research and managed teams that have focused on a wide range of issues relating to the use of computing technology, including global development, health, aging, software development, education, startups, and most recently, artificial intelligence and machine learning. He lives in Portland, Oregon. 

Abstract: Over the last three decades, anthropology has established itself as a vital tool for informing the creation of new products and technologies. Ethnographic methods - the hallmark of anthropological research - are now widely used among many large and successful firms. This presentation will examine why anthropology has become so important to industry in three short stories: first, how ethnographic insights still matter, even to firms whose fortunes are built around online analytics; second, how ethnographic research can inform not just product design, but business strategy; third, how anthropological theory and understanding can inform current debates about the role of artificial intelligence and other new technologies in our society.  


For undergraduate and graduate students: There will also be an informal lunch gathering (food provided) with Dr. Sherry held at Baldwin Hall at 12:30 pm on April 10th. Please click this survey link to RSVP. (Please note: the RSVP is for the lunch only and is not required to attend the lecture at 3:00 pm).  Questions may be directed to



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