The Ghost in the Machine is Not Who You Think: Human Labor and the Paradox of Automation with Mary L Gray


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Mary Gray is an anthropologist whose work explores how technology informs work, a sense of identity, and human rights. Gray applies these concepts as the Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and as the Faculty Associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Additionally she remains in a faculty position at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Gray has also authored books such as In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth and Out In the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America but her most recent book, coauthored with Siddharth Suri Ghostwork: How to Stop Silicon Valleyfrom Building a New Global Underclass focuses on how task based work is being utilized by bigger businesses and how this represents a change in the way we conceptualize work.

In this episode we focus on:

  • What is Ghost Work?
  • The gap between what a person can do and what a computer can do
  • Algorithmic cruelty
  • The future of work and what that means for contract labor
  • Tech not as devices, but as conduits for social connection
  • How to bring empathy into the workplace

Where to Find Mary Gray:




Music: Epidemic Sounds

  • Dylan Sitts - Ice Cold Beverage
  • 91 Nova - Lushwork
  • Blue Steel - Up Here

Episode Art: Adam Gamwell

Photograph in Episode Art: Adrianne Mathiowetz

Episode Production: Elizabeth Smyth, Sarah McDonough, Adam Gamwell

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144 episodes