Mary L. Gray: Senior Principle Researcher at Microsoft Research: The role of a knowledge translator through anthropological perspectives






Mary L. Gray is a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research as well as an E.J. Safra Center for Ethics Fellow and Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society Faculty Affiliate at Harvard University. Mary also maintains a faculty position in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering with affiliations in Anthropology and Gender Studies at Indiana University.

Prior to that, Mary obtained her B.A. in Anthropology and Native American studies at University of California, Davis, a M.A. in Anthropology from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. in communications at University of California, San Diego. She also serves on the Executive Board of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R) and is a past board member of the American Anthropological Association.

Her single-authored work takes up interests in how we do ethnographically-informed media research and the implications of media in the lives of those who have limited access to it or contribute to information and data economies in ways that often go unnoticed. More recently, Mary has also turned her attention to the emerging field of AI and ethics, focusing on research methods that bring computer and social sciences together

We are delighted to be talking to Mary today! Her impressive career path at the intersection of business and academia shows that it is possible to develop both as a scholar and a practitioner of anthropology. We ask Mary to go back in time to when she discovered her anthropological side and share how it manifested itself She speaks to the key role curiosity has played and continues to play in her life and career. We ask her several questions. How much freedom to contest, reflect and choose does a researcher have when working in the Microsoft Research team? What does it take for a company to create knowledge and when should that knowledge be public or private? At the end Mary reflects on her own positionality and means to continuously re-center and the special place that scholarly communities have in this process.

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Mentioned in podcast:
Mary L. Gray, Siddharth Suri, Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass, 2019 ( )

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