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Intel’s Cultural Anthropologist

By Pam Nochlin

Genevieve Bell, a cultural anthropologist at Intel Labs studies how consumers interact with electronics and develops new technology experiences for them.

  • You have to understand people to build the next generation of technology

  • The company looks to consumer happiness as a starting point of product development

  • We keep talking about how technology is destroying social activity. It was reassuring that, when you give people technology that reinforces “presentness,” they embrace it

  • It takes a very different skill set, to identify emerging signals and what is going to matter to the end user

  • A pattern, which has repeated itself over the centuries, is society’s initial embrace of a new invention, often followed by “moral panic” and then eventually, by widespread adoption. That was the trajectory of home electrification and of passenger cars. Even the 1950s introduction of the Princess rotary phone, marketed to teenage girls for use in their bedrooms, prompted concerns

  • Ten years from now, do we think people will still want to talk to each other? Yes. Will they still want to share cat pictures? Yes. Will they still want to tell bad jokes? Yes. Will people want a camera on their person? Probably.

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