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Intel anthropologist maps techno-enthusiasm

12 June, 2008

Wired magazine has a recent story about Dawn Nafus, a Cambridge PhD in anthropology working for Intel: Intel Anthropologists Find Keys to Tech Adoption. The map of which countries are rapid adopters is great; there’s some interesting surprises. For example, Nafus found that Estonia and South Korea were early adopters of technology in relation to income:

…her team found that they both have agile governments, strong offline social networks, and major upheavals in living memory (the transition out of Communism and the Korean War). That raised the counterintuitive question: could turmoil actually be good for preparing people for disruptive technologies?

I won’t review the whole article, but there’s some great examples of anthropological research producing counter-intuitive results. For example, ‘One other surprise in the Intel data: foreign direct investment, or how much money foreign firms pour into a country’s economy, can actually constrain how fast technology is adopted.’ Worth checking out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 June, 2008 11:07 pm

    I heard her on NPR the other day too where she talked about gender and technology. It was nice to hear a real anthropologist on the radio for a change. She certainly had some interesting finds.

  2. Sophie Goodman permalink
    16 July, 2008 3:02 pm

    I’ve just been to Estonia and the technology there is amazing. There was also such energy from people when they were speaking about their country and their new found independence. A uni student I spoke to there said they were ‘making their history every day at the moment’. I think that attitude brings such freedom in thinking and openness to explore options.

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