Genevieve Bell

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Genevieve Bell
Genevieve Bell by Tegan Osborne (ABC RN).jpg
Genevieve Bell in 2017
Alma materBryn Mawr College
Stanford University

Genevieve Bell is an Australian anthropologist best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. Professor Bell is the Director of the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute which was co-founded by the Australian National University (ANU) and CSIRO ’s Data61.[1][2] Bell was named the university's inaugural Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, in honour of Australia's first female electrical engineer.[3] Bell is a Senior Fellow at Intel, where she was formerly a Vice President directing the company's Corporate Sensing & Insights group. She is widely published, and holds 13 patents.

Early life[edit]

Daughter of renowned Australian anthropologist, Diane Bell, Genevieve Bell was born in Sydney and raised in a range of Australian communities, including Melbourne, Canberra, and in several Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory.[4][5] Bell attended university in the United States, where she graduated from Bryn Mawr College[4] in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology. Bell went on to attend Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, for graduate studies.[4][5] In 1993, she earned her master's degree from Stanford, followed by a Doctorate in 1998, both in Anthropology.[4] Her doctoral research focused on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School which operated in rural Pennsylvania in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


From 1996-1998, Bell taught anthropology and Native American Studies at Stanford University, in both the Department of Anthropology and Department of Anthropological Sciences, as well as in the Continuing Studies program.

She was recruited from her faculty position by Intel Corporation in 1998 to help build out their nascent social-science research competency in the advanced research and development labs.[6][7] She was based at one of the company's campuses in Hillsboro, Oregon, where she worked as a cultural anthropologist studying how different cultures around the globe used technology.[6][7][8] She and her colleagues helped re-orient Intel to a more market-inspired and experience-driven approach and she is widely credited with establishing User Experience as a recognized competency at Intel.[9]

She started Intel’s first User Experience Group in 2005, as part of Intel’s Digital Home Group. The company named her an Intel Fellow, their highest technical rank, in November 2008 for her work in the Digital Home Group.[10] She rejoined the advanced research and development labs in 2010, when Intel made her the director of their newly forming User Experience Research group.[6] This group was Intel’s first fully integrated user experience research and development group; they worked on questions of big data, smart transportation, next generation image technology and ideas about fear and wonder.[9] After steering that group to a range of successes inside and outside the company, she was made a Vice President in 2014 and Senior Fellow in 2016.

Bell’s impact has been recognized repeatedly outside Intel. In 2010, she was named one of the top 25 women in technology to watch by AlwaysOn and as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.[5][11] In 2012, Bell was inducted to the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame.[12] and in 2013, she was named Anita Borg’s Women of Vision in Leadership. In 2014, she was included in Elle Magazine’s first list of influential women in technology[13] and also included in a new exhibit at London’s Design Museum profiling 25 women from around the world.[14]

Her first book, Divining a Digital Future: Mess and Mythology in Ubiquitous Computing, written in collaboration with Paul Dourish, is an exploration of the social and cultural aspects of ubiquitous computing, with a particular focus on the disciplinary and methodological issues that have shaped the ubiquitous computing research agenda. The book was published by MIT Press in 2011.[15]

Bell was also a Thinker in Residence for South Australia from 2008-2010.[16] She had a visiting appointment to help guide government policy surrounding new national broadband initiative. Bell conducted ethnographic research and developed new innovative research methods to identify barriers to adoption and drivers around broadband uptake. Her final report, “Getting Connected, staying connected: exploring the role of new technology in Australian society” is available online.

After 18 years as the resident anthropologist at Intel in the US, Bell returned to Australia in 2017 as the first of five appointments under the Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt's Entrepreneurial Fellows scheme and appointed as the university's inaugural Florence Violet McKenzie Chair.[1] She is a Professor at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science, where she is focusing on "exploring how to bring together data science, design thinking and ethnography to drive new approaches in engineering; and ... exploring the questions of what it means to be human in a data-driven economy and world".[2]

In 2017, the ANU announced a major 10-year plan to drive the expansion of its program in engineering and computer science. The expansion in part was to be led by Bell as the Director of the newly founded Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute, to be known as the 3A Institute, co-founded by Australian National University and CSIRO ’s Data61, Australia’s largest data innovation network.[17] The 3A Institute will bring together the best researchers from around the world and a range of disciplines to tackle complex problems around artificial intelligence, data and technology and managing their impact on humanity.[3]

In October 2017, Bell presented the ABC's 2017 Boyer Lectures, interrogating what it means to be human, and Australian, in a digital world. Each year since 1959, the ABC Boyer Lectures have encouraged national discussion about critical ideas.


  1. ^ a b "Answering the profound questions raised by AI". Financial Review. 2017-09-04. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  2. ^ a b "Leading technologist joins ANU, CSIRO's Data61 collaboration". The Australian National University. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "ANU announces major expansion to drive societal response to the artificial intelligence revolution". ANU. 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  4. ^ a b c d "Genevieve Bell". Intel Fellow. Intel. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b c McGirt, Ellen. "45 Genevieve Bell". 100 Most Creative People in Business. Fast Company. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Rogoway, Mike (June 30, 2010). "Intel makes anthropologist Genevieve Bell head of new research group". The Oregonian. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  7. ^ a b Barnett, Megan (June 12, 2005). "Keeping An Eye On You". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21.
  8. ^ Hoevel, Ann (July 13, 2010). "Geeks: Smart, harmless, authentic, exploited?". CNN. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  9. ^ a b Singer, Natasha (Feb 15, 2014). "Intel's Sharp Eyed Social Scientist". New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  10. ^ Rogoway, Mike (November 10, 2008). "Intel honors Oregon researchers". The Oregonian. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  11. ^ Perkins, Tony (July 29, 2010). "The 2010 Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch". AlwaysOn. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  12. ^ "WITI Announces 2012 Hall of Fame Award Honorees: Dr. Genevieve Bell; Dr. Jane Lubchenco; Dr. Joanne Martin; Ms. Gwynne Shotwell". May 15, 2012.
  13. ^ "Genevieve Bell, Vice President User Experience Research, Intel Corporation". Elle Magazine. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  14. ^ "Women, Fashion & Power". Design Museum. October 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  15. ^ MIT Press page for "Divining a Digital Future."
  16. ^ "Adelaide Thinkers In Residence - Genevieve Bell". Archived from the original on 2013-11-13. Retrieved 17 Dec 2013.
  17. ^ Baker, Emily (2017-09-04). "ANU to drive 'artificial intelligence revolution'". Canberra Times. Retrieved 2017-10-17.

External links[edit]