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Mary L. Gray: The invisible "ghost" workforce powering our day-to-day lives

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Incognito.

The technology powering many apps and services seems automatic. But anthropologist Mary L. Gray explains how there are millions of hidden workers behind the screen who are key to making it all work.

About Mary L. Gray

Mary L. Gray is a senior principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a faculty associate at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. She also holds a faculty position at Indiana University.

In 2020, she was named a MacArthur Fellow for her work in anthropology and study of technology and society.

She has written multiple books, including In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth and Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. In 2019, Mary co-wrote with computer scientist Siddharth Suri the book Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass.

In 2004, Gray earned her PhD in communication from the University of California at San Diego.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Katherine Sypher and edited by James Delahoussaye. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Katherine Sypher
Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
James Delahoussaye
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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