Recent Events

  • AI Imaginaries in China

    Talk on "Man-Made Intelligence: AI Imaginaries in China" in Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

  • Harvard Horizons
  • WGS2019

    World Government Summit 2019 at Dubai

    Together with colleagues in The Future Society, we organized the first AI Global Governance Roudtable

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    Revisiting Begging Grandmas of Xi'an

    Grandma Le (middle) and her friends in summer 2018. She was featured in our documentary "The End of Bitterness"

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    Conducting fieldwork in Didi Headquarter Beijing 2017-2018

    My dissertation features Didi managers, depicting their local moral world and ethical values


I am currently an assistant professor of Digital Innovation and Business Transformation in Aarhus University, Denmark. Before that, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC Marshall Business School. 

I am an ethnographer of technology and innovation. Employing a combination of ethnographic, textual, and visual methods, I have studied varied groups of actors from taxi drivers in Hangzhou, to beggars in Northwestern China, to slum dwellers in Shanghai, to AI policymakers at global conferences. Through these projects, I seek to understand how individuals make sense of economic and technological changes in contemporary societies, and how they navigate a shifting landscape of precarity and opportunities. I recently authored “Taxi Shanghai: Entrepreneurship and Semi-Colonial Context” (Business History, 2021), “Platforms as if People Mattered” (Economic Anthropology, 2019) and “Uber in China” (Harvard Business Case Study, 2016&2017).  

I recently completed my Ph.D. of social anthropology at Harvard University, with a secondary field in Science, Technology and Society (2020). My dissertation “Moralizing Disruption: China’s Ride-Hailing Revolution” explores the emergence, contestation, and moralization of ride-hailing platforms in contemporary China. During 20- months of ethnographic fieldwork spanning six years, I immersed myself in communities of computer engineers, corporate managers, on-demand drivers, hackers, and labor contractors, exploring how different groups of actors participate in and make sense of the changes brought on by ride-hailing platforms. Through this multi-sited ethnography, I found that disruptive innovation is more than a business model— it is a socio-technological process that shapes, and is shaped by, different communities of actors with distinct moral views. For instance, the corporate managers of Uber China advocated for Silicon-Valley-style disruption, a process mainly driven by smarter technologies and capital-backed expansion. In contrast, the employees of Didi, China’s domestic ride-hailing giant, viewed disruption as revolution; they mobilized taxi drivers and local government officials to participate in the building of a more human-dependent infrastructure. These differences, I argue, are not simply a matter of divergent business strategies. They are a reflection of the deeper moral systems that structure technological innovation and social change. 

Watch my speech at 2019 Harvard Horizons Synposium: