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Meet the Labbers: Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill

In our ongoing audio series, Meet the Labbers, we hear people from all roles across the Media Lab talk about what they do and why they do it.

Today, meet Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill.  

"My name is Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill, and I work as a complex web systems administrator. I split my time between working for the Lifelong Kindergarten group and NeCSys. I had known about the Media Lab for the last 30 years that it’s been in existence because it’s been legendary. And what really attracted me to the Media Lab was that there’s this focus on engaging with the world around us, not just trying to push technology for technology’s sake but actually trying to incorporate it into our lives in a way that’s positive and can actually help kind of move society forward in hopefully positive ways.

In Lifelong Kindergarten, we help run the Scratch.mit.edu website. Most of it is completely open source. And, one of the things that really attracted me about Scratch itself is, if you go to the website, you can immediately see the code behind the actual projects that people are creating within Scratch, and you can remix it. It’s taking what has normally been very ethereal and hard to understand or hard to kind of, you know, put your hands around or your mind around, and presenting it as directly as possible—to be able to go to that project and say I want to add to that, I want to modify it; more importantly, I want to use that to accomplish something different. 

There’s this focus on engaging with the world around us, not just trying to push technology for technology’s sake.

I just feel like that is an incredibly important part of what our society is learning about itself: the ability to take not just physical mechanical things and working with them, but also the ideas behind things—working with them and sharing them and understanding that it’s okay to share those ideas, and that we’re all better for taking the ideas and extending them. That’s also something that was really appealing to me, joining the Lab.”    

UPDATE:  Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill's Media Lab position changed after he recorded this interview. He recently became the senior backend engineer in the Lifelong Kindergarten research group. 

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