EventApril 18 2024

Generative AI’s Labor Impacts

Part Three: Adaptation

Livia Garofalo
Jeff Freitas
Quinten Steenhuis
Aiha Nguyen

“We see how algorithmic systems are part of how people are receiving and delivering care. [Therapists, teachers, and lawyers] are facing similar challenges…the devaluation and adaptation of expertise and professional skill.”

– Livia Garofalo

The relationship workers have with technology is more dynamic, contested, and layered than predominant narratives suggest. Casting workers as replaceable, for example, obscures the active and complex ways that workers are responding to generative AI. While many build new skills and use these tools and systems to their advantage, others sabotage, counteract, and otherwise circumvent them. In this online discussion — the conclusion of our three-part series — Livia Garofalo, Jeff Freitas, and Quinten Steenhuis joined Data & Society host Aiha Nguyen for a conversation about the ways workers are reshaping their relationship with generative AI tools and with work itself.



Livia Garofalo | Twitter (X): @livgar_

Livia Garofalo is a cultural and medical anthropologist and a researcher on the Trustworthy Infrastructures team at Data & Society. She is interested in understanding how people experience and treat conditions of illness and distress inside and outside clinical settings. Her recent projects have examined the delivery of critical care, the intersection of labor, technology, and health, and ideas of subjectivity and mental health. She has done research in the US, Europe, and Latin America.

Garofalo has a PhD in anthropology and a masters degree in public health from Northwestern University. Her doctoral research on inequality, trauma, and economic crisis in intensive care units in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been funded by the US Fulbright Program, the National Science Foundation, and the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. She also holds a BA and MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Bologna, Italy.


Jeff Freitas | Twitter (X): @jeff_freitas

Jeffery M. Freitas was elected president of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) in March 2019, after serving as CFT secretary treasurer for eight years. A credentialed secondary math teacher, Freitas has advocated on behalf of members and the education community for more than two decades as president of the Carpinteria Association of United School Employees, AFT Local 2216, and as a field representative and lobbyist for the CFT. In his role as CFT president, Freitas serves as a vice president of the AFT and the California Labor Federation, a member of the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education, and a board member of Equality California.

Quinten Steenhuis | Twitter (X): @QSteenhuis

Quinten Steenhuis is the co-director of the Suffolk University Law School’s Legal Innovation and Technology Lab and founder and CEO of Lemma Legal Consulting. He spent 12 years as a housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. Steenhuis’s work focuses on closing the access to justice gap with technology, especially interactive tools that help people who cannot afford an attorney. His signature projects include MADE, the Massachusetts Defense for Eviction tool, and Court Forms Online, an international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Steenhuis was named a “legal rebel” by the ABA Journal. His work automating legal help has been highlighted in national media, including The New York Times and Boston Globe, and in 2022 he was recognized in a joint press release by the White House and the Department of Justice. He was a winner of the Access to Justice prize from the American Legal Technology Awards and an honoree of the “FastCase 50” in 2023.




Who is doing well in thinking about how to protect workers and on the use of generative AI within their industries?

c/o of Quinten Steenhuis

c/o of Livia Garofalo

c/o of Jeff Freitas


Curation: Aiha Nguyen

Production: Tunika Onnekikami

Co-Production: CJ Brody Landow

Web Support: Alessa Erawan

Design: Gloria Mendoza

Editorial: Eryn Loeb

Additional support provided by Alexandra Mateescu, Tamara K. Nopper, and Data & Society’s Raw Materials Seminar, Engagement and Accounting teams.