In Conversation With: Kerry Harrison, Co-Host of the Machine Unlearning Podcast & lover of AI


29th June 2021


Georgia Christley

Reading time

6 minutes

AI on phone. An A4 lightbox that reads 'podcast', a cup of coffee and a pair of headphones in a flat-lay format.

This week we have another fabulous Q&A in our ‘In Conversation With…’ series. 

In this series, we have been able to provide our readers with some great insights from industry leaders across many sectors and we are so pleased to be able to share with you our latest discussions with Kerry Harrison, Co-Host of the Machine Unlearning Podcast and lover of AI.

The Machine Unlearning Podcast questions assumptions in the tech world and celebrates those working with technology in unconventional ways. Kerry is an award-winning creative who uses emerging technology to create art, experiences and campaigns.

In our interview, Kerry Harrison talks to us about why she decided to set up a podcast, the internal processes involved and how they find suitable speakers for the channel along with how they measure the success of the podcast!

We can hardly wait any longer, let’s crack on with the interview! 

Why did you decide to set up a podcast?

In my first chat with Hannah [Marcus], my co-host, we were talking about our routes into AI. We both had a degree in English Literature and neither of us could code, yet here we were, working with AI in creative ways. 

During our discussion, we wondered if there were other women from an arts background working with emerging tech in unconventional ways. We also wondered if they had faced similar challenges to us on their journeys. 

We decided to start a podcast, so we could meet these people, hear their stories and introduce them to one another.

How did you come up with the podcast topic? Did you do a lot of research around the area?

The topic emerged from our own jobs and the fact we had so much in common. We were both from an arts background, both working in AI and both interested in working with tech in unconventional ways. 

Did you set yourselves objectives at the start of the project? 

Our main objective was to meet other people in the same space, so we could hear their stories and help others entering the sector.

We’re both conscious that women are underrepresented in our field, so we were keen to raise awareness of the roles available in the tech space – especially for those without an engineering qualification or background. 

How did you go about setting up – how did you find out the technical information you needed?

 I’d already run a podcast in my business, so I had an idea of how it all worked. We went for a free platform (Anchor), bought a mic and set up a website on SquareSpace. We’re pretty low-fi really. 

How do you find guests – or do they find you?

Occasionally we are approached, but generally, it’s someone we’ve discovered on our travels, or who Hannah has met on LinkedIn. She’s a brilliant networker.

How many podcasts do you listen to each month?

 I probably listen to one or two podcasts a week, usually when I’m running.

How do you measure its success? 

By our levels of excitement after a podcast recording. We do it for the joy of meeting brilliant, inspiring people. We are always learning from our guests. For me, that’s success. 

How much time do you spend on it each week or month? Is that more or less than you thought?

We fit it in around our work and don’t pressure ourselves with one per week. We try and put out one a month.

The editing takes a lot of time. Hopefully, we’ll be a dab hand at that soon and it’ll take less time. But the rest is what we expected. 

What did you wish you’d known before starting it and what’s the best thing you’ve learnt along the way?

As I’d done a podcast before, I knew what I was letting myself in for. I wish I’d known a bit more about the editing programmes before I started, as that was a steep learning curve for me. 

The best thing I’ve learnt is to remember why you set it up in the first place. And to do it on your own terms. For us, it could never be a weekly, regular thing, as we’re working around our day jobs and we don’t want the pressure. We set it up to hear women’s stories and to feel part of something bigger than ourselves. So, yes we might not have big listening figures, but we love it. And that’s enough. 

Tell us something interesting about yourself most people don’t know.

I meditate every day and have been known to hug trees on my morning run! 

When did you first become passionate about AI and technology?

I’ve always loved tech, but I’ve been immersed in the world of creative AI for nearly three years now. My love of AI actually started with a fear of the technology. I was terrified I’d be out of a job. But as I researched and explored, I understood both the risks and the opportunities. Yes, it’s absolutely vital that we understand the negative impact and dangers of AI, but I also feel we can use it to augment and inspire human creativity. And that’s very special. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career similar to yours?

Explore the area, connect with people, visit talks and events. Don’t worry if you can’t code or don’t have a computer science degree at the outset. There are lots of creative roles in tech too. And we need more diverse teams. You will belong. You just have to see how your skills can make an impact in the industry. And they will. 

Thank you so much Kerry for taking time out to speak with us!

If you have enjoyed reading this interview, why not read another Q&A in this series where we spoke to Ed Craig, Head of Content Labs, Haymarket Media Group .

If you are interested in taking part in our ‘In conversation with’ series, don’t hesitate to contact us here.