I'm Stephen Yang, researching
desirable futures with technologies
PhD Researcher @ USC Annenberg。NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Responsible AI。Sociotechnical Futures。Design and Innovation。Time and Temporality。Anticipatory Foresight
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Who's Stephen?
I'm Stephen Yang, a researcher of the temporal politics of technological innovation and media infrastructures.

Presently, I'm pursuing my PhD at the
Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, where I'm supported by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP).

My research works toward anticipatory foresight to guide the responsible innovation and governance of nascent technologies. I frequently hold research appointments outside of academia, including Microsoft Research (Social Media Collective), Center for Democracy & Technology (AI Governance Lab), and Partnership on AI.

I'm always open to new connections and opportunities. You can find me on X (formerly Twitter) or reach out to me at stepheny [at] usc [dot] edu.
Current research
I study the temporal politics of technological innovation and media infrastructures. My research examines the visions of speed, timescales, and futures that shape — and are shaped by — media and computing technologies. I scrutinize how disparate imaginaries of time and temporality reify the politics of our digital lives.

Specifically, I examine AI as a figure of accelerated futures. This brings me to different people in different places, from AI developers in Silicon Valley, chip workers in Taiwan, to cultural workers in Los Angeles. To this end, my research points to alternative imaginaries against the grand narrative of acceleration that the world is — and ought to be — speeding up with the advent of these technologies.

My research integrates theories and traditions from sociology, science and technology studies (STS), human-computer interaction (HCI), and media studies. Methodologically, I draw on genealogical, interpretive, and design-futuring approaches.
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In the past...
I hold a B.S. in Communication and Information Science from Cornell University, where I graduated as the Degree Marshal of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science, a Merrill Presidential Scholar, and a Rawlings Presidential Research Scholar.

Outside of academia, I have worked in journalism and advertising at organizations such as the Taipei Times and Wunderman Thompson.  
Recent Updates
    • June 2024 I presented a paper at the annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA)! As part of a panel on genAI and cultural production, I discussed news media's projected futures of generative AI amidst the 2023 Hollywood strikes.
    • Jan 2024 I just presented our EAAMO'23 paper on participatory approaches to AI design (co-authored with Fernando Delgado, Michael Madaio, and Qian Yang) for Data & Society's series on participatory methods series on AI design and accountability!
    • November 2022I just presented my project, "“Secrecy as Self-Making: Mobile Media Tactics in Underground Electronic/Dance Music Scenes," at the 23rd annual meeting of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) in Dublin!
    • September 2022I published an article that synthesizes the social, economic, and organizational logic of content creation on the Social Media Collective blog!
    • May 2022I started my internship at Microsoft Research New England this summer! I'm working with Nancy Baym, Mary Gray, and Tarleton Gillespie at the Social Media Collective.
    • May 2022 I graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University as the inaugural Degree Marshal for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science!
    Diversity and Inclusion
    I'm a queer person of color who was born and raised outside of the United States. As someone who have affiliations with elite institutions, I often sit in between marginality and privilege. To put my commitment to diversity and inclusion in practice, I actively seek ways to reduce barriers to success for those coming from marginalized backgrounds. This often translates to sharing tacit knowledge I acquired from prior experience and from my position of privilege.

    Are you a marginalized person contemplating a career in research or responsible AI? Send me an email with any questions you may have at stepheny[at] usc [dot] edu.