I'm Stephen Yang, researching
desirable futures with technologies
Responsible AI。Tech Innovation。Digital Futures。 Ph.D Researcher at the University of Southern California
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Who's Stephen?
I'm Stephen Yang,  a research expert on tech innovation and digital futures. Presently, I'm a PhD student 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 (GRFP). I also work as an expert consultant for Partnership on AI, a nonprofit committed to the responsible use of artificial intelligence.

As a future-oriented researcher of media and computing technologies, I work toward anticipatory foresight to guide the responsible innovation and governance of nascent technologies like generative AI.

Here, you can learn more about my research projects, look up my publications, or read about my reflections on my professional experiences.

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. You can also book a meeting with me through Calendly.
Current research
My research examines the speed, rhythms, and futures of our digital lives. I study how people envision, design, appropriate (and reject) media and computing technologies that are set to accelerate our lives, and I trace how people articulate and contest different imaginaries of accelerated futures.

My current projects look at the accelerated tempos of cultural creation, the shifting rhythms of cultural intermediation, the uncertainty of still-emerging technologies, and the timescales of future imaginaries.

My research integrates theories and methods from Sociology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). I primary draw on humanistic, qualitative-interpretive, and design-futuring approaches.
Download my CV
In the past...
Most recently, I was a research intern at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England, where I studied the social, economic, and organizational logic of content creation with Nancy Baym. You can read about our research here.

In May 2022, I graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University, with a B.S. in Communication and Information Science. 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
    Forthcoming
    • Summer' 24 -  This summer, I will intern at the Center for Democracy & Technology, where I will conduct policy research as part of the AI Governance Lab! As I spend my summer in Washington, D.C., I will also participate in the Consortium on Media Policy Studies (COMPASS).
    • ICA' 24 -  I will be presenting two papers at annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) this year! One on news media's projected futures of generative AI amidst the 2023 Hollywood strikes (as part of a panel on genAI and cultural production), another one the infrastural integration of a mobile-centric, AI-infused workflow for TikTok creation. See you in Gold Coast!
    2024
    • Jan 25, 2023 -  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!
    2023
    2022
    • November 4, 2022 -  I 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 23, 2022 -  I published an article that synthesizes the social, economic, and organizational logic of content creation on the Social Media Collective blog!
    • May 31, 2022 -  I 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 28, 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.