PhD student Stephen Yang

Stephen Yang

2023-2024 Cohort
Research and Practice Areas: 
Media Industries and Journalism
Science, Technology and Innovation

Stephen Yang is a research expert on responsible AI, tech innovation, and digital futures. As a doctoral student at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, he's supported by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. He also works as an expert consultant for Partnership on AI, a nonprofit committed to the responsible use of artificial intelligence.

Yang's research examines the speed, timescales, and futures of our digital lives. He studies how people envision, appropriate, and resist technologies that are set to accelerate our lives, and he traces how people articulate and contest different imaginaries of accelerated and decelerated futures. His current projects look at the shifting rhythms of cultural creation, the uncertainty of emerging technologies, and the timescales of future imaginaries. His research integrates theories and methods from Sociology, Science and Technology Studies (STS), and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

To bridge research and practice, Yang works toward anticipatory foresight to guide the responsible innovation and governance of nascent technologies like generative AI. Most recently, his research on participatory approaches to AI design has been adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the leading government agency tasked by the Biden-Harris Administration to develop AI governance frameworks.

Yang had held research appointments across academia, industry, and non-profits. Most recently, he contributed to policy research at the Center for Democracy & Technology as part of the AI Governance Lab. He has also worked at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England, where he synthesized emerging trends on creator culture and the future of work. He holds a B.S. in Communication and Information Science from Cornell University.

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