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 doctoral student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Broadly, his research concerns the contestation of values and expertise as emerging technologies transform cultural and knowledge production. He’s drawn to the gaps between the imaginaries, designs, and practices surrounding natural language technologies, computer vision, and generative AI. His work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Graduate Research Fellowship.

Yang’s primary research examines the on-the-ground practices of technologists and media professionals as they design and use generative AI for content creation. From writing assistants to smart design templates, he traces how the advent of such technologies reshapes the cultures of production and the cultural landscape they produce. Yang also ruminates on how stakeholders may participate in the shaping and reimagining of AI. To this end, he embraces participatory approaches to experiment with how we generate knowledge about technology, integrating social scientific methods from qualitative-interpretive traditions with design-futuring approaches.

Yang’s research has been presented at the annual conferences of the International Communication Association (ICA), the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), the American Sociological Association (ASA), the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), and the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS), among others.

Prior to joining Annenberg, Yang was a research intern at the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. He earned his BS in Communication and Information Science from Cornell University. Outside of academia, he has worked in journalism and advertising at organizations such as the Taipei Times and Wunderman Thompson. 

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