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Ben Zefeng Zhang

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI), co-advised by Dr. Oliver Haimson and Dr. Michaelanne Thomas. 


I use ethnographic methods to study the interplay among labor, identity, mobility, and infrastructure in transnational contexts informed by the fields of HCI (Human-computer interaction), ICTD (Information Communication Technologies & Development), and Science and Technology Studies (STS).

Currently, I am conducting multi-sited ethnographic research for my dissertation in China. It explores the sociotechnical, cultural, and economic dimensions of AI/data labor in the context of large-scale data infrastructures and ways to improve technology design and policy for digitally-mediated labor communities.  


Before graduate school, I worked for a few years as a journalist and photographer in Beijing, China. I enjoy cycling, swimming, running, scuba diving, and mountaineering. Please feel free to contact me directly.

Research areas:

  • Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing

  • Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

  • Information Communication Technologies & Development (ICTD)

  • Labor, Mobility, and Infrastructure

  • Data production and marketplace

  • ​Platform and data governance

Recent News:

Paper accepted for CSCW 202​4 

"'I'm Constantly in This Dilemma': How Migrant Technology Professionals Perceive Social Media Recommendation Algorithms,"  a paper I co-first-authored with Cassidy Pyle and co-authored with Oliver Haimson and Nazanin Andalib, has been accepted by CSCW 2024December 10, 2023

Weizenbaum Institute Fellowship 

I am extremely honored to be a Weizenbaum Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. I am excited to work with Dr. Milagros Miceli and Tianling Yang in the research group Data, Algorithmic Systems, and Ethics next Spring. September 20, 2023

Presenting at 4S

presented “The Promise and Precarity of Al4D: Precision Labor and Its Consequences,” a paper I co-authored with Tianling Yang, Oliver Haimson, and Michaelanne Thomas at the Annual Meeting for the Society of the Social Studies of Science (4S). November 8, 2023

View archived news items here.

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