I’ve broken down my work by various themes, as my interests have evolved quite a bit over the course of my academic career.

Political Economy of Tech

My current research explores the privatization of digitally-supported infrastructure and its implications on inequalities of access and distribution. I am wrapping up a project on Uber in Los Angeles. More to come here!

Positive Computing

I worked with Professor Gloria Mark and scholar Yu Chen to design psychological interventions to improve and better understand student well-being through the use of computing technology (smartphones) that are already ubiquitous.

  • Chen, Y., Mark, G., Ali, S., and Ma, X. (2017). Unpacking Happiness: Lessons from Smartphone Photography among College Students. Proceedings of The Fifth IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI 2017).
  • Chen, Y., Mark, G., and Ali, S. (2016). Promoting Positive Affect through Smartphone Photography. Special Issue on Positive Computing: A new partnership between psychology, the social sciences, and technology, Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research and Practice. June 2016.

Biotech & Society

As an undergraduate, I was fascinated by the computing-inspired transformations in biological research as they manifested in the then-nascent fields of genomics and synthetic biology. As an STS major, I sought to understand the social implications of these technological innovations. This culminated in two projects:

thesis wordcloud

  • “Debating a Proposed Moratorium on Synthetic Biology Research”
    Essay explores the ethical issues and risks surrounding the public policy debate of imposing a moratorium on synthetic biology research.

    • Published in Intersect: The Stanford Journal of Science, Technology, and Society, Vol. 5 (2012).
    • Available here.