Matthew Salzano, a researcher who explores the intersections of social identities and digital technology, will join Stony Brook as an IDEA Fellow in Ethical AI, Information Systems, and Data Science and Literacy applied to Complex Structures and Networks. He will hold a joint appointment with the School of Communication and Journalism/Alda Center for Communicating Science and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric.
Salzano examines the relationship of digital media and social change. He studies how digitality influences participatory practices of collective life like deliberation, argumentation, and protest, and how those practices can divide and unite individuals and groups. Throughout his research and teaching, Salzano questions what it means to participate ethically in civic life in a digital age. He examines issues of activism and social justice, intersectional power relations in politics and culture, and how algorithms and artificial intelligence can shape public discourse.
“In his research and his teaching, Matthew combines inquiries about how technology is changing and influencing society with how we identify, include, and engage with each other in these digital spheres,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the School of Communication and Journalism and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “Matthew’s expertise and interest in these pressing issues will be a tremendous asset as we seek to build a more fair, more just, and more rational world through communication and conversation.”
Stony Brook’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) Fellows will help catalyze Stony Brook’s commitment to inclusive solutions-driven research and scholarship in themes of critical importance and cross-disciplinary strength at the university. Salzano is one of several IDEA Fellows who will join the campus community this year.
Salzano comes to Stony Brook from the University of Maryland, where he recently completed his doctoral dissertation, “Living a Participatory Life: Reformatting Rhetoric for Demanding, Digital Times.” While at Maryland, he published ten peer-reviewed publications in outlets like Critical Studies in Media Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, and Communication Teacher. He has received several awards for his work, including from the Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine, and the National Communication Association.
“We are eager to learn from Matthew’s expertise, including what he thinks AI-authored writing means for public and academic discourse, and its impact on related issues like the meaning of authorship, integrity, voice, cognition, and the limits of identity,” said Peter Khost, director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric. “I am delighted to welcome Matthew to our program as we continue to explore and examine the role and impact of rhetoric on new media, participatory society, and social justice.”