About AIMS

AI for Media & Storytelling (AIMS) is a collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and an initiative of the Center for Generative AI and Society, at the University of Southern California.

Motivated by the idea that stories and cultures shape each other – and that each era’s storytelling reflects its technologies – we are committed to experimenting with, inventing, studying, teaching, and debating the power of artificial intelligence for media and storytelling.

Stories are created by different people, in different places, with different traditions, all leveraging and shaping media to create narratives.  Students experiment with techniques and discover their voices, journalists uncover truths and mobilize the public, filmmakers craft narratives and invent new worlds, scholars make languages visible and question entrenched forms of power.  Today, all of these crafts, communities, ethics, and motivations are emerging alongside new easy-to-use AI tools that urgently pose new challenges and opportunities for media making and storytelling.

Which stories can and should be told with AI? How should practitioners and scholars alike invent, leverage, adapt, and resist AI tools? What fundamental questions does AI-assisted storytelling raise about aesthetics, craft, truth, expertise, knowledge, authorship, politics, persuasion, and accountability? Practitioners of all stripes are simultaneously motivated, confused, anxious, intrigued, and provoked by a fast-approaching future that can feel beyond comprehension and control.

With deep investments in reflective practice, critical scholarship, industry engagement, innovative pedagogy, and community partnership, AIMS draws on USC’s world-class strengths in cinematic arts, journalism, communication, and technology scholarship to center the cultural, social, and artistic power of AI – to playfully create, critically understand, and powerfully reshape the future of AI storytelling.

Our Team

Holly Willis


Holly Willis is the Chair of the Media Arts + Practice Division in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and studies reconfigurations of cinema and experimental media. She also co-directs the AI for Media & Storytelling (AIMS) initiative of the USC Center for Generative AI & Society and is a hybrid scholar/practitioner integrating critical theory and media production primarily using video, still images, and sound as forms of critical making. She is the author of Fast Forward: The Future(s) of the Cinematic Arts; New Digital Cinema: Reinventing the Moving Image; and Bjork Digital, and the co-founder of Filmmaker Magazine dedicated to independent film, and former editor of RES Magazine and co-curator of RESFEST. She writes frequently for diverse publications about experimental film, video, and new media, and her work has appeared in as Film Comment, Afterimage, ArtWeek, Variety and The Normal School.

Mike Ananny


Mike Ananny is an Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism and Affiliated Faculty of Science, Technology, and Public Life at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  He studies how sociotechnical cultures create the digital news, algorithmic systems, and artificial intelligence infrastructures that structure public life.  He co-directs the interdisciplinary USC collective Media As SocioTechnical Systems (MASTS), the Sloan Foundation project Knowing Machines (with Kate Crawford and Jason Schultz), and the AI for Media & Storytelling (AIMS) initiative of the USC Center on Generative AI and Society.  He is the author of Networked Press Freedom (MIT Press), co-editor (with Laura Forlano and Molly Wright Steenson) of Bauhaus Futures (MIT Press), and publishes in various interdisciplinary venues including Journalism Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Critical Internet Studies.  He was a postdoctoral scholar at Microsoft Research, and holds a PhD from Stanford University and a Masters from the MIT Media Laboratory.  He regularly writes for popular press outlets including The Atlantic, WIRED, Harvard's Nieman Lab, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Ziyaad Bhorat

Associate Director

Dr. Ziyaad Bhorat is a South African political theorist focused on automation and AI, global digital governance, and democratic politics. He is an Associate Director at the Center for Generative AI & Society, and a visiting scholar at the Dornsife Center on Science, Technology, and Public Life (STPL). He is also the country lead for the Mozilla Foundation’s Responsible Computing Challenge in the US and South Africa. He holds a doctorate in Political Science (Political Theory) from UCLA, his MSc+MBA from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and has worked in digital media and telecoms industries across Sub-Saharan Africa. Ziyaad was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at STPL; the Berggruen Institute; and a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. He has researched and written on topics ranging from Aristotelian virtue ethics to AI judges for academic journals as well as media outlets in the U.S., UK and South Africa.

Scott Fisher

Faculty Advisor

Scott Fisher is Professor of Media Arts + Practice and former Dean of Research in the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is also the Founding Chair of the Interactive Media Division and Director of the Mobile & Environmental Media Lab.   Fisher has worked extensively since the early 80s to develop virtual reality and augmented reality systems at NASA Ames, Atari Research Labs, MIT’s Architecture Machine Group (now the MIT Media Lab) and at Keio University in Japan. As a Research Scientist at NASA Ames, his lab played a pioneering role in developing several virtual reality technologies that form the basis for products commercially available today.

Rohan Grover

Research Assistant

Rohan Grover is a PhD student at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. His research examines data privacy laws in action with a particular focus on the sociotechnical construction of “user consent” in privacy engineering. His work has been published in New Media & Society, Political Communication, Telecommunications Policy, Information, Communication & Society, and the Asian American Policy Review. Prior to returning to academia, Rohan worked as a product manager and data strategist in digital media and politics. He holds an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Grace Huang

Research Assistant

Grace Huang is a Research Fellow at the USC Center on Communication, Leadership, and Policy. She received her MSc and MA from the London School of Economics and USC Annenberg as part of LSE and USC’s Global Media and Communications joint master’s program. Having a passion for AI governance and infrastructure studies, Grace actively engages with AI policies and digital platform innovations from both technological and sociological perspectives.

Andrea Shinyoung Kim

Research Assistant

Andrea Shinyoung Kim is a PhD student in the Media Arts + Practice Program at USC. Trained in documentary filmmaking and feminist theory, Kim follows traditions of experimentation with emerging technologies using critical, performative, and co-creative approaches. She has written on virtual embodiment, medical objectivity, and XR arts praxis, and currently researches virtual identity and generative folklore. Kim holds an M.Sc from the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and B.A. from the Duke Literature Program. She has served on selection committees for the Fulbright Association and Peabody Awards and has worked previously with the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, MIT Transmedia Storytelling Initiative, and Seoul Institute of the Arts.