Faculty Profile: Dong Whi Yoo, Ph.D. - User Experience

As one of the newest faculty members in the iSchool, Professor Dong Whi Yoo is encouraging students to see the potential of interdisciplinary research.

Professor Yoo is an assistant professor in the iSchool, teaching courses such as Introduction to UX Design and UX in Practice.

Yoo has researched the interaction between artificial intelligence and mental health, as well as human-computer interaction. More specifically, he analyzed the relationship between mental health and college students during his doctorate at Georgia Tech.

"Ethical issues are already embedded in our social structures. By understanding marginalized communities, we can work to design inclusive and safer artificial intelligence.

“The mental health of college students is an important topic in our society,” Yoo said. “I found that digital mental health had a bigger potential for me to research, so I wanted to see how artificial intelligence played a role in this.”

Through his team’s research, Yoo was able to collect smartphone, social media and other personal digital data from Georgia Tech students.

“Analyzing this data allowed us to gain insight about students' well-being, including mental health,” Yoo said. “We were also able to utilize some machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, which I found interesting.”

By asking participants about their daily work practices, self-care services and opinions about technology, Yoo was able to have direct interaction with participants  

“The most memorable moments are when I talk to my participants,” Yoo said. “Sometimes it’s not easy, but it’s rewarding and enlightening and I enjoy our conversations.”

Learning more about artificial intelligence’s role in society can also reduce ethical dilemmas associated with it, such as discrimination and bias against marginalized communities.

“These ethical issues are already embedded in our social structures,” Yoo said. “By understanding marginalized communities, we can work to design inclusive and safer artificial intelligence.”

Moreover, communications professionals are becoming comfortable with incorporating AI into their profession with websites such as ChatGPT. Yoo cautioned that professionals must use this software ethically.

“We don’t know what will be the standard of next year,” Yoo said. “It’s better to make every step of interacting with artificial intelligence clear and transparent.”