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Humanist Archives: May 19, 2020, 8:52 a.m. Humanist 34.32 - PhD studentship: The ethics and epistemology of explanatory AI

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 32.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2020-05-18 15:06:05+00:00
        From: Juan Manuel Duran 
        Subject: PhD Position "The ethics and epistemology of explanatory AI"


Artificial Intelligence is pervading every aspect of our life: it is
present in decisions made in healthcare, transportation, finances,
education, and governmental level, just to mention a few players. With
it, explanation for high-stakes decision making (XAI) is at the center
of current debates, receiving much (and deserved) attention from
industry and academy alike. AI is essentially a sociotechnical system,
where a decision maker interacts with various sources of information and
decision-support tools, a process whose quality should be assessed in
terms of the final, aggregated outcome —the quality of the decision—
rather than assessing only the quality of the decision-support tool in
isolation (e.g., in terms of its predictive accuracy and standalone
precision). It is therefore important to develop tools that explain
their predictions in meaningful terms, a property rarely matched by AI
systems available in the market today. The explanation problem for a
decision-support system can be understood as a trade-off between what
algorithms can safely ignore and what meaningful information should
absolutely be included to make an informed decision. Thus, the problem
of XAI is intertwined with epistemic and normative problems, such as
trustworthiness (what sort of knowledge we have and what can safely be
ignored), comprehensibility (human meaningfulness of the explanations),
and accountability (humans keeping the ultimate responsibility for the
decision). In this context, several epistemological, ethical, and legal
questions emerge, such as: what is the logic for a successful XAI? how
can we ensure reliability and trust? which ethical concerns emerge in
the context of (un)successful explanations? Is current XAI complying
with regulations? The successful candidate will work in the
intersections of epistemological and ethical issues, with a strong
emphasis on the normative aspects of explanatory AI. Different ethical
frameworks and principles will be studied to understand the implications
of XAI and the role of different stakeholders in high-stake decision
makings (developers, users, individuals affected by system’s actions,
legal experts, etc.). Case studies will also be focus of this project,
as they will engage relevant stakeholders to capture adherence to
social, legal, ethical norms, and, ultimately, human responsibility.

This PhD project will be developed within the EU Horizon2020
SoBigData++. SoBigData++ strives to deliver a distributed, Pan-European,
multi-disciplinary research infrastructure for big social data
analytics, coupled with the consolidation of a cross-disciplinary
European research community, aimed at using social mining and big data
to understand the complexity of our contemporary,
globally-interconnected society. SoBigData++ is set to advance on such
ambitious tasks thanks to SoBigData, the predecessor project that
started this construction in 2015. Becoming an advanced community,
SoBigData++ will strengthen its tools and services to empower
researchers and innovators through a platform for the design and
execution of large-scale social mining experiments. It will be open to
users with diverse background, accessible on project cloud (aligned with
EOSC) and also exploiting supercomputing facilities. Pushing the FAIR
principles further, SoBigData++ will render social mining experiments
more easily designed, adjusted and repeatable by domain experts that are
not data scientists. SoBigData++ will move forward from a starting
community of pioneers to a wide and diverse scientific movement, capable
of empowering the next generation of responsible social data scientists,
engaged in the grand societal challenges laid out in its exploratories:
Societal Debates and Online Misinformation, Sustainable Cities for
Citizens, Demography, Economics & Finance 2.0, Migration Studies, Sport
Data Science, Social Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Explainable
Machine Learning. SoBigData++ will advance from the awareness of ethical
and legal challenges to concrete tools that operationalise ethics with
value-sensitive design, incorporating values and norms for privacy
protection, fairness, transparency and pluralism. SoBigData++ will
deliver an accelerator of data-driven innovation that facilitates the
collaboration with industry to develop joint pilot projects, and will
consolidate an RI ready for the ESFRI Roadmap and sustained by a
SoBigData Association.


• Master’s degree or equivalent in philosophy or similar discipline.
• Candidates with interests in analytical philosophy (e.g. ethics of
algorithms, ethics of AI, ethics of technology, philosophy of action)
and strong affinity (or degree in) philosophy of science, epistemology,
philosophy of technology, philosophy of engineering and computer science
are strongly encouraged to apply.
• Strong interests in interdisciplnary research, principally with
computer scientists.
• Excellent command of written and spoken English.
• Excellent communication skills and interested in translating research
ideas and findings for the benefit of non-academic stakeholders (e.g.
managers and policymakers).
• The ability to work independently and as a team player.


Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no
go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in
accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities,
increasing from € 2325 per month in the first year to € 2972 in the
fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft
Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring
research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic
staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at
developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on
health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs
contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international
applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career
Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Technische Universiteit Delft
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution
offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences
at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design
are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops
technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety
and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where
technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight
faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Technology, Policy and Management
The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) makes an
important contribution to solving the complex technical and social
challenges that we face as a society. Challenges such as energy,
climate, mobility, IT, water and cyber security. This requires a
multidisciplinary approach that goes beyond technology. Our education
and research are therefore at the intersection of technology, society
and management. We combine insights from the engineering sciences with
those from the humanities and social sciences. We develop robust models
and designs, are internationally oriented, and have extensive networks
in science and practice.


For information about this vacancy, you can contact Juan M. Durán,
email: j.m.duran@tudelft.nl.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Mrs. Anita
van VIanen, HR Advisor, email: vacature-tbm@tudelft.nl.

When you are interested in this position, please include in your
application: (a) CV, (b) motivation letter including names of two
references, (c) list of publications in a single pdf entitled
"TPM20.038_YourLastname.pdf". Send your application to
vacature-tbm@tudelft.nl. Applications will be considered until 
June 15, or until the position is filled. Due to the Covid 19 
measurement a remotely start is possible.

Dr. Juan M. Durán
TU Delft
Assistant Professor
Department of Values, Technology and Innovation
Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management
Jaffalaan 5
2628 BX Delft - B 4.310
The Netherlands

2019 Herbert A. Simon Award - IACAP

juanmduran.net - Academia.edu

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