HICT: Doctoral Candidate in Civic Agency in AI? Democratizing Algorithmic Services in the City (CAAI)

Updated: 3 months ago

The Helsinki Doctoral Education Network in Information and Communications Technology (HICT) is a collaborative doctoral education network hosted jointly by Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, the two leading universities within this area in Finland. The network serves as a collaboration platform for doctoral education combining all the relevant subfields of computer science and information technology at Aalto University and the University of Helsinki. It involves at present 80 professors and almost 300 doctoral students, and the participating units graduate altogether more than 40 new doctors each year.

We offer the possibility to join world-class research groups in both universities with multiple interesting research projects to choose from. The list of all open Doctoral Candidate positions in this joint call can be found here: https://hict.fi/admissions/

HICT Doctoral Candidate in Civic Agency in AI? Democratizing Algorithmic Services in the City (CAAI)

Supervisor(s): Nitin Sawhney (Aalto University)

The public sector is increasingly embracing algorithmic decision-making and data-centric infrastructures to offer innovative digital services to citizens. The CAAI project conducts research to assess wide ranging and conflicting perspectives and practices among experts, providers and citizens. The European Commission’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act has raised vigorous deliberations regarding the implications of  implementing this regulatory framework across the EU. The diverse and contested discourses among AI experts, regulators, public actors, and citizen advocates, offer a timely window of opportunity to critically examine their implications, while promoting citizen participation and civic agency in shaping the AI Act and its governance in Finland and the EU. In this project we examine discourses through the theoretical lens of Critical Discourse Analysis to gain insights on diverse values, narratives, and positions, while Natural Language Processing methods are used to contextually examine salient topics. 

As part of this analysis the project will create an annotated textual corpus as an open access digital repository of rich discourses around the algorithmization of public services. Researchers will conduct in-depth case studies of public AI services in Finland to highlight the key practices and challenges for incorporating AI in the public sector, while ensuring trust, accountability and governance. We explore and evaluate citizen perspectives, agency, and imaginaries on digital citizenship and algorithmic literacy for democratization of public services to design frameworks for stakeholder participation in AI governance. Participatory Action Research will engage citizen and public sector actors in critical dialogue and participatory design of potential public AI services in Helsinki and other urban contexts. An interdisciplinary approach, combining social science, linguistics, design research, and ethical AI, allows us to critically assess the transformation of discourses, civic agency, and democratization of public AI services and design frameworks for stakeholder participation in AI governance. 

Applicants must show a keen interest and background research in topics related to this project including AI ethics, digital citizenship, human computer interaction, participatory design, algorithmic literacy, AI governance, critical discourse analysis, and/or natural language processing.

Research Areas: AI Ethics, Algorithms, and Human Computer Interaction 

Ready to apply?

If you want to join our community and start your journey towards Doctoral dissertation submit your application via our electronic recruitment system. The application form will close 6th February 2022 at 23:59 Finnish time (UTC +2).

If you are currently working at Aalto University, please submit your application via HR System Workday (Career – Find jobs – Apply).

Please be prepared to add the following attachments:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Transcript of your Master’s studies

You will be asked to provide also the contact details of 2-3 academic referees.

What we offer?

HICT is a network of world-class professors and researchers with huge passion for their field of study. In HICT you will become part of enthusiastic and professional team of bold and innovative thinkers.

During your Doctoral studies you will be a full-time employee in either Aalto University or the University of Helsinki depending on the supervisor and the research area. You will be covered by occupational health care based on the employment contract.

More information:

General information about the joint HICT call and HICT: https://hict.fi/

General questions about HICT: Christina Sirviö, HICT team

General questions about recruitment process: Sanni Kirmanen, Aalto University HR


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