PhD position in informatics on implications of Human-AI interactions

Updated: 17 days ago
Deadline: 30 Sep 2021

This Phd position at the department of informatics is a part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program on Humanities and Society (WASP-HS), which aims to realize excellent research and develop competence on the consequences and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems for humanity and society. This 10-year program is initiated and generously funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (MMW) with 660 million SEK. In addition to this, the program receives support from collaborating industry and from participating universities. For more information about the research and other activities conducted within WASP-HS please visit; WASP-HS

The PhD candidate will take part in the WASP-HS graduate school, which provides foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD candidates, researchers and practitioners in the field. It thus provides added value on top of the existing PhD programs at the partner universities, providing unique opportunities for participants.

The research
AI-based systems play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. Human-centred AI research focuses on collaborating with humans, enhancing human capabilities and empowering humans to better achieve their goals. This includes issues such as how individuals may influence and collaborate with AI-based systems, in participatory design processes and as part of everyday living; what risks may arise in terms of self-determination and autonomy and how they may be mitigated; how trust, transparency and sense of control can be promoted; and how individuals relate socially, culturally, and emotionally to AI systems in their everyday lives.

There is a need to understand and critically reflect upon the design and implementation of AI systems in our society. This needs to be immersed both in understandings of how technology is made and used in a social world, and how it contributes to creating new worlds. Emerging technologies and their implications for human health and wellbeing must be highlighted at the individual, group and societal level. The candidate will conduct research and critically analyze the design processes to articulate social, cultural, and ethical aspects of technology use in the domain of health and human wellbeing. The understandings and learnings of this research will be looped back into the design of AI-based systems.  We think that as a candidate you have an interest in ethics, aesthetics, and/or design, and ideally has demonstrated capacity to engage with the subjects of biodata/biosensors, machine learning, and/or other forms of AI.

We are looking for a doctoral student who wants to work with human-centred AI and wants to be involved in developing Umeå University’s AI profile. This particular position is part of the UMeHealth research environment (( that focuses on AI to support and improve human wellbeing.

The employment
The candidate will be employed and admitted to the doctoral programme at the department of Informatics, Umeå University. The education at doctoral level corresponds to four years of full-time studies (240 higher education credits) and with a doctoral degree as the goal. A Ph.D. student can also participate in teaching or other departmental activities up to 20% of the time. Salary is paid according to agreement for doctoral positions. The employment starts autumn 2021 or by agreement. For this position, you are expected to perform your work at the department of Informatics at Umeå University Campus.

The applicants must have a degree at advanced level in informatics or equivalent. For employment as a doctoral student, admission to doctoral education is required. Basic eligibility for admission to doctoral education is a completed degree at advanced level or completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, which of at least 60 credits at an advanced level, or in some other way within or outside the country acquired essentially equivalent knowledge. In order to meet the requirement for special eligibility to be admitted to doctoral education in informatics, the applicant must have a university education in informatics of at least 90 credits, and 60 credits on advanced level in informatics (master's level) or other education of equivalent scope and specialization. The requirements are also considered to be met by those who in other ways, within or outside the country, have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge.

Other qualifications
In selection among eligible applicants, great emphasis is placed on the ability to assimilate the education, previous study results and the quality of the submitted research plan. In other aspects, reference is made to agreement on employment as a doctoral student (Chapter 5) and access to education (Chapter 7) in the Higher Education Ordinance.

The application must be complete for it to be processed in the recruitment process. The application must be made via the e-recruitment system Varbi.

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