The Department of Philosophy of the University Twente in the Netherlands
is looking for
three PhD students (4-year positions) in
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
We invite you to apply for three PhD positions as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network ‘PROTECT – Protecting Personal Data Amidst Big Data Innovation’, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme:
PhD position 1: “Ethics of personal data from online mobile, wearable and social media for e-health and lifestyle applications”
PhD position 2: “Ethical implications of using AI and big data to analyse speech, text and video images of individuals”
PhD position 3: “The ethical management of private data in the online environment”
Position 1: Ethics of personal data from online mobile, wearable and social media for e-health and lifestyle applications
Online mobile applications and wearables collect sensitive physical and behavioral data of their users that can be used in e-health and lifestyle applications. When linked with social media data, machine learning can reveal surprising insights about individuals and their circle of friends, family and neighbors. The objective of this position is to develop a systematic ethical analysis of issues associated with personal data collected from online mobile, social media and wearables for e-health and lifestyle applications. To do this, you will rely on philosophical analysis, and potentially other methods, to investigate ethically relevant impacts of new personalization, data collection, and personal data analytics technologies. In addition, the position has two stimulating and timely practical aims. The first is to find out whether the use of innovative foresight methods, as part of the technology assessment of e-health and lifestyle applications, can improve our anticipation of their future developments and ethical impacts. The second is to make recommendations for the ethical design of relevant technologies and accompanying policies. Within this position you will have significant freedom in making the topic your own and selecting your own research questions, theories, and methods. We encourage innovation.
Your principal supervisor for this position will be dr. Yashar Saghai, assistant professor in philosophy and ethics of technology at the University of Twente. Prof. dr. Philip Brey will also supervise you. This position includes two (supported) two-months secondments (i.e., periods during which you will work from another institution): the first at Dublin City University with prof. Bert Gordijn, director of the Institute of Ethics; the second at the Rathenau Institute in The Hague with prof. Barend van der Meulen, Head of Research. There will also be opportunities for secondments and shorter stays at leading tech companies and policy organizations.
Position 2: Ethical implications of using AI and big data to analyse speech, text and video images of individuals
In recent years, very powerful techniques have emerged for analysing human speech and texts, as well as video images with humans in them. The combination of big data and artificial intelligence makes it possible to recognize humans in private and public spaces, analyse their behaviour, make inferences about their personality, emotions, intentions, and other psychological traits, and track them. The objective of this position is to analyse the ethical implications of advanced natural language, speech and video analytics and machine learning techniques and their application to the processing and analysis of personal data and to personalization applications. It is also possible to focus on just one of the areas (text/speech or video/images). This is an exciting new area in which little ethical analysis has been done so far. The candidate will perform an analysis of key ethical issues relating to these techniques, involving several case studies, and will also study implications for organizational policies and public policy. Within this position you will have significant freedom in making the topic your own and selecting your own research questions, theories, and methods. We encourage innovation.
Your principal supervisor for this position will be prof. dr. Philip Brey, full professor in philosophy and ethics of technology at the University of Twente. This position includes two (supported) two-months secondments (i.e., periods during which you will work from another institution): the first at Trinity College Dublin with prof. dr. Linda Hogan, professor in ethics; the second at the Rathenau Institute in The Hague with prof. Barend van der Meulen, Head of Research. There will also be opportunities for secondments and shorter stays at leading tech companies and policy organisations.
Position 3: The ethical management of private data in the online environment
The ethical problems arising from private data on digital platforms are becoming increasingly recognised, from the Snowden revelations to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This project will investigate approaches to ethically managing such data. The project will deliver a systematic ethical assessment of the diversity of privacy and related issues that are associated with the collection and storage of various personal information by websites. Ethical assessment will focus on similarities and differences in privacy and related expectations regarding different types of personal information (from browser behaviour to video selfies), modes of collection and storage, and the purposes for which they are or could be used. This will be based in part on consultations of stakeholders and their values and preferences regarding privacy and related issues, as well as responsible innovation, such as open source and gender issues. This will provide an analysis of the proper division of labour between privacy policies and technological protections offered by the various approaches considered. Within this position you will have significant freedom in making the topic your own and selecting your own research questions, theories, and methods. We encourage innovation.
Your principal supervisor for this position will be prof. dr. Kevin Macnish, assistant professor in philosophy and ethics of technology at the university of Twente. Prof. dr. Philip Brey will also supervise you. This position includes two (supported) two-months secondments (i.e., periods during which you will work from another institution): the first at Trinity College Dublin with prof. dr. Linda Hogan, professor in ethics; the second (three months) is at Castlebridge in Wexford, Ireland, with mr. Daragh O’Brien. There will also be opportunities for secondments and shorter stays at leading tech companies and policy organisations.
The PROTECT consortium and project
PROTECT is an international, interdisciplinary and cross academic-industry training network hosted across Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium. It is recruiting 14 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) to undertake research towards PhDs in the disciplines of law, ethics or computer science, with the common goal of Protecting Personal Data Amidst Big Data Innovation.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) grant agreement No. 813497. More information here: http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2018-2020/main/h2020-wp1820-msca_en.pdf
For all three positions:
You have a Master’s degree in ethics, philosophy, or a related discipline. In addition, you:
• have good philosophical and analytical skills
• have an interest in practical applications of ethics
• are familiar with, or are interested in, ethical and philosophical aspects of the computer and information sciences, in particular artificial intelligence and big data;
• have good English language skills, both in writing and speaking
• have good social and communication skills in academic as well as non-academic contexts
• appreciate multidisciplinary collaboration
• are able to work independently, but also motivated to collaborate with others, including project participants and partners from different countries and with diverse backgrounds
• For position 1, familiarity with foresight methods or bioethics is desirable
• Candidates must fulfil the definition of an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) set by the European Commission. Early-Stage researchers are those who, at the time of recruitment by the host are in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. This is measured from the date when they obtain the degree that formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged). What this means is that you should not have a PhD at the time you apply, and you should not have had more than four years of full-time research appointment after the year in which you became eligible to become a PhD student in your home country.
Conditions of Mobility of Researchers
Researchers are required to undertake physical, transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment. Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host organizations for more than 12 months in the 3 years prior to their recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account. Note that the mobility rule applies to the (first) beneficiary where the researcher is recruited, and not to beneficiaries to which the researcher is sent or seconded.
Because of the mobility conditions, potential applicants who have carried out their main activity in the Netherlands since June 2016 are not eligible for the University of Twente positions but can apply to related ethics positions offered by the PROTECT Network at Dublin City University.
Researchers at Risk
The following aspects are in place to ensure access to researchers at risk and those with refugee status:
• Application submission by post where online application requirements may discriminate against the researcher’s circumstances (please contact the project manager)
• Application of the eligibility criteria appropriately to ensure researchers who have suspended their activities whilst seeking refugee status are not disadvantaged.
We offer a very challenging fulltime position for four years in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.
• A starting salary of € 2.325 in the first year and a salary of € 2.972 in the fourth year gross per month;
• A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3% (on top of the starting salary);
• A solid pension scheme;
• Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
• Professional and personal development programs
• A program of graduate courses taught by an international staff, including members of the 4TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology
The preferred starting date is September 1st, 2019.
Your application should include the following information and documents:
• Full name
• Contact detail
• Summary of activities in the three years prior to May 2019
• Summary of education
• List of max 3 examples of work demonstrating prior achievement in research, enquiry or debate, e.g., published paper or other work; software, standards or policy contribution; dissertation or Master’s thesis
• A writing sample (for example, a copy of your Master’s thesis)
• A summary and table of contents of your Master’s thesis (if applicable)
• A cover letter which explains your interest in the position and your qualifications for it
• A curriculum vitae which includes the name and e-mail address/telephone number for at least two references
You should upload your application(s) after May 7 via www.utwente.nl/vacatures/en > vacancies > current vacancies. The application deadline is Saturday 25 May, 2019, 23:59 CET. We will hold interviews on June 3rd and 4h; Skype interviews are an option. You should feel free to apply to more than one position; in that case, please upload separate cover letters for each position.
Location: These positions are based at the Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.
• Position 1: Dr. Yashar Saghai: firstname.lastname@example.org (+31 (0)53 489 5727)
• Position 2: Prof. dr. Philip Brey : email@example.com (+31 (0)53 489 4426)
• Position 3: Dr. Kevin Macnish: firstname.lastname@example.org (+31 (0)53 489 7620)
About the University of Twente
We stand for science and technology, high tech, human touch, and education and research that matter. We focus on new technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente (UT) is a research university with a strong international orientation and a focus on science & engineering and social and behavioural sciences. We include more than 1700 researchers and 10,000 students. Our motto “high tech, human touch” expresses the aim of combining research in engineering with social and behavioural sciences. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programs. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research. The UT is a campus university, located in the city of Enschede, in the east of the Netherlands. Enschede is a lively city of 160,000, located in beautiful countryside and near spectacular nature areas. It is only two hours away from major European cities like Amsterdam, Cologne and Düsseldorf, three hours from Brussels and less than six hours from Berlin, Paris and London.
The Department of Philosophy
The Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente (https://www.utwente.nl/bms/wijsb/) is internationally leading in the philosophy and ethics of technology and engineering science. At a recent research evaluation of philosophy programmes in the Netherlands, it ranked highest in the area of ethics and practical philosophy. The Department currently includes ten tenured/tenure-track staff members, six postdocs, six PhD students, and several part-time faculty. The Department participates in the interuniversity 4TU.Center for Ethics and Technology, the world’s largest research center (over sixty researchers) addressing societally relevant and philosophically challenging issues at the interface between ethics and technology. Both the Department and the Center have a strong international orientation and include members from many different nationalities. The Department’s research has a strong focus on ethics of emerging technologies and their impact on society (including information and communication technology and robotics, biomedical and neurotechnologies and environmental technologies), the philosophy and ethics of human-technology relations, and the philosophy of science in practice.
We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.