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Postdoctoral position in the Philosophy of AI at the Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy, University of Aarhus

Job category Postdoc or similar / Fixed term
AOS Philosophy of AI
AOS categories Epistemology
Decision Theory
Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy of Computing
AOC Philosophy of AI
AOC categories Epistemology
Decision Theory
Philosophy of Biology
Philosophy of Computing
Workload Full time
Vacancies 1
Location Aarhus, Midtjylland, Denmark
Job description

The Department of Philosophy, School of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a three-year, fixed-term postdoctoral position in philosophy.

The appointment begins on September 1, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Place of employment: Department of Philosophy, Nobelparken, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 3 – 7, 8000 Aarhus C.

The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus strongly welcomes applications from all qualified applicants regardless of their personal background.
Ensuring a gender balance at the Department of Philosophy is a high priority at Aarhus University, and we particularly encourage women to apply for this position. No candidate will be given preferential treatment, and all applicants will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications for the position in question.

Research context

We are looking for an innovative scholar with a background in philosophy, preferably with a specialisation in the philosophy of AI (Artificial Intelligence), the philosophy of technology, the philosophy of medicine, or applied epistemology.

The postdoctoral researcher will be part of the project “Algorithmic Decision Making: Philosophical Challenges” (funded by the Carlsberg Foundation), and the successful applicant will join a research team led by Associate Professor Jens Christian Bjerring. The project asks, generally, how the widespread inclusion of machine-learning algorithms in society will affect decision making. On the one hand, there is reason to expect that such algorithms in many data-heavy contexts will soon be more reliable and accurate than human experts. Yet, on the other hand, such algorithms often work as non-transparent "black boxes": they correlate reliably and accurately specific inputs with specific outputs, but we have no idea why and how they do it. So there is a trade-off here: by aligning our decision making with algorithms, we increase accuracy and reliability. But owing to the non-transparency of algorithms, we risk sacrificing informed decision making in the process. The project investigates the theoretical and practical implications of this trade-off.

Specifically, the postdoctoral subproject will focus on the relationship between trust and algorithmic decision making. Questions about trust are fundamental for the implementation of algorithms and AI systems in society at large, but how and when can we trust black-box algorithmic systems that we do not fully understand? With special attention on trust in algorithmic medical decision making, the postdoctoral researcher will investigate this core epistemological question, relying on recent philosophical and medical literature.

The position

Since the subproject will have a special focus on trust in algorithmic medical decision making, the postdoc should ideally demonstrate excellent knowledge of the philosophical and medical literature on trust and decision making, and at least a solid interest or competence in the philosophy of AI or technology. The applicant’s project description should indicate how they propose to address the themes of the postdoctoral project.

The successful applicant is expected to

  • develop their research within the general framework of the project, in close cooperation with the research group;
  • present their research at national and international events and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals in a timely fashion;
  • play a highly collaborative role in the local research group, and participate in the daily working environment at Aarhus University – for instance by coauthoring articles and reviewing relevant literature;
  • initiate and help to organise research workshops, conferences, and other such activities; and  
  • assist the PI in preparing a volume of papers for publication, following the project’s main academic conference (2024).
Qualifications and requirements

Applicants for this position must hold a PhD degree in philosophy, medicine, AI or a related field, and must be able to document

  • expertise in at least one of the philosophical areas of relevance to the project: the philosophy of AI, the philosophy of technology, the philosophy of medicine, or applied epistemology;
  • an international and relevant research profile of high international quality;
  • the ability and willingness to engage in close collaboration with the local research group; and
  • fluency in written and spoken English.

Ideally, applicants should also be able to document:

  • experience of conference organisation; and
  • experience of editorial work.

In view of this, applicants are asked to submit:

  • a project description (maximum three pages) in which they indicate how they will expand and detail the subproject on trust in (black-box) algorithmic decision making in light of the overall project;
  • a concise statement of motivation for applying for the position (maximum one page); and  
  • a maximum of five publications or submitted papers (note that a list of publications is not enough, the papers must be uploaded with the application).

Note: professional references or recommendations should not be included. Applicants who are selected for an interview may be asked to provide professional references.

Note: The application must be submitted in English.

For further information about the position, please contact Jens Christian Bjerring at filjcb@cas.au.dk

For more information about the application, please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn, e-mail mbb@au.dk.

The work environment

The Department of Philosophy and the History of Ideas at Aarhus University is the largest of its type in Denmark and – especially because of the productive tension between the systematic and historical perspectives – the research conducted is characterised by an undogmatic and open-minded worldview. The researchers are thus involved in a variety of interdisciplinary projects both within and outside the Faculty of Arts.
Read more here: https://cas.au.dk/en/about-the-school/departments/philosophy-and-history-of-ideas/

School of Culture and Society

At the School of Culture and Society the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

- From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
- From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
- From local questions to global challenges.

The school’s goal is to produce compelling research with an international resonance, as well as offering teaching and talent development of high quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education. 

Qualification requirements Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications. Formalities Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order). Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here: https://talent.au.dk/junior-researcher-development-programme/

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal bagground.
Shortlists are prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting
How to apply
Application type Online
Web address to apply https://au.emply.net/recruitment/vacancyApply.aspx...
Hard deadline Yesterday, 11:59pm CET
Contact
Web address for more information https://au.career.emply.com/ad/postdoctoral-positi...
Contact name Jens Christian Krarup Bjerring
Contact email
Bookkeeping
Time created February 8, 2021, 4:03pm EST
Scheduled expiry date Yesterday, 11:59pm CET
Last updated February 8, 2021, 4:03pm EST
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