Two PhD-positions for project “Is AI outsmarting us? The impact of AI on knowledge work”.

Two PhD-positions for project “Is AI outsmarting us? The impact of AI on knowledge work”.

Published Deadline Location
13 Aug 7 Sep Amsterdam

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Are you interested in studying the development of Artificial Intelligence and its impact in organizations with a leading team of researchers? Please apply for a PhD position at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam's KIN research group.

Job description

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing work, and predictions about job losses have reached newspaper headlines. Current debates on AI and work are typically framed around its consequences for jobs, though without empirically grounded research into both AI’s development and its implications for organizations and professionals. AI systems that are currently being developed and rolled out in organizations are crucially different from prior ‘rule based’ expert systems, bringing about novel risks for organizations and knowledge work. Their autonomous, self-learning capability and ability to black-box knowledge, may increase people’s dependencies on machines and even render whole categories of knowledge work obsolete, raising fundamental questions, such as whether the expertise of highly educated professionals will even be needed in the future. We propose to use a social practice perspective to gain a deeper understanding of how and why AI systems impact knowledge work. Through longitudinal qualitative studies of multiple cases we will reveal how AI developers come to understand the domain for which they develop their AI systems. The AI-KNOW project will be the first to trace the broader unintended consequences of AI systems for expertise at work in real-world settings. Such understanding is urgently needed to empirically interrogate the often-pessimistic scenarios expressed by commentators. AI-KNOW will contribute to theories of technology’s role in knowledge, professional and organizational change. We will capitalize on this research to develop a methodology for ‘Collaborative AI’ that augments instead of automates knowledge work, ultimately contributing to a human-centric digital society.

Your duties
The PhD student will conduct theoretical and empirical research on themes such as:
  • the sociotechnical construction of AI
  • social practice perspective on knowledge in relation to AI
  • the process of encoding domain expertise in AI systems
  • the impact and unintended consequences of deploying AI systems in case organizations
  • the political and social sides of data and data analytics
  • the role of management in buying and implementing AI solutions
The PhD student will give a modest contribution to the Department’s teaching programme, with the opportunity to obtain a basic qualification teaching certificate (shortened BKO).

Specifications

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

Requirements

  • motivated to do high quality research with the aim of publishing top level articles for both an organizational science and practitioner audience
  • communication skills required to collaborate with industry partner(s)
  • academic writing skills
  • high proficiency English language; Dutch proficiency (or willingness to learn) preferred
  • research Master or MSc in business administration, sociology, anthropology, or equivalent
  • expertise in and affinity with qualitative research methods e.g. ethnography, interviews, and observations

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year.

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

Employer

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 24,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity
Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) provides high-quality education and excellent research in business administration and economics with a focus on contributing to the social, economic and ecological challenges of our time. Whether it is the use of robots in society or big data, labour market participation or flexibility in the labour market, traffic jams or the housing market, flash crashes in the stock market or choice behaviour in gambling, leadership or change management: we believe in goal-oriented scientific research and understand that progress in academics, the business community and society is achieved through cooperation, openness and social responsibility.

At SBE, all of our highly-motivated colleagues work together closely in a stimulating, dynamic and international environment to achieve our collective goal of encouraging society to make informed choices. Approximately 4,200 Bachelor’s and Master’s students and 1,700 executive students are enrolled at the School, and employs roughly 500 people.
 
KIN
KIN Center for Digital Innovation (KIN) (www.kinresearch.nl) is one of the departments of the School of Business and Economics at the VU University Amsterdam. KIN conducts research on the development, use and business value of innovative organizational processes and technologies. The research contributes to an international field that is relatively new and multi-disciplinary. We work closely together with faculty and researchers from other universities, and cooperate with an extensive network of business partners. The KIN research group is also responsible for several courses in the Business Administration curriculum at the VU University Amsterdam, and facilitates the Master Digital Business and Innovation.

Professor Marleen Huysman, director of KIN received an NWO grant to conduct research on “Is AI outsmarting us? The impact of AI on knowledge”. The project’s aim is to gain a deeper understanding of how and why AI systems impact knowledge work. Through longitudinal qualitative studies of multiple cases this project will study how AI developers come to understand the domain for which they develop their AI systems, and will trace the broader unintended consequences of AI systems for expertise at work in real-world settings. Two years after the start of the project, a newly hired postdoctoral researcher will join the team to capitalize on the research to develop a methodology for ‘Collaborative AI’ that augments instead of automates knowledge work, ultimately contributing to a human-centric digital society. In this context, the department is presently looking for candidates to fill two PhD research projects for a duration of four years. The PhD candidates will be supervised by a team of researchers including Marleen Huysman, Ella Hafermalz and Anastasia Sergeeva.

Specifications

  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1231

Employer

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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Location

De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV, Amsterdam

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