What does it take to build systems in which artificial intelligence function and human interact and complement each other in ways that are safe and account for emergent impacts? How do we make sure a system really delivers on its promises and safeguards crucial values?
For too long, the AI development has addressed issues of safety, fairness or accountability at the level of the algorithm or AI model, hoping to resolve these in technosolutionist ways. Rather than hoping to 'align' an AI technology to public values, the history of system safety however, shows us that these values are emergent system properties, which can only be understood, addressed and designed for across both the technical, social and institutional aspects of a broader sociotechnical system.
In this postdoc position, we will firmly establish such an approach to values as emergent system properties, by synthesizing the work done both in systems engineering, system safety, and adjacent fields. As well as by embracing recent insights from theoretical computer science on the social foundations of computing, such as performative prediction. This will contribute to novel conceptual and empirical breakthroughs, and a paradigm shift in how public values are to be treated in the practices involved in designing and governing AI systems.
The aim is to build concrete bridges between the more technically oriented fields that aspire to do a better job of safeguarding values in the design and maintenance of their systems (mostly gathered in the Fairness, Accountability and Transparency (FAccT) community), and the disciplines responsible for the institutional mechanisms to safeguard AI systems, including in policy-making, advocacy, oversight and management (mostly gathered in digital/AI policy and governance communities).
The postdoc will have a leading role in translating the synthesis and new frameworks to colleagues in the Centre for Hybrid Intelligence (https://www.hybrid-intelligence-centre.nl/), the largest AI research initiative in the history of The Netherlands. In addition, there are opportunities to work with colleagues in the interdisciplinary Algosoc consortium (https://algosoc.org/programme). Furthermore, the postdoc will co-lead efforts to develop and validate research with societal stakeholders, as a co-lead for the Delft Algorithms, Systems & Safety (DASS) Lab, which offers a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills and realize societal impact.
The primary supervisors are: Roel Dobbe (TU Delft, AI systems and control and policy expert), Maarten de Rijke (University of Amsterdam, AI expert), Martijn Warnier (TU Delft, designing for emergence expert).
The candidate for this position has a PhD degree with a combination of engineering and computer science, and a clear track record working on artificial intelligence, algorithmic systems, human-computer interaction or systems and control. The ideal candidate will likely not have a formal background in all the above topics but ideally has a strong affinity and willingness to work in a team of people from diverse disciplines and to quickly learn and attain new research skills outside of their current training.
You need to have affinity with the design of engineering systems or data science, and have intrinsic motivation to build bridges between those building systems, those using it, those managing or supervising it, and those being affected by it.
What you are going to do?
If the vacancy appeals to you, but you are doubting whether you might be THE person we are looking for, please do apply. We encourage all qualified applicants, and we especially encourage minorities, women, people with disabilities, and members of other groups underrepresented in academia to apply. We wish to create a research lab and consortium that consists of persons who each contribute in their unique way to the team.
Developing a societal vision on automated decision making concerns us all. We believe that a diversity of perspectives in our consortium will be important in developing an inclusive societal vision and strive therefore also in our hiring policy for encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds. We are committed to creating an environment of mutual respect, inclusiveness, equal opportunities with room for situated experiences, diverse perspectives, and ideas to flourish. This commitment applies to our research, organisation, room for flexibility, training, and community activities as well as our hiring strategy.
Fixed-term contract: 3 years.
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.
This is a 3-year postdoc position. The first 1,5 years are funded, the second 1,5 years are very likely to be funded but subject to a formal 5-year review of the consortium.
Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.
At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.
Challenge. Change. Impact!
The Faculty of TPM provides an important contribution to solving complex technical-social issues, such as energy transition, mobility, digitalisation, water management and (cyber) security. TPM does this with its excellent education and research at the intersection of technology, society and policy. We combine insights from both engineering and social sciences as well as the humanities. TPM develops robust models and designs, is internationally oriented and has an extensive network of knowledge institutions, companies, social organisations and governments.
Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.
The Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) at TU Delft contributes to sustainable solutions for technological challenges in society by combining the insights from engineering with the humanities and the social sciences. The PhD-student will be positioned in the Engineering Systems and Services (ESS) department. The core activity of the department is to model, understand, forecast, and shape emerging technological innovations and user patterns in the increasingly interconnected sectors of energy, industry, mobility and ICT; and use these insights for improved design, regulation and operation of such engineering systems. ESS aims to contribute to the scholarly debate at the highest international level, and is rooted in both engineering and social sciences.
Please, submit your application online no later than February 29, 2024.
To apply, please submit the following:
For information about the application procedure, please contact Olivie Beek, HR advisor, e-mail: email@example.com. For more information about this vacancy, please contact Roel Dobbe, e-mail: R.Dobbe@tudelft.nl (do not send your application to this email adress).
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft
This application process is managed by the employer (Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)). Please contact the employer for questions regarding your application.
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A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
Make sure to apply no later than 29 Feb 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).
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