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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is looking for an internationally recognized scholar who will initiate and carry out research and education in Humanities and artificial intelligence (AI), as part of its university wide initiative to strengthen expertise in the area of AI. The University Professor in Humanities and AI will perform these tasks in close collaboration with colleagues in the Faculty of Humanities and with the other University Professors in AI.
Current AI research in the field of humanities encompasses attempts at understanding human speech and interpreting complex data, including images and videos. On the one hand, researchers focus on the opportunities of AI technology to increase both the scope and complexity of researching human culture based on historical and present-day sources, radically innovating the methods of what has become known as Digital Humanities research. On the other hand, researchers also note that AI technology is prone to replicate biases in the datasets it computes and that the machine’s processes of reasoning are inaccessible, both to users and even to its developers. Therefore, research in the humanities also focuses on the epistemological implications of AI, including the development of strategies for evaluating bias, detecting presupposed notions of meaning and developing recommendations for best practices and philosophical-methodological criteria. As such, this research contributes to the development of an ‘amplified intelligence’ that allows for an interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and values across the humanities and technical disciplines, and that includes human evaluators in machine-supported meaning-making processes. We can place this development in line with current on-going investigations in both explainable AI and responsible AI.
As one of the four University Professors to be appointed by the Executive Board, the chair will realise the following ambitions:
The University Professor in Humanities and AI will perform these tasks in close collaboration with colleagues in the Faculty of Humanities.
The ideal candidate will initiate new research on the intersection of Humanities and AI. The candidate connects to investigations going on in the research schools of the Faculty of Humanities such as digital humanities, media studies and philosophy including the fostering of reflection on the vast array of methodological and societal issues arising from computational practices. The candidate will also be capable of bridging AI-research in the Humanities and other academic disciplines.
Candidates for the position are expected to meet the following requirements:
Position within the University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam has taken up a leading role in the technical developments of AI and, as a comprehensive university, has invested strongly in research into the applications and societal embedding of AI. The UvA operates in an environment that devotes considerable resources to AI-research; the business community, civic organisations and (local) government are also extremely active on this front. The Executive Board expects that the appointment of four new University Professors specialised in the field of AI (AI and Information Retrieval; Law and Technology with special emphasis on AI; AI and Medical Imaging; and Humanities and AI) will invigorate the various research projects, programmes and partnerships that currently exist throughout the UvA.
The University Professorship in Humanities and AI will be appointed by the Executive Board and liaised with the Faculty of Humanities. In principle, the professorship will become part of the Faculty of Humanities after five years. To enhance their university-wide impact, University Professors are given centrally located offices as well as one at their liaised Faculty. University Professors confer regularly as a group and meet with relevant stakeholders from within and outside the UvA and participate in the activities of the research institute with which they are liaised.
The University Professor in Humanities and AI will perform the tasks in close collaboration with colleagues in the Faculty of Humanities. For research, this will be with one of the research schools of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR) and/or the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), an interfaculty research institute between the Faculties of Science and Humanities. There is also affinity with the UvA Research Priority Area Cultural Heritage & Identity.
Terms of employment
The University Professorship entails a permanent appointment that in principle converts to a chair at the Faculty of Humanities after five years. Salary and benefits will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities and with the university regulations for academic personnel, and, depending on experience, range from a minimum €5,582 to €8,127 gross per month (salary scale H2, €77,902 to €113,420 per annum, including 8% holiday pay and an 8,3% end of year payment) on a full-time basis (38 hours per week). In exceptional cases, different terms of employment may be offered.
With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.
The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.
The Faculty of Humanities not only houses an assortment of established and respected disciplines including Foreign Languages, Dutch Studies, History, Art Studies, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Philosophy, but also such new and pioneering research fields as New Media, Digital Humanities, Conservation and Restoration.
University of Amsterdam (UvA)
Spui 21, 1012 WX, Amsterdam