PhD position 06 – MSCA COFUND, AI4theSciences (PSL, France) – “The politics of coding” in Paris at Universite PSL
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PhD position 06 – MSCA COFUND, AI4theSciences (PSL, France) – “The politics of coding” in Paris at Universite PSL

Company Name: Universite PSL | Location: Paris | Type: Job | Last Date to Apply: 2021-03-01

“Artificial intelligence for the Sciences” (AI4theSciences) is an innovative, interdisciplinary and intersectoral PhD programme, led by Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL) and co-funded by the European Commission. Supported by the European innovation and research programme Horizon 2020-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, AI4theSciences is uniquely shaped to train a new generation of researchers at the highest academic level in their main discipline (Physics, Engineering, Biology, Human and Social Sciences) and master the latest technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which apply in their own field.26 doctoral students will join the PSL university’s doctoral schools in 2 academic cohorts to carry out work on subjects suggested and defined by PSL’s scientific community. The 2020 call will offer up to 15 PhD positions on 24 PhD research projects. The candidates will be recruited through HR processes of high standard, based on transparency, equal opportunities and excellence. Description of the PhD subject: “The politics of coding” Context – MotivationThe proposed doctoral research, “The politics of coding”, starts from the observation of a double-evolution in late modernity.On the one hand, the frontier between man and machines is under continuous re-negotiation. The instability of this distinction generates uncertainty and observable unrest in democratic values, social institutions, and personal relations. On the other hand, we live in a moment of continuous advances made in the modification or supplementing of the human body through a variety of technologies, for example the development a range of prosthetic devices, implants, brain-computer interfaces, neural implants, engineered human tissue, and chemical modifications. These interventions all have in common the fact that they take the ‘human’ as a given, then seek to enhance it, improve it, care for it, or better exploit it through a variety technical means.Algorithmic code increasingly plays the role of simulating human mental functions. While the scope of human activities reproduced through algorithms is growing in quantity, they are also evolving rapidly in quality. Coders have long ago surpassed the primary task of recreating purely logical functions and instrumental procedures. The new challenges for creators of algorithms turn increasingly toward simulation of ‘human’ functions beyond pure logic: moral judgement, aesthetic appreciation, emotions, imagination, intuition, etc. Although a wide range of philosophical analyses have dealt with the evolution of the notion ‘humanity’ relative to the evolution of machines, exploring the limits of the human beings, etc., none have attempted to chart and analyse how the human and the machine increasingly co-constitute each other.This project asks: what form does the transfer of ‘the human’ take across the digital divide? To what extent and in what form can human moral qualities, traditionally thought to be irreducible, be transferred to algorithms? In other words, how is ‘humanity’ coded? What are the technical particularities of code that represent human qualities, for example dignity, autonomy, liberty, or responsibility? To what extent can the knowledge and the practices of the human sciences apply to algorithmic coding? Which algorithmic tools are available for simulating the human? Scientific Objectives, Methodology & Expected resultsImportance of artificial intelligence One of the pillars of the project will be a conceptualisation of the artificial intelligence for the human sciences. Relatively few scientific studies have succeeded in translating the rapidly evolving science of artificial intelligence into terms that permit it to be understood, assessed, integrated into the human and social sciences. The tacit, two-way aim of the research will be to improve the ‘humanity’ of AI while at the same generating new human and social scientific insight into the technical dimensions of AI. Interest and relevance in the subject area Any contribution to the understanding and critical analysis of AI in human and social scientific terms will in itself be a significant contribution to the state of scientific research. Current research in the human and social sciences is rife with misinformation and misunderstanding, even while the presence of AI touches an increasing range of the objects and processes that are the objects of these sciences. Challenges and impacts expected The fundamental challenge will be that of managing interdisciplinarity in the shaping of both theory and method. The fields of political theory and artificial intelligence lie far from each in their ontologies and their methodologies. Careful calibration of the their common trajectory will be necessary. The impact of the proposed research is potentially great. A fully developed set of political concepts which can accompany and enrich the development of AI will have a significant impact on the quality and the viability of coming systems. International mobilityThe doctoral researcher will be invited to an internship/collaboration with the ERC Advance Researcher project Counting as a Human Being in the Era of Computational Law COHUBICOL, at the Research Group Law, Science, Technology and Society of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium). Thesis supervisionJ. Peter Burgess and Jean-Gabriel Ganascia PSLCreated in 2012, Université PSL is aiming at developing interdisciplinary training programmes and science projects of excellence within its members. Its 140 laboratories and 2,900 researchers carry out high-level disciplinary research, both fundamental and applied, fostering a strong interdisciplinary approach. The scope of Université PSL covers all areas of knowledge and creation (Sciences, Humanities and Social Science, Engineering, the Arts). Its eleven component schools gather 17,000 students and have won more than 200 ERC. PSL has been ranked 36th in the 2020 Shanghai ranking (ARWU).Required Research Experiences RESEARCH FIELD Political sciences YEARS OF RESEARCH EXPERIENCE 1 – 4 Offer Requirements REQUIRED EDUCATION LEVEL Political sciences: Master Degree or equivalent REQUIRED LANGUAGES ENGLISH: Excellent Skills/QualificationsM2 (MSc) in Political Science with a strong emphasis in Political Theory or modern Political Philosophy.Fluent in English, both spoken and written.Publication experience and fluency in other languages are an advantage.