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[Filed Position] Post Doctoral scholarship public participation and AI

The SciencesPo médialab offers a doctoral scholarship in the framework of the international research project "Shaping 21st Century AI. Controversies and Closure in Media, Policy, and Research" (SHAPING AI). The project will interrogate Artificial Intelligence as a socio-technical issue.

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AI is not only an innovative technology that is gradually being integrated into our societies. It also implies a particular approach for solving social problems and new ways of organising public spheres. However, the combination of technological developments, massive investments but also the many controversies it generates, indicates that AI is still in a formative phase. SHAPING AI will study these dynamics by mapping, analysing and comparing the global trajectories and regional ecologies of AI in four different countries — Canada, France, the United Kingdom and Germany — and in three different areas — the media, public policy and research communities. 

In each of these different but intertwined contexts, the project will use the methods of social science, digital sociology and design research to highlight the assumptions and the forces driving the intersections between computational technologies and society. Through these different means, the project responds to the strong demand for new expertises and visions to inform the understanding of 21st century AI developments in society and to shape AI for the benefit of the public.

Key Responsibilities

One of the key axes will be the development and experimentation of innovative methods for public participation (journalists, politicians, researchers, and then citizens). Based on recent articulations between design, anthropology and STS, the candidate will be confronted with one of the major societal challenges of computational technologies: what does it mean to participate in the development of AI? How to build reflexive situations and postures in the fields of communication, public policies and research? In more detail, the candidate will contribute to :

  • The elaboration of an original research posture to question the forms of participation in AI;
  • The construction of participatory activities for the different audiences concerned by the project theme and their implementation in the consortium countries;
  • The follow-up of the relevant literature; 
  • Participation in the international research network;
  • Support for the implementation of sub-studies (e.g. on political debates and AI regulation, on the media debate and on scientific research in France);
  • Publication of scientific articles in leading international journals, submission of papers to conferences and development of knowledge transfer formats for a wider audience, e.g. through events, blog posts, etc; 
  • Support and expansion of existing scientific networks of the medialab.

Requirements and Preferred Qualifications

The candidate must master the methods of construction and analysis of public participation situations. The ability to adapt them to international and specific contexts is a fundamental requirement. 

Ideally, the candidate should have experience of societal dynamics related to the development of AI. 

Knowledge and mastery of STS disciplines and approaches and their link with design disciplines is highly desirable.

Experience in the sociology of digital worlds, especially with regard to numerical methods and data visualisation, would be a plus.

Resources & Benefits

The candidate will be working at the medialab of SciencesPo, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris and with a team of researchers, engineers and designers. The position starts in February 2021 for 36 months, 0,8 FTE.

The proposed gross salary is 2500 € / month. The position includes full health coverage, 40 days paid holidays per year, 5 RTT, 50% public transport and restaurant tickets.

  • Independent research and creative opportunities to develop a personal scientific profile.
  • International project context with a highly visible and relevant topic. 
  • Strong international and interdisciplinary networking and cooperation with renowned project partners.
  • An attractive and family-friendly working environment with flexible working hours, flat hierarchies in an embodied alternative to the traditional science business

Application Instructions

We look forward to receiving, before january the 15th, your applications (send to recrutement.medialab@sciencespo.fr) accompanied by 

  • a cover letter; 
  • a CV; 
  • relevant certificates;
  • one or more relevant texts (articles, dissertation, etc.) ;
  • a letter of recommendation.
  • A 2-page document and a visual sketch with the first methodological and practical perspectives for public participation in the framework of the SHAPING AI project should be attached, covering the following points: What contribution can your project make to existing work in the field? What resources will you use or need? What forms of textual, historical, visual or computational practices are relevant to your proposal? 

The call for applications will remain online and thus open until a suitable applicant is found. The careful screening and selection of our new team members is very important to us and we ask for your understanding that we will conduct several selection interviews during the process. If you have any questions regarding the content of the position, please contact Donato Ricci.