PhD position – Biometric limits
20 January, 2020
Uppsala University, Department of Informatics and Media
Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 45,000 students, 7,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 7 billion.
The Department of Informatics and Media (http://www.im.uu.se/?languageId=1) has a broad research profile based on research in the disciplines Media and Communication Studies, Human-Computer Interaction and Information Systems. In Media and Communication Studies research is focused on social and cultural change connected to communication, media and digitalization. The accepted candidate must have been admitted as doctoral student to the Department of Informatics and Media and the PhD program in Media and Communication Studies.
This PhD student position is part of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program on Humanities and Society (WASP-HS) and aims to realize excellent research and develop competence on the consequences and challenges of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems for the individual person and society. This 10-year program is initiated and generously funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation (MMW) with 660 million SEK. In addition to this, the program receives support from collaborating industry and from participating universities. Major goals are more than 10 new faculty positions and more than 70 new PhDs. For more information about the research and other activities conducted within WASP-HS please visit http://wasp-hs.org/.
The WASP-HS graduate school provides foundations, perspectives, and state-of-the-art knowledge in the different disciplines taught by leading researchers in the field. Through an ambitious program with research visits, partner universities, and visiting lecturers, the graduate school actively supports forming a strong multi-disciplinary and international professional network between PhD students, researchers and practitioners in the field. It thus provides added value on top of the existing PhD programs at the partner universities, providing unique opportunities for students who are dedicated to achieving international research excellence with societal relevance.
Duties/Project description: The position is a fully salaried PhD student position (doktorandtjänst), equivalent to a maximum of four-year full-time PhD studies. The holder of the PhD student position shall primarily devote her/himself to her/his own doctoral study (see theme below). Active participation in departmental activities as well as activities within the WASP-HS graduate school is expected. Other tasks, including teaching and administrative work, can also be part of the employment (for a maximum of 20%). The language of teaching is English.
The project BioMe: Existential Challenges and Ethical Imperatives of Biometric AI in Everyday Lifeworlds, headed by Associate Professor Amanda Lagerkvist in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University, sets out to study the ever-growing role of biometrics within the human lifeworld. From the perspective of how humans experience these technologies, the project will study a range of phenomena, for example voice- and face recognition algorithms in preemptive policing driven by meta-data, health apps, biometric passports, smart home devices, as well as sensory data capture on screens. Beyond provokingimmediate questions about privacy infringement and security, biometrics is at our fingertips, nailing us to personality types, proclaiming ‘risky individuals’, and discerning our desires, value and psychic health, thus evoking even larger existential and ethical questions about human dignity, social prejudice and transparency. The project focuses on both possibilities as well as challenges and vulnerabilities of these technologies: how our existence, what singles us out as individuals, is impacted by datafication; how people experience biometrics in their lives and in their work lives; how the surveillance aspects of biometrics affect exposed groups, such as migrants and HBTQ+-groups, and how artistic interventions may challenge these developments.
Within the framework of BioMe the hired doctoral candidate is expected to contribute to new knowledge about both the limits of biometric technologies, and of strategies of living against facial recognition and other technologies that turn bodies into data, through machine-basedmeasurement and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical characteristics. In addition to offering knowledge about consequences of AI, in line with the aims of WASP-HS, this PhD project will discern potential alternatives to the developments at hand. This dissertation will add to the project an in-depth interrogation of various existential strategies for challenging and evading biometrics, thereby also highlighting those ethical issues and potential resolves discernible at the limits of biometrics.
Requirements: For admission to the PhD program in Media and Communication Studies, an applicant must have basic and specific eligibility prescribed by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Anyone with a degree on the advanced level (i.e. a master’s degree), that has completed course requirements of at least 240 credits (including at least 60 credits at advanced level) has fulfilled the basic entry requirements. The specific eligibility requirements for admission to the PhD program in Media and Communication require that the applicant has passed courses of 90 credits in Media and Communication Studies. Anyone that in any other way, in or out of the country, has acquired equivalent knowledge is also considered to fulfil the basic or specific eligibility requirements, respectively. We are seeking a candidate with well documented knowledge in media and communication studies. Knowledge in philosophy, information systems and computer science is a merit.
Candidates should have a good overview of the humanities and/or the social sciences and a strong interest in research. Great importance will be attached to the candidate’s personal suitability for the post. Sought for qualifications are teamwork abilities, initiative, independence and a reflective and analytic approach. Very good communicative skills are required, including the excellent command of written and spoken English.
When the University employs new doctoral students, the candidates will be chosen who after a qualitative evaluation of competence and skills are deemed to have the best capacity to fulfill work duties as well as contributing to a positive development of the research environment. Of vital importance is the capacity to finish the doctoral program.
Qualifications must be documented so that quality as well as extent can be evaluated. Candidates should be available for interview, either in person in Uppsala or via Internet.
A complete application must include:
- Filled out form applying for admission to the doctoral program in Media and Communication Studies. http://uadm.uu.se/digitalAssets/81/81624_ansokan_forskarniva_eng.pdf
- A short letter documenting 1) The motives why you are applying, your research interest and relevant experiences for the PhD student post (max 500 words) 2) A list of the documents handed in to support the application 3) If more than one academic work is handed in, you should name one of them to be prioritized by the admission committee.
- A dissertation plan (two pages). The plan should cover theoretical approach, aim, research questions, type of data, method and time plan, and relate itself to the project BioMe and the aims of WASP-HS.
- Curriculum Vitae/Résumé, including English proficiency with certified transcript(s) of your academic record/degree(s) to date, proving the basic and specific eligibility.
- Two letters of recommendation
- A copy of independently written work produced within the applicant’s course of studies (e.g. bachelor or master thesis; include a draft if not completed) or other relevant text(s)
- Other documents the applicant may wish to attach, e.g. English test results.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Further information on PhD studies at Uppsala University: https://www.uu.se/en/admissions/phd-studies/
Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University’s rules and guidelines http://regler.uu.se/?languageId=1s
Uppsala University strives to be an inclusive workplace that promotes equal opportunities and attracts qualified candidates who can contribute to the University’s excellence and diversity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and from people of all backgrounds.
Salary: According to local agreement for PhD students.
Starting date: 2020-08-31 or as otherwise agreed.
Type of employment: Temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7.
Scope of employment: 100 %
For further information about the position please contact: Jenny Eriksson Lundström, Head of Department: firstname.lastname@example.org , Amanda Lagerkvist, Researcher: email@example.com ; Göran Svensson, Head of Subject MCS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please submit your application by 20 January 2020, UFV-PA 2019/4223.
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