Artificial Intelligence (AI) has recently become very successful and has made a huge impact in our lives. However, this success has an important downside as well: the novel machine-learning methods on which this success depends behave (for us) like a black box. The reason behind the predictions and decisions made by AI-products are rarely well-understood, not even by experts. Worse, such predictions and decisions are well-known to be biased as well. All of this leads to unwelcome consequences, typically to the disadvantage of members of underrepresented social groups. For this reason and more, we are looking for a colleague who can reflect upon these recent developments in AI and teach on its philosophical foundations.
In the context of the sector plan for the Humanities titled ‘Tradition in transition’, the Department of Philosophy currently has a vacant Assistant Professor position as part of the research theme Humane AI. Within this research theme the focus is on data and platforms for social, cultural, and economic innovation.
What are you going to do?
You will provide education in a dynamic context with ample opportunities for the development of innovative teaching methods. Your research will be part of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), one of the six research schools of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research. The position will be embedded within the Department of Philosophy in the capacity group of Logic & Language, Mind and Behaviour.
The ILLC is the leading research institute in the interdisciplinary area dealing with the investigation of information, information exchange, and cognition with formal and mathematical methods. It is deeply rooted in the Amsterdam logic research tradition dating back to the early twentieth century and covers the disciplines of mathematics, music, linguistics, computer science, philosophy and artificial intelligence with staff members from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. The Logic & Language, Mind and Behaviour group (LLA) has its research focus in interpretive and argumentative processes, and the role of linguistic, sociobiological and cognitive components involved in such processes. Among LLA’s areas of expertise are also philosophical methodologies, including formal, computational and data-driven ones. The group offers teaching mainly in logic, philosophy of language and cognition, philosophy of AI and history and philosophy of logic, mathematics, and linguistics.
Tasks and responsibilities:
- Actively contributing to the ILLC research area of explainable and responsible AI;
- conducting independent research, resulting in academic publications in peer-reviewed international journals and/or books;
- actively pursuing external funding for research, notably funding from research councils, national as well as European;
- actively contributing to and developing national and international research networks and other forms of cooperation;
- developing, coordinating and teaching courses in both Dutch and English, in the BA and MA Philosophy and MSc Logic programmes;
- supervising Bachelor and Master theses and tutoring students; co-supervising PhD theses;
- actively contributing to the development and improvement of the broader teaching programmes in the department;
- taking part in committees and working groups, and carrying out departmental administrative tasks as directed;
- actively contributing to the interdisciplinary collaboration of the sector plan research theme Humane AI.
What do you have to offer?
You are a dynamic and ambitious researcher with a strong profile, demonstrable by international publications and an international academic network. Your publications show broad knowledge of the philosophy of explainable and responsible AI, familiarity, working knowledge and/or acquaintance with e.g. NLP, machine learning, data science and/or (philosophical) logic, and topics such as algorithm auditing, tool criticism, and data awareness. Your research matches the profile of the Institute of Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC).
You are able to develop and provide teaching modules at all levels, in particular in the philosophy of artificial intelligence and theoretical philosophy, including logic, and text-based courses with intensive training of academic skills. The latter include but is not limited to careful and precise close reading, presentation techniques and academic philosophy writing. Familiarity with teaching philosophical methods and the ability to also teach related subjects such as philosophy of science, and the history of analytic philosophy is a definite advantage. You have proven flexibility in teaching on topics beyond your own research focus, a willingness to work in interdisciplinary teams of teachers and the ability to offer inspiring lectures and tutorials in the BA, MA and minor programmes that aspire to a wide range of students.
Your experience and profile:
- international academic network in the research area concerned;
- research output commensurate with the level of the position;
- active and ambitious researcher with a strong publication record;
- demonstrable ability and ambition to obtain external research grants;
- broad and relevant teaching experience at BA and MA level including the supervision of MA theses;
- excellent command of both Dutch and English. If you do not speak Dutch, an active and passive command must be acquired within the first two years of the employment contract and the state examination for Dutch as a Second Language programme II must be passed;
- experience with digital and audiovisual teaching facilities and affinity with IT in university teaching;
- excellent organisational experience and skills;
- a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ; Dutch: BKO), or willing to acquire this within the first two years of the employment contract.
What can we offer you?
We offer permanent employment upon a satisfactory evaluation following a temporary employment contract of a maximum of 18 months with a probationary period of two months. If you already have an employment contract with the UvA, we offer permanent employment upon a satisfactory evaluation following a temporary employment contract of a maximum of 12 months. The employment is for 38 hours per week. Preferred starting date is 01 August 2023.
The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week, ranges between € 3,974 (scale 11) to € 6,181 (scale 12) dependent on relevant experience. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.
The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.
The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.
The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) embraces curiosity-driven research and serves as a rallying point for information scientists across traditional research fields, ranging from AI, computer science and mathematics to linguistics, cognitive science and philosophy. ILLC's scientific mission is to study the formal properties of information, viz. the fundamental structure and properties of processes of encoding, transmitting and comprehending information. The latter notion is to be viewed in its broadest sense, covering not only the mathematical and algorithmic properties of formal languages, but also the flow of information in natural language processing and in human cognitive activities such as reasoning.
Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.
Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact (during office hours):
If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 02 March 2023.
Applications should include the following information (submitted in one pdf):
- a letter of motivation;
- a detailed CV;
- the names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.
Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.
The interviews will be held in the course of Spring 2023. A trial lecture may be part of the application procedure.
The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.