3 PhD positions at Linköbing University

We are currently accepting applications to 3 fully funded, 4 year PhD positions associated with the research project, ‘The ethics and social consequences of AI and caring robots. Learning trust, empathy and accountability’.

(deadline 30 January 2020, start date August 2020).

The project is led by Ericka Johnson and Katherine Harrison at Tema Genus, Linköping University, Sweden. More information can be found: https://liu.se/en/research/caring-robots

The PhD positions are fully funded (i.e. provide full-employment within the Swedish system, including paid holidays and other standard social benefits, etc.) and can be extended up to a fifth year by teaching opportunities if applicable.

Position 1: Designing care robots

What bodies are assumed in the design of companion robots, and how does the design of the robot affect its interactions with humans? This project focuses on how care and affect are materialised in the body of the companion robot, with particular critical attention to intersections of gender, ethnicity and ability. An additional area of inquiry could examine how the material design features of the robot’s body are mediated through affective programming software to produce a more intimate encounter. 

Position 2: Learning data for companion robots. 

How can robots learn to care when collecting data on relevant humans may be limited for ethical reasons? Or if real data contain bias, on which data should you train your data? Generative machine learning techniques (such as generative adversarial networks (GANs)) offer a solution to problems with “real” data such as scarce availability, labour intensity of data labelling, data biases, or privacy intrusiveness. This project comprises a critical inquiry into the production/collection of data sets used to help companion robots learn, and particularly the possibility of using GANs to assist with this. 

Position 3: The affective space between human and companion robots

Current advances in robotics often focuses on refining robots to learn about and respond better to humans. However, interacting well with a robot also requires significant learning on the part of the human participant. This project focuses on the affective space between human and robot, and the work that both participants must learn to do to create an emotional relation characterised by care and trust. 

Interested? Please contact us with any questions (Ericka Johnson <ericka.johnson@liu.se> and Katherine Harrison <katherine.harrison@liu.se>)

Applications are made through the Linköping University web interface: https://liu.se/en/work-at-liu/vacancies?rmpage=job&rmjob=12652&rmlang=UK