Free open Job in Australasia Research Fellow at The Australian National University

Classification: Academic Level B
Salary Package: $98,009-$111,365 AUD per annum plus 17% superannuation
Term:  Full time, fixed term (3 years, with the possibility of extension to 5 years total). Proposed start date July 2019

The Australian National University is seeking a world-class academic to join a team of social scientists, philosophers, and computer scientists, to make Australia a global leader in the field of moral AI.

Position overview

The Australian National University (ANU) is one of the world’s foremost research universities. Distinguished by its relentless pursuit of excellence, the University attracts leading academics and outstanding students from Australia and around the world.

The ANU is launching a major new project on Humanising Machine Intelligence, uniting social scientists, philosophers, and computer scientists in the pursuit of a more ethical future for AI and Machine Learning.

One Research Fellow position will be based in the ANU Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, with a broad focus on the political dimension of the project. 

We strongly encourage applications from people with PhDs in Politics, Political Science, Political Philosophy, or International Relations, with a background working in any relevant subfield. Prior experience working on machine intelligence is advantageous but not required.

Machine intelligence is already used in innumerable applications that, while not explicitly morally-loaded, have clear and profound social implications, from facial recognition, to the distribution of online attention. It is also used to support decisions that have explicit moral dimensions, for example about how to allocate welfare resources, and whom to grant bail or parole. And the application of MI in fully autonomous decision-making systems (robotic and otherwise) is picking up pace. Self-driving vehicles, autonomous weapons systems, and companion robots are the first wave of such systems; many more are on the way. Many companies and governments are also heavily invested in developing more general, multipurpose forms of AI. All of these autonomous systems must be able to make morally-loaded decisions by themselves.

In each of these fields inadequate attention to ethics in the design of MI systems will predictably have negative social consequences, some of which could be catastrophic. The goal of the HMI project is to forestall those risks, and help to realise the tremendous social benefits promised by MI.

The ANU are looking for up to eight talented researchers to help us humanise machine intelligence. Our primary criterion is demonstrated research excellence in a discipline area relevant to the project, and the clear potential to be research leaders in their disciplines and in the field of moral AI. An interdisciplinary background is not required, but successful applicants will be ready and equipped to engage with scholars from other disciplines, and are expected to work actively with scholars from at least two of the project’s discipline areas.

Successful applicants will help us design the next generation of more ethical MI systems, in part through publishing internationally influential research in the leading peer-reviewed venues. We expect them to go on from the ANU to leading positions in academia and industry. As well as conducting research at the highest level, they will help build the HMI community, through convening a regular seminar series and international workshops.

For further information and to submit an application, please visit:

Applications close: 10 Feb 2019 11:55:00 PM AUS Eastern Daylight Time 


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