[Air-L] 3 doctoral positions: caring robots

Katherine Harrison katherine.harrison at gmail.com
Tue Dec 10 12:06:25 PST 2019

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
(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:

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

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 at liu.se> and Katherine Harrison <katherine.harrison at liu.se>)

Applications are made through the Linköping University web interface:

More information about the Air-L mailing list