Provost’s PhD Project Award

The Centre for Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin is pleased to announce the availability of one funded PhD position to deliver a thesis project entitled “Language, Culture and the Empowerment Gap of Artificial Intelligence”. The 4-year project, supervised by Dr Jennifer Edmond, has been generously supported by the Trinity College Dublin Provost’s PhD Awards fund, which cover full fees (EU or non-EU rates) as well as a stipend of €16,650.

The area of the research to be carried out falls into the Digital Humanities subfield of ‘Critical Digital Humanities,’ and is as follows: Of the many aspects of human endeavour where potentially detrimental intrusions by AI are either being seen or forecast, one of the most concerning is AI’s potential to encroach upon the effective function of democratic processes within Western civil society. Democracy requires the efficient function of a variety of knowledge and information-sharing mechanisms that AI, as a powerful, subtle and technologically complex form of knowledge technology, can easily disrupt. This project proposes that one of the major factors underpinning this potential threat is an empowerment gap being driven by unrecognised faults in the communication instruments being used to negotiate a future for AI that respects both the social needs it can meet and technological potential it can fulfil.

Following a stranded approach that will look critically and comparatively at this major challenge from several relevant and complementary perspectives, the project will use a multi-layered, humanities-based, mixed methods approach to the analysis of the discourse at the centre of this conflict, its origins and the practices it implies, to propose innovative approaches to addressing the challenges AI presents to democracy. The project will result in several pieces of significant research, leading to the development of fundamental knowledge regarding gaps between the needs of democracy in the face of AI and the measures being taken or proposed to protect it. As such, it will be able to underpin and inform further work toward solutions to empower civic participation and democratic practices enhanced by meaningful communications between actors about AI, and co-creation of protections against possible negative effects.

If you are interested in the position, please send a copy of your CV/resume and a statement on why you want to undertake this PhD project under this supervision by 26th April 2021. You should also include some information on your relevant experience of research, and of digital humanities and/or science and technology studies (if any) as related to the project. Promising candidates will be provided with a longer description of the proposed project and be invited to interview with Dr Edmond.

Expressions of interest should be sent to: