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PhD in economic sociology, M/F, The division of data labour: How multi-level micro-work networks elucidate the social and economic dimensions of artificial intelligence

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR8623-PAOTUB-001
Workplace : ORSAY
Date of publication : Monday, May 11, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Paola Tubaro
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

This thesis explores the contribution of human work to the production of artificial intelligence (AI) based on machine learning. It uses state-of-the-art methods in network science and statistics, including multi-level social network models. The aim will be to map globalized AI production systems, by collecting data on the relationships between customers (companies that automate business processes), data vendors (platforms and other intermediaries), and at the end of the supply chain, precarious 'micro-workers' (recruited for data generation and annotation). The first two groups will be surveyed through questionnaires at international AI trade shows and congresses, while a specific survey including a 'name generator' will be conducted among micro-workers via the platforms on which they operate. This thesis is part of a larger research program on artificial intelligence workers, involving several French teams in sociology, economics, linguistics and computer science.

Work Context

The doctoral student will be supervised by Paola Tubaro, CNRS Researcher with habilitation to supervise research students, and co-supervised by Antonio A. Casilli, Professor at Telecom Paris. Paola Tubaro and Antonio Casilli have been conducting research for several years on digital platform workers and the economics of artificial intelligence. Together with their PhD students and trainees, they have formed a small informal team that shares research questions and tools, and meets regularly for seminars, workshops and training. They also co-founded the European Network on Digital Labour (ENDL), which organises international workshops on these topics twice a year, including colloquia for PhD students. The selected candidate is expected to join these groups and participate in these collective activities.

Constraints and risks

The doctoral student will be enrolled in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Doctoral School at the University of Paris-Saclay. He/she will be affiliated to the IDHES laboratory (Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Economie et de la Société), and secondarily, to the LRI (Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique), thus benefiting from dual settings in social sciences and computer science. Short-term missions in France and other European countries are planned for data collection.

Additional Information

Required skills:
- Master's degree in sociology, economics, political science or related discipline
- Good statistical skills (survey methods, questionnaire design, database construction, data visualization and analysis)
- Knowledge of social network analysis
- Familiarity with the literature on digital platform economy and/or digital labour
- Fluency in English and French
- Writing, ability to formulate and conduct a scientific project
- Autonomy, self-organization and accountability
- Ability to work in a team
- Ability to travel abroad.

Documents to be provided
Applications should include a detailed CV; at least two references (who may be contacted); a cover letter; the master's dissertation; a copy of the highest diploma obtained.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 15/06/2020

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