For our Berlin office, AlgorithmWatch is looking for a Project Lead "Auditing Algorithms for Systemic Risks"!
- Part-time (30-32 h per week)
- Desired starting date: as soon as possible
- Deadline for applications: 19.06.2023
AlgorithmWatch is a human rights organization based in Berlin and Zurich. Evaluating the social impact of algorithmic decision-making (ADM) and AI-based systems, we’re dedicated to ensuring that these systems are used to strengthen human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. All too often, they restrict people’s rights and are not deployed in their interest. To change this, we scientifically analyze algorithmic systems and how they are overseen and controlled. publish journalistic investigations, run campaigns, and advocate for effective governance frameworks.
Please visit our website, subscribe to our newsletters, or follow us on Twitter, Mastodon, or LinkedIn to get an idea of our work and see some of our team members.
Your future role
Platforms like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and others play an ever-greater role in structuring societies’ public debates, with potentially far-reaching consequences for societies. Large Language Models like ChatGPT are suddenly available to everyone with an internet connection. The power asymmetry between the global companies behind these systems and those who try to keep them in check is enormous. Civil society needs the best minds to step up to this challenge – by developing approaches to independently assess and audit the broad impact these systems have on human rights, justice, and democracy, and to hold those behind them accountable.
You will coordinate a team of outstanding policy and advocacy experts, legal and social scientists, and campaigners to develop and test ideas and methods to conduct “adversarial audits” of algorithmic systems – starting with, but not limited to, platforms’ recommender and moderation systems. You will closely collaborate with our policy and advocacy team to communicate the results to policy makers and the general public to bring about effective enforcement structures and to call out misuse. If you are looking for a combination of cutting-edge, in-depth research with direct impact, this job is for you.
In detail, this means:
- You develop and test ideas and methods to conduct genuine adversarial audits to exert public scrutiny over the use of algorithmic systems, inter alia by making use of the DSA’s and other laws‘ options to access and analyze platform data.
- You assess where current options to directly access data have its limits, and what additional auditing approaches are needed to exert public scrutiny and increase accountability.
- You coordinate the activities of our team working on the issue, consisting of a senior researcher in ethics, a policy and advocacy manager, and a campaigning and PR manager, interacting directly with the Head of Policy & Advocacy and the Executive Director.
- You co-develop and coordinate the development of AlgorithmWatch’s policy positions on the issue, and you are part of advocating for them vis-à-vis decision makers – in writing as well as in person.
- You liaise with our global network of outstanding academics to pool our and their expertise to co-develop ideas and methods, in order to maximize impact. In consultation with the team, you commission external experts for selected tasks and analyses and oversee their work.
- You build and intensify coalitions with like-minded organizations and develop strategies to call out misuse and harm and to massively increase the accountability of platforms to the people affected by their actions.
- You publish your results in the form of discussion and research papers and policy positions, with the option of occasional publications in academic journals – providing the opportunity to build a track record for yourself in one of the most current and relevant fields of political, social, and data science.
What you bring to the role
- You have a background in data science, social sciences, computer science, science and technology studies, economics, engineering, the humanities, or any other discipline appropriate for this task, and good knowledge of statistical methods; familiarity with machine learning is an asset.
- You have several years of experience in interdisciplinary research using both theoretical and experimental methods, including coordinating such research.
- You have good knowledge of platform research, platform governance, or both (depending on your previous work and focus), the current scientific approaches and debates, and the institutions involved. You have an established network in either academia, politics, or civil society.
- Your judgment and strategic thinking are excellent, and you are motivated to develop and carry out innovative approaches to real-world problems.
- You are reliable, proactive, and keen to develop ownership and take on responsibility.
- You speak English fluently and your written communication is persuasive across a variety of formats, from discussion papers to issue briefs. Your oral communication skills are equally strong. You are proficient in German and able to follow the current political debates and participate in meetings conducted in German.
- You are motivated to represent our organization in various contexts and to get in touch with diverse groups of people, and you are willing to travel to events (max. three days, limited number of occasions).
- You identify with our values and are motivated to contribute to our mission of protecting human rights and the common good.
What we offer
- You contribute to making society more fair, democratic, inclusive, and sustainable.
- You work in a multi-disciplinary team of diverse, dedicated, and enthusiastic colleagues based in Berlin and Zurich and with an amazing network of academics, civil society partners, and policy makers.
- A supportive and appreciative environment, with a team culture that allows to both celebrate successes and share flops and lessons learned. We organize team retreats, events and skill-sharing workshops, team coachings (need-based) and more.
- Ample resources – in the form of highly-qualified colleagues and a budget to commission outside expertise – and flexible structures to accomplish your goals.
- You enjoy a high level of autonomy, responsibility, and creative possibilities, coordinating with the Head of Policy & Advocacy and the Executive Director.
- Flexible working hours and home office arrangements with 30 days of vacation; overtime is compensated with time off in lieu; optional occupational pension provision.
- A position with perspective: We support you in your professional development according to your skills and interests with individual and team-based training opportunities.
- 5,000 Euro gross monthly salary (full-time equivalent); find information about how gross salary and net income are calculated in Germany here. Please note: We’re working on an update of our salary structure; special benefits will soon be introduced.
- A part-time contract with 30 - 32 hours/week; initially for 3 years, but we pursue a continued employment and a long-term collaboration.
To support and secure an appreciative and empowering team spirit, we defined values and principles for our team in our mission statement.
Did we get your attention? Please apply now!
AlgorithmWatch is committed to equal treatment and equal opportunity. We strive to have a diverse team and diverse directive boards. We believe that a diversity of perspectives on the team is essential for the task of adequately researching and controlling algorithmic systems. We encourage applications from people who experience(d) discrimination, as well as people with migration or refugee biographies, Black and people of color, or LGBTIQ.
We are constantly working on designing an environment that is inclusive to all people. We understand this as a process in which we have to listen and learn, detect privileges and question them – and act upon it. In case you think that we fall short on this aspiration during the recruiting process, we would appreciate your feedback.
You share our goals and would like to be a part of our team? You would like to get to know us better? We’re looking forward to your application – even if not every aspect in our job posting applies to you!
Please send the following via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (please don’t include a photo, your birth date, or your family status):
- A short cover letter and your CV (German or English)
- A sample of your work – a policy document, position paper, campaign website, press release or similar – accompanied by a brief explanation of your role in its creation
We’ll send you a confirmation that we received it and, if your profile is a good match, we will get back to as soon as possible. If you have any questions, Matthias, our Executive Director, will be happy to answer them (email@example.com). Interviews take place in persona or via video conference. We can cover your travel expenses within a reasonable range (in case the German employment agency doesn’t).