In recent years, the ethical implications of modern AI technologies in everyday applications have rightfully gained significant attention. It is becoming widespread knowledge that these technologies propagate/mimic biases present in modern-day societies into their predictions.
At the UvA, we seek to develop systems that benefit society as a whole. Therefore, it is vital, now more than ever, that we rely on a wide range of perspectives to prevent such biases in our systems. As a research group, this allows us to become aware of possible societal/ethical faults in the methods we develop, which otherwise might go unnoticed by the individual.
As such, we believe that diverse perspectives are of utmost necessity for developing AI systems that act in favor of all. Hence, through UvA Inclusive AI, we seek to aid and accommodate individuals from traditionally underrepresented societal groups into joining the AI research team at the UvA.
Our core contribution is twofold:
1. We seek to create ethical AI, for which we postulate that a diverse team of AI researchers is essential. Hence, we seek to amplify underrepresented voices in this field by means of, among others, networking events and conference visits.
2. We acknowledge that some forms of the under-representation stem from systemic societal imbalances. Without making such prior assumptions for the individual, we seek to alleviate these imbalances by providing personalized mentoring where necessary.
We have taken inspiration from organisations such as Black in AI, Women in ML, Queer in AI, Latinx in ML, and Jews in ML, which all aim to celebrate diversity and foster participation from underrepresented groups in AI. The IAI establishes a similar space for students of AI Master at the UvA.
We currently offer a mentorship scheme for students of the UvA AI master’s program. Each student will be assigned a mentor from the IAI programme which will be selected according to the student and mentor’s preferences when possible.
The programme lasts for one academic year with an opportunity to extend, as long as the student is enrolled at UvA.
Mentees should expect to be able to:
– Ask their mentor for advice, e.g. how to write a CV or motivation letter, where to apply for jobs, when to apply for PhDs, share their personal experience.
– Network with other students and be part of the IAI community.
– Connect with other researchers via social get-togethers, virtual/on-site conferences, invited talks, etc.
Meanwhile, as a mentor, you will be responsible for creating a safe environment where mentees feel comfortable asking for academic guidance. Furthermore, you are part of the community, and as such, we ask you to make an effort to attend our events regularly: we want to create a space where like-minded people from diverse backgrounds can interact and share, and ideally, we can offer a wide range of perspectives from different backgrounds. In the current section, we will outline the scope of what we can and cannot help our mentees with.
We ask for a commitment of at least one academic year.
Mentors are expected to help with CV writing, and motivation letters. We specialize in academic CVs, we can of course give general advice that is of use to company applications too, but again, we emphasis on academic CV writing/motivation letters. Also, mentors are expected to offer feedback on how to present research.
Mentees and mentors are expected to adhere to the UvA-IAI code of conduct.
– Privacy is important to us. Do not share details about others that they have not explicitly made public. This includes, but is not limited to, sexuality, gender, medical conditions, housing, relationships or financial status.
– Aggression and elitism are unwelcome – knowledge is not a competition. After all you are here to support each other, so do that whenever you can.
– Do not engage in homophobic, racist, transphobic, ableist, sexist, or otherwise exclusionary behaviour. Do not make jokes related to these either. Use people’s preferred pronouns (don’t be afraid to ask).
– Harassment will not be tolerated in any form. Under no circumstances should a mentor be romantically involved with their mentee. Should romantic feelings develop nonetheless, we will reassign mentor and mentee.
– We take collective responsibility for making all members feel welcome and agree to act accordingly.
Are you a PhD or faculty member working on AI,
and want to become a mentor yourself?
Submit your application now!