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PhD Hybrid Intelligence: Identity, reference & perspective in personal communication models

Are you eager to take up the challenge to make robots talk and develop a personal language that is sensitive to different multimodal contexts and user perspectives? Do you want to become part of an exciting team working on the forefront of communicating machines? Please apply at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

3 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
32 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


Why build AI systems that replace people if we can build AI systems that collaborate with people? Hybrid Intelligence is the combination of human and machine intelligence, expanding human intellect instead of replacing it. Our goal is to design Hybrid Intelligent systems, an approach to Artificial Intelligence that puts humans at the centre, changing the course of the ongoing AI revolution.

To collaborate with AI, such as robots, both people and systems need to understand how they perceive shared situations differently. Understanding these differences is a first step in collaborating successfully. Communication about these situations is fundamental for resolving misunderstanding, explaining perspectives and informing the other. This project addresses the phenomena of identity, reference and perspective within communicative scenarios between AI and people in real-world situations. Knowledge and awareness of the context helps communication between AI and people (successfully identifying and making reference to the world) and through communication we create the common ground for understanding the context (identifying the world from different perspectives). The project tackles these two sides of the same coin by building personal relationships between people and AI in an adaptive environment to learn how to communicate about shared multimodal situations or contexts. By building a collective memory of shared encounters, we can define what there is, what is relevant and why we care.

As a PhD on this project you will build models for multimodal situations, interpretations and shared knowledge as well as the capacity to make reference to these situations given different backgrounds and intentions and to understand references made by human collaborators. You will collaborate with many researchers on key notions such as collaborative, explainable, adaptable and responsible AI and you will receive extensive training and can use lab facilities with technical support.

Your duties

  • create and test multimodal context models for robots
  • create and test new communication models for robots
  • develop a robot train and test framework
  • carry out your research according to international standards resulting in a PhD dissertation and at least one publication per year in an A or B ranked journal or conference proceedings
  • make your research and experiments publicly available and reproducible


  • master degree in (Computational) Linguistics, Computer Science or Artificial Intelligence
  • knowledge of and experience with programming in Python
  • knowledge of and experience with Natural Language Processing
  • ​​​​​​​knowledge of and experience with multimodal data processing


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years (or 5 years in case of a 0.8 fte contract).

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge

Additional information

Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 15 April 2020.

If you are interested in other projects in addition to this position, you can upload your CV & Letter also to: http://bit.ly/HIC-VU

Uploaded CVs and Letters will be considered by other supervisors as well.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Piek Vossen
Position: Professor Computational Lexicology
E-mail: piek.vossen@vu.nl
Telephone: +31 6 81773878

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