Feminist Generative AI Lab

The Feminist Generative AI Lab is a joint research Lab based at TU Delft and Erasmus University of Rotterdam. The Lab pioneers research at the intersection of generative AI, design, and data feminism.

Feminist Generative AI Lab

Attention: There are four PhD vacancies for this lab, below you find the vacancies at TU Delft and at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Recognizing the recent developments in generative AI technology and its widespread impact, the lab addresses the ethical challenges and opportunities inherent in this transformative field through a theoretical feminist lens. A feminist approach to technology goes beyond gender. Broadly understood, it is an approach that aims for less dominating alternatives, thinks beyond binary oppositions and embraces pluralism and difference.

Recent advances in generative AI technology, marked by increased accessibility and broad applicability across diverse contexts, have the potential to revolutionize societal structures, professions, activities, and human interactions. This brings forth exciting opportunities alongside significant ethical concerns. Such concerns arise from the lack of diversity in gender, race, and cultural narratives throughout the development and application of AI. Such tendencies intentionally and unintentionally perpetuate and reinforce systemic discriminations and inequalities, and prioritize profit over societal well-being, justice, and inclusion. The adoption of generative AI technologies at scale can propagate and amplify these risks, necessitating urgent exploration of the implications, pitfalls, and potentials of generative AI from an ethical standpoint.

Our research Lab applies feminist AI principles to the design, development, and deployment of generative AI solutions to support empowerment, inclusion, and justice across diverse domains. We examine and address aspects like intersectionality, hierarchies, and power structures within generative AI by employing methods such as participation, pluralism, and embodiment. This approach entails investigating various strategies to integrate AI, design, and data feminism, leveraging a multidisciplinary environment that merges expertise and methods from design, social sciences, and artificial intelligence. Together, we strive to chart a path towards a more ethical, inclusive, and socially just technological landscape.

Methodology

The overarching goal of the Feminist Generative AI Lab is to actively contribute to social empowerment, inclusion, and equity through AI research. Researchers within the lab embrace feminist AI principles, epistemological diversity, generative AI technologies, design approaches and ethical and responsible AI frameworks to investigate two interrelated research directions. Firstly, we aim to critically examine and mitigate inequalities and power imbalances that may be exacerbated by generative AI applications. A particular focus is placed on issues related to algorithmic bias, representation, and power dynamics in AI development that affect vulnerable and marginalized communities. Secondly, we aim to explore the potential of generative AI developed through a feminist lens to counteract existing societal bias and power imbalances.

By leveraging this unique perspective, the Lab seeks to contribute not only to the mitigation of AI ethical pitfalls but also to the establishment of generative AI systems that actively promote a more equitable and just society. Through its dual research directions, the lab aspires to pioneer transformative advancements at the intersection of generative AI and social justice.

PhD Positions

PhD Vacancy 1 (TU Delft)

Vacancy holder: Dr. Sara Colombo

Faculty/Department: Industrial Design Engineering – Sustainable Design Engineering

Title: PhD in Co-envisioning Feminist Generative AI Futures

Job description: The TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design, Department of Sustainable Design Engineering is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to do research on co-creating visions for generative AI futures together with vulnerable and marginalized groups, to develop methods that systematically engage them in designing generative AI applications.

The candidate will work in an exciting interdisciplinary environment, collaborating with experts in artificial intelligence, design, and social sciences within the Feminist Generative AI Lab.

Methodologies and Activities

This PhD project adopts participatory design, speculative design, value-sensitive design, and design activism methods to challenge current approaches in generative AI development and deployment, with a focus on engaging marginalized and vulnerable communities. Research activities include analyzing stakeholders and power structures in GenAI development and implementation in specific contexts, co-envisioning, prototyping, and debating GenAI futures with vulnerable and marginalized groups affected by this technology, and outlining guidelines for creating feminist GenAI solutions in these contexts.

The research goal is to develop and validate design methods and processes for engaging vulnerable groups in the development of feminist (e.g. fair, inclusive, diverse) Generative AI futures in different contexts.

In line with Feminist AI principles, we consider it essential to understand and engage in the context in which inequalities are rooted. Therefore, the PhD candidate will have the opportunity to identify the context they intend to explore in their research, considering accessibility, personal experiences and motivations.

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Design, Human-Computer Interaction, or a related field;
  • Proficiency in qualitative research methods;
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills;
  • Familiarity with (generative) artificial intelligence and an interest in data feminism or feminist AI principles;
  • Experience with participatory design, speculative design, or design activism is desirable;
  • A commitment to social justice issues;
  • Excellent scientific writing skills are a plus.

PhD Vacancy 2 (TU Delft)

Vacancy holder: Dr. Sara Colombo

Faculty/Department: Industrial Design Engineering – Sustainable Design Engineering

Title: PhD in Detecting and Mitigating Bias in Social Interactions though Generative AI

Job description: The TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design, Department of Sustainable Design Engineering is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to do research on developing and applying generative AI to detect and mitigate bias (e.g. gender and racial bias) in online and offline social interactions.

The candidate will work in an exciting interdisciplinary environment, collaborating with experts in artificial intelligence, design, and social sciences within the Feminist Generative AI Lab.

Methodologies and Activities

The successful candidate will adopt methodologies and tools based on, among others, generative AI models training or customization, participatory design, value-sensitive design, experience design, critical design, and mixed methods. They are expected to engage in the following activities:

  • Co-develop (i.e. design, train) generative AI models that consider various dimensions of diversity and inclusivity, by applying the concept of intersectionality;
  • Co-design (real and/or critical) solutions and artifacts powered by the trained generative AI model to be adopted in online and offline human-human interactions;
  • Develop interfaces that promote awareness and understanding of biases in real-time social interactions;
  • Prototype the designed solutions and deploy them in controlled environments to assess their effectiveness in detecting and addressing biases;
  • Conduct evaluations on the system’s user experience, acceptability, performance, and ability to promote more inclusive and equitable communication.

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Science, or a related field;
  • A strong background in human-centered design, interaction design, user experience design, human-computer interaction, or related fields;
  • Programming skills (e.g., Python, TensorFlow, PyTorch), experience in training (generative) AI models, or willingness to learn;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Strong communication skills and an ability to collaborate across disciplines;
  • Proficiency in human-centered design tools and methodologies;
  • Excellent scientific writing skills are a plus;
  • A commitment to social justice issues.

This PhD position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research at the intersection of design, feminism, and artificial intelligence, with the potential to shape the future of inclusive and just technological landscapes. We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply.

Link to the IDE vacancy page here:

TU Delft: Working at IDE

PhD in Co-envisioning Feminist Generative AI Futures

PhD in Detecting and Mitigating Bias in Social Interactions though Generative AI

PhD Vacancy 3 (EUR)

Vacancy holder: Dr. Claartje ter Hoeven

Faculty/Department: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School for Social and Behavioral Sciences, campus Woudestein, Rotterdam

Title: PhD Candidate Human Labor in the Generative AI Supply Chain

Summary: During this PhD trajectory you will study human labor as part of the AI supply chain. You will do this research as part of the pioneering Feminist Generative AI Lab, which offers an interdisciplinary environment combining artificial intelligence, design, and social sciences.

Methodologies and Activities

The research can be conducted through case studies, a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, digital methods, and participative methods. Activities will include:

  • Design an independent PhD project
  • Conduct empirical research (probably also abroad)
  • Translate results into theoretical and practical lessons
  • Engage and develop activities with the staff and other PhDs in the Feminist Generative AI Lab
  • Publish and present research results on workshops and conferences
  • Communicate research findings to a broader audience
  • Participate in the ESSB graduate school’s training program

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Sociology, Science and Technology Studies, Development Studies, Human Geography, Communication Studies, Human-Computer Interaction, or a related field
  • Training in qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Excellent verbal and writing skills in English
  • Open to travel/ to conduct part of the data collection abroad
  • A demonstrable interdisciplinary and collaborative orientation
  • Familiarity with (generative) artificial intelligence and an interest in data feminism or feminist AI principles

PhD Vacancy 4 (EUR)

Vacancy holder: Francisca Grommé

Faculty/Department: Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School for Social and Behavioral Sciences, campus Woudestein, Rotterdam

Title: PhD Candidate Environmental justice in generative AI

Summary: In this PhD project you will do social research on one of the biggest challenges of using generative AI (such as Chat GPT): its ecological footprint.

Methodologies and Activities

The research can be conducted through case studies, ethnographic research, discourse analysis, digital methods, participative methods, design research or combinations. Activities will include:

  • Design an independent PhD project
  • Conduct fieldwork, analyse results
  • Translate results into theoretical and practical lessons
  • Participate in the ESSB graduate school’s training program
  • Engage and develop activities with the staff and other PhDs in the Feminist Generative AI Lab
  • Publish and present research results on workshops and conferences
  • Communicate research findings to a broader audience

Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Science and Technology Studies, Environmental Humanities, or a related field
  • Excellent research skills and a strong methodological profile
  • Excellent verbal and writing skills in English
  • A demonstrable interdisciplinary and collaborative orientation
  • Familiarity with (generative) artificial intelligence and an interest in data feminism or feminist AI principles

Link to the EUR vacancy page here:

EUR PhD Vacancies

PhD Candidate Human Labor in the Generative AI Supply Chain

PhD Candidate Environmental justice in generative AI