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PhD Scholarship at NUI Galway on AI and the Technological Disruption of Law

National University of Ireland, Galway

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Galway - Ireland
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: €18,500 or £15,736.40 (converted salary*) - please see advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 1st June 2022
Closes: 15th July 2022

One funded PhD position is available to work on a doctoral thesis in the area of Artificial Intelligence and the Technological Disruption of Law. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr John Danaher, School of Law (for details see: www.nuigalway.ie/business-public-policy-law/school-of-law/staff/johndanaher

Please note that, for tax purposes, candidates will have to relocate to Ireland in order to avail of the scholarship funds. The applicant will be expected to start in either September/October 2022 or January 2023.

It is open to the candidate to define the precise scope of their proposed PhD but it should fit, broadly, within the parameters of the following project description:

There is increasing anxiety among researchers and civil society about how AI and related technologies are threatening our existing normative systems. Recent ethical and legal debates about autonomous weapons, driverless vehicles, sentencing algorithms, and the algorithmic curation of news are just the tip of the iceberg in this respect. Most contributors to these debates take our current legal and moral norms as a given and use them to evaluate and critique technological developments. The goal of such contributors is to make technology more compatible with our existing norms, not vice versa. What these contributions tend to overlook is the potential for AI and related technologies to radically disrupt and transform our existing moral and legal systems. As new technologies give us new powers and opportunities for action, and as we become more accustomed to their role in our lives, we often modify or alter our commitment to our existing norms. This has happened repeatedly in the past and is likely to happen again in the future. What significance does this have for the current policy debates about AI and law?

This PhD project should address this neglected perspective on the relationship between AI and law. Representative research questions could include:

  • What is the historical relationship between technology and legal-moral reform? Is there a common pattern to such technological disruption of law?
  • How are AI and related technologies currently disrupting normative beliefs and practices? How is this likely to change in the future?
  • What is the appropriate methodology for studying and planning for future legal-moral reforms?
  • What are the implications of technological disruption for processes of legal reform and governance?

Entry criteria:

Essential:

A minimum 1st Class Honours (or equivalent grade) UG and/or PG Degree in law or a related discipline (philosophy, social science etc).

Desirable:

Applicants will ideally hold a post-graduate degree in law or a related discipline, and will have past experience of long-form research and writing.

Funding:

This scholarship is inclusive of fees and a stipend of €18,500 per annum and is funded for a maximum of 4 years. Nevertheless, students will be responsible for paying an annual student levy of €140 (in 2022/23) themselves. Applicants will also be expected to apply for IRC and NUI Galway Hardiman scholarships in the first year of their degree.

Application:

Interested candidates should complete this Proposal Form: Application-Form-PhD-Fellowship.docx (live.com) and submit a CV and a writing sample (e.g. course essay, dissertation) by 5pm, 15th July 2022 to john.danaher@nuigalway.ie. Informal inquiries can be sent to the same address. Candidates may be invited to interview.

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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