PAI/First Draft Manipulated Media Research Fellow

The Partnership on AI (PAI), in collaboration with First Draft, is seeking a Research Fellow to study how to effectively communicate media manipulations to the public. The research fellow will work within PAI’s AI and Media research area, broadly focused on the emergent threat of AI-generated mis/disinformation, synthetic media, and its impact on public discourse. The Research Fellowship will last from 6 months to a year, depending on the scope of the project developed and other factors. The Research Fellow will report to a program lead at PAI who oversees the project, supported by other leaders in PAI’s research organization and First Draft; reporting lines may evolve over time depending on PAI’s overall staffing.


Previous PAI efforts and the work of many PAI Partners have highlighted the need for research on how to best communicate with the public about new forms of audio-visual manipulations - manipulations that are increasingly difficult to detect with the naked eye. PAI Partners have begun developing a typology/shared language for labeling videos that have been manipulated or synthesized. PAI now seeks to hire a Research Fellow to refine, test, and evaluate this typology in service of enabling audiences to grasp how different media can be manipulated; the Research Fellow will also consider how technology platforms and newsrooms might share and potentially adopt consistent language and techniques for communicating such manipulations. 

The PAI Research Fellow will have the opportunity to scope and shape their research project, but the following is a high-level, suggested, and phased research trajectory for the Research Fellow:

  1. Use qualitative interviews and focus groups with English-speaking audience members around the world to test the prototype video typology developed by PAI, evolve it, and solidify labels in the typology. 

  2. Test the updated typology with experimental designs and surveys with representative samples of the potential English-speaking audience globally.

  3. Engage multistakeholder cohorts to support testing and ultimately possible adoption of these labels with technology platforms and newsrooms.

Ultimately, the PAI Research Fellow’s methodology will service the following questions:

  • How can platforms, newsrooms, and other content providers help audiences grasp how different videos, and possibly other media, can be manipulated?

  • Would descriptive annotations/labels/signals on content that explain how content has been manipulated educate those interpreting that content? How can PAI Partner organizations work together to further trust of videos and other media online?

PAI is a fast-paced organization that often requires quick turnarounds, so initiative and efficiency is critical for success in this position. Because of the varied and dynamic nature of PAI’s multistakeholder research projects, the ideal candidate should have experience working on research projects with multiple sets of stakeholders. 

Key Responsibilities (including, but not limited to):

  • Refine and plan a practical and robust research methodology in service of the questions posed above

  • Execute the research plan in a manner that leverages the Partnership’s voice and perspective, rather than one company, lab, or organization’s

  • Consolidate and summarize findings for Partners and other stakeholders

  • Draft and edit white papers and reports

  • Work collaboratively with other PAI teams and external stakeholders 

  • Attend industry events, convenings, and conferences.

Preferred qualifications:

  • PhD in Psychology, Communication, Political Science, Human Computer Interaction, or other related disciplines

  • Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research and user-centered design methods

  • Demonstrated track record of or interest in cross-disciplinary engagement

  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills

  • Comfort navigating diverse input from a wide array of contributors

  • Ability to translate research insights into solutions for practical implementation

Research Fellowships at PAI are allocated in three bands of seniority, and the Manipulated Media Research Fellow can be drawn from any of the below:
  • Postgraduate Research Fellowships are suitable for candidates with a PhD or equivalent research degree;

  • Research Fellowships are suitable for early to mid-career candidates, who have a PhD and a demonstrated track record of research and/or technology policy work; or who have more than a PhD equivalent level research, technical or policy experience and output in non-academic settings;

  • Senior Research Fellowships are suitable for well-established, senior researchers who have led successful labs or research teams or have an extensive track record of research work.

PAI is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  We celebrate diversity and we are committed to creating an inclusive environment in all aspects of employment, including recruiting, hiring, promoting, training, education assistance, social and recreational programs, compensation, benefits, transfers, discipline, and all privileges and conditions of employment.  Employment decisions at PAI are based on business needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications.

PAI will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories, in a manner consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance or similar laws.

The Partnership on AI may become subject to certain governmental record keeping and reporting requirements for the administration of civil rights laws and regulations. We also track diversity in our workforce for the purpose of improving over time. In order to comply with these goals, the Partnership on AI invites employees to voluntarily self-identify their gender and race/ethnicity. Submission of this information is voluntary and refusal to provide it will not jeopardize or adversely affect employment or any consideration you may receive for employment or advancement.  The information obtained will be kept confidential.  

Application Materials:

1.    Resume and/or CV

2.    Cover Letter 

3.    3 References [name, title, email, phone]

Applications will be accepted until February 14, 2020.

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