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Program Coordinator- Emerging Threats and Opportunities

WITNESS

Help us ensure that emerging technologies help, not hinder, human rights: join WITNESS’ team working on Emerging Threats and Opportunities.

Come be a part of proactive approaches that protect and uphold marginalized voices, civic journalism, and human rights as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) intersect with the pressures of disinformation, media manipulation, and rising authoritarianism

ABOUT THE ‘WHY’

WITNESS has 26 years of experience supporting people to use video and technology to transform lives, ensure trustworthy information, and secure fundamental rights. Bridging local communities and technology giants, we are uniquely equipped to address the critical set of challenges that threaten ordinary people, activists, and journalists as they stand up for human rights. Within the Emerging Threats and Opportunities work WITNESS is focused on proactive approaches to protecting and upholding marginalized voices, civic journalism, and human rights as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) intersect with the pressures of disinformation, media manipulation, and rising authoritarianism. The Program Coordinator will support our proactive work in this area via research, bringing key actors together, advocating for strong rights-respecting solutions and ensuring that WITNESS and our constituents are central to critical discussions around the threats and opportunities related to emerging technologies.

Background:

The explosion of video, online social networks, and technology has been accompanied by a set of opportunities and challenges for individuals and communities who work to advance justice and accountability around the world. In today’s information ecosystem, these digital tools have the potential to increase civic engagement and participation – particularly for marginalized and vulnerable groups – enabling civic witnesses, journalists, and ordinary people to document abuse, speak truth to power, make their voices heard, and protect and defend their rights. Unfortunately, bad actors are utilizing the same tools to spread mal-information, identify and silence dissenting voices, disrupt civil society and democracy, perpetuate hate speech, and put individual rights defenders and journalists at risk.  WITNESS is focused on emerging threats that accentuate these risks and diminish opportunities for human rights. In each area of focus, we bring a pragmatic perspective deeply grounded in grassroots experiences of human rights and use of technologies for activism, as well as expertise in articulating threats to human rights and journalism and in engaging directly with companies on their products and policies. WITNESS is strongly committed to challenging existing power structures in the technology world. Like other technologies, the world of AI is missing many voices, in particular those from outside of the US and Western Europe. This is a core principle of our Emerging Threats and Opportunities work.

Our current primary focus is on proactive responses to how AI and deep learning systems are increasingly able to create convincing simulations of authentic media, including sophisticated audio and video manipulations called “deepfakes,” and more subtle manipulations. These media forms have the potential to amplify, expand, and alter existing problems around trust in information, verification of media, and weaponization of online spaces. You can learn more about our work in this area here. 

Other areas of concern include, but are not limited to:

  • Ethical but effective tactical, technical, and strategic responses to the weaponization of online spaces against human rights and civic activists: such as when a volume of misinformation shared in “firehoses of falsehood” and increasing online/offline attacks on human rights defenders and journalists are exacerbated by synthetic media generation, bots, micro-targeting, and persuasive targeting;
  • How to protect vulnerable human rights defenders and civic activists as machine learning and facial recognition increases the ability to recognize and track individuals;
  • The threats and opportunities in new technologies of live-streaming and virtual/augmented/mixed reality

ABOUT THE ROLE

The position description is a guide to the critical duties and essential functions of the job, not an all-inclusive list of responsibilities, qualifications, physical demands and work environment conditions.  Position descriptions are reviewed and revised to meet the changing needs of WITNESS at the sole discretion of the management.

What you will do:

This is a junior-mid level position working closely with witness’ program director: you should have an experience/practical understanding of the intersection of technology, human rights, and disinformation; a comfortable understanding of AI and ML issues informed by either your own learning or academic background, and an ability to work hard to drive forward a fast-moving program. We strongly encourage diverse applicants, noting the existing power structures in the technology world and who they harm.

 Research and Analysis – 20%

  • Research and stay up-to-date on technical and commercial advances in relevant fields of AI and machine learning (ML) and as needed, other emerging technology fields
  • Update internal team knowledge as needed via briefings and presentations

 Engaging and Convening Stakeholders – 30%

  • Work with Program Director on targeted strategies to engage, convene and develop solutions with core constituencies identified as key in this work area including human rights defenders and civic journalists, journalists and news organizations, technical researchers, technology companies and others, with a strong emphasis on voices that are being ignored or silenced in discussions around technology
  • Project manage relevant convenings or development of externally-facing materials including outreach, logistics, invitations, preparation, follow-up
  • Advocacy to/Engagement of relevant stakeholders around solutions in one-on-one, small group and large group settings
  • Work with regional teams to understand and solicit relevant participation from stakeholders in their regions

Content Creation –20%

  • Develop relevant content including convening reports, research summaries, threat scenarios, op-eds, blogs on solutions, training materials

External Communication – 10%

  • Engage in online and offline spaces in targeted work around priorities and content outlined above – to include both written/video presentations as well as in-person talks or presentations 

Admin & Supervision – 20%

  • Do relevant administrative work around activities above (NOTE: WITNESS does not have a large dedicated admin team and the expectation is that team-members will contribute to administrative work around activities)
  • Do relevant internal financial and funder reporting

PRINCIPAL RELATIONSHIPS:

  • Program Director
  • Tech + Advocacy Program Manager
  • Program Managers (Regional and Cross-cutting)

ABOUT YOU

  • Work Experience: A minimum of 3-5 years of related work experience at an intersection of technology, journalism, human rights and mis/disinformation with practical understanding of these fields
  • AI and ML: Informed and comfortable understanding of AI and ML research and field, and ability to communicate around these and related computer science topics
  • Human Rights Advocacy: Background in or a passionate for human rights advocacy and activism; demonstrated commitment to social justice and WITNESS values and mission
  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree plus additional work experience required; Master’s degree a plus
  • Communications:  Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills; oral and written fluency in English required. Proficiency and fluency in other languages a plus.
  • Skills: Strong writing and editing skills. Strong in-person presentation and advocacy skills
  • Systems: Strong computer skills, including functional understanding of WordPress and basic video/photo editing programs
  • Work Habits: Demonstrates flexibility and an ability to effectively work as a part of a team; strong administrative, organizational, and logistical skills, including an ability to manage multiple priorities and keep track of details.
  • Flexibility: This job requires some working with people in different time zones and may require an occasional early morning or later evening call, scheduled when the Program Coordinator is available and with corresponding accommodations to work hours on the affected days.

HOW TO APPLY:

To apply, send your cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and contact information for 3 references to jobs@witness.org with the subject line “Program Coordinator- Applicant’s Name”

Please include a cover letter.  We are really interested in hearing about what you’ve donewhat you can do, and what you want to do at WITNESS.

 

Additional important information:

Reports to: Program Director

Start Date: Immediate

Location: Preference for Candidate to be New York or Bay Area-based; however applicants located in other regions where WITNESS works will be considered.

Duration: Initial hire will be for a 1 year minimum, extension is funding-dependent

Compensation: WITNESS offers a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits, and ample PTO programs.

 

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer.  People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply. 

All US-based employees must show proper authorization to work in the country and remote candidates will need to provide Visa or Work permits for the country in which they are based. 

 



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