The Singularity Institute STILL needs remote researchers (may apply again; writing skill not required)

by lukeprog1 min read9th Apr 201222 comments


Personal Blog

Update: As of December 2012, we are still accepting applications!

A while ago, I announced that the Singularity Institute is hiring remote researchers. I've hired a few people, but I still need more remote researchers. I think I screened off too many otherwise capable people because the 'test task' I asked applicants to perform was too time-consuming.

So even if you've already applied and been rejected, please apply via the new application form. The test task this time will not be quite so time consuming.

Pay is hourly and starts at $14/hr but that will rise if the product is good. You must be available to work at least 20 hours/week to be considered.


  • Work from home, with flexible hours.
  • Age, location, and credentials are irrelevant; only the product matters.
  • Get paid to research things you're probably interested in anyway.
  • Contribute to human knowledge in immediately actionable ways. We need this research because we are about to act on it. Your work will not fall into the journal abyss that most academic research falls into.

If you're interested, apply here.

Why post this job ad on LessWrong? We need people with some measure of genuine curiosity.

Also see Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently.


22 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 6:50 AM
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Your application form link is broken!

Fixed, thanks.

Just out of curiosity, what was the old test task?

Quoted from the email sent to earlier applicants:

If you'd like to be considered for paid remote research work, please do a literature review on the question below and write up your own summary of the most important things you find, including citations, quotes from key paragraphs, and criticism of studies that were poorly designed or showed other problems.

The research question: "What is known about habit change, that should potentially affect the character of our rationality teaching (since we are trying to train people to have different thinking habits)?"

Maybe I can help as a professor here.

For people who may want to get a degree (doctoral or master-level) along researching interesting stuffs, I can help to get them as postgrad students. Of course, academic credentials and writing ability will be needed in this case.


I'm confused about what you mean by this.

I am not resident within contiguous USA, I wanted to earn a Masters (non-resident) and progress further, can you be more informative on the Master's enrollment within your scope.

Sorry for the late reply. Resident students are better, esp. for PhD degrees.

I think it might help if you elaborate on the process some: How are hours tracked? Is it done by the honor system or do you have some software? Will I need to work at any specific times of the day, or do I just need to be available for at least 20 hours? Is there a sample list of subjects?

Either way, I'll probably send in an application and go from there. I currently tutor calculus online for approximately the same pay, but this seems somewhat more interesting.

Hours currently tracked on the honor system; but it's all pretty visible work, so if 2 hours are logged but I don't see any changes to the Google doc where the researcher is tracking their research efforts, I'll have questions.

Work can be done during any hours of the day. Almost all correspondance is by email.

The sample list of subjects is even broader than all the subjects mentioned someone on this page.

The sample list of subjects is even broader than all the subjects mentioned someone on this page.

In that case I'm a bit unclear about the sort of research I'd be expected to do were I in that position. Most of those subjects are very wide open problems. Is there an expectation that some sort of original insights be made, above and beyond organizing a clear overview of the relevant areas?

No original insights required. You will not be asked to do tasks you can't do, or research subjects you can't research.

Is material written for this purpose the sole property of SIAI or would we be allowed to republish it or related work in other places?

My current deal with Luke is that I can post whatever I do elsewhere as long as it isn't crap or offensive, I don't bill him for any time or costs involved (which can be quite substantial), I don't post anything that might be private or sensitive (eg. I gave only sanitized scores for the remote researcher application experiment, stripped of any possible identifying information), and as long as I'm not specifically told not to. This covers most of my work, and I'm happy with it.

I'm not actually sure what the legalities would be. Hopefully the copyright remains with me, otherwise I may be committing infringement when I do something like submit an article to Wikipedia...

Why post this job ad on LessWrong? We need people with some measure of genuine curiosity.

Every post on LessWrong should have a line like this.

So it can get a bonus ~30% to karma for stroking our egos?

At this point, I think that you have received as much or more karma for hypothesizing this than lukeprog made for that single line. This amuses me. :)

Notes for context: Currently, there is 3 karma on the OP, 2 on your comment, and I'm assuming that some of the karma on the OP is for something other than that one line.

Because then people might realise that ~30% of the stuff they're posting to LW has no relevance whatsoever.

N.B. I didn't even upvote lukeprog's post.

Just saw Michael's tweet reconfirming your need for researchers. A couple of questions:

  1. Do we pursue our own research topics (within the scope of SigInst of course), or are we assigned what to research?
  2. Do we submit papers, theses/dissertations, posts, random emails, or what?

Thanks in advance,


do you still hire workers?

  1. Are you still interested in applicants?
  2. How concerned should I be about the ability to do this to the level/quality you need? Will the test task be sufficient to allay any doubts? (I have no real experience in doing this sort of thing - just assignments and personal interest, nothing rigorous - so I don't know if I'll be capable, and I don't want to waste you time. Or look stupid, tbh.)
  3. What is the level/quality you require?
  1. Yes.
  2. The test tasks will show you what level/quality is required.