FHI is starting a new two-year research scholars program, that I think could be quite exciting to a bunch of people on LW. The deadline to apply is in about two weeks (11th of July), and they're still actively looking for applicants.
FHI has a long history of doing interesting research (many of the core ideas of this site have originated there), and I think there is a good chance that in terms of training epistemic rationality and being given the opportunity to directly tackle many of the key questions around existential risk, AI alignment and theoretical rationality this might be the best career opportunity that currently exists out there for most people.
My guess is that if you are a long-time LessWrong reader who has been waiting for an opportunity to make a more direct impact on AI-risk or other issues frequently covered on this site, then this might be the best opportunity you will get for a good while.
My guess about the people who should most consider applying:
- You just finished a degree, considered working in academia, but so far haven't found any opportunities to work on the important things you care about
- You are currently in a career that does not, and probably won't, allow you to directly make progress on the problems that seem most important to you
- You have some kind of research project that you've been wanting to work on for a long time, but are worried about not having financial stability or a productive research environment in which to work on that project
Here is a small blurb that Owen (the main organizer behind the project) sent me a while ago when I asked him what he usually sends people:
Which is more likely to be radically transformative in the next two decades: AI or biotechnology? Can we draw lessons from the industrial revolution or the development of nuclear weapons? What might humanity achieve on a timescale of millions of years, and does that matter for decisions today? How would the (non-)existence of intelligent aliens affect us?
If you find these questions compelling, you might be interested in joining the Future of Humanity Institute. Our new Research Scholars Programme will employ a small number of talented, curious thinkers to explore such topics, giving mentorship to help them develop judgement about what to work on from the perspective of securing a flourishing future. For details, see https://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/rsp/