Tldr: If you’re interested in working on an AI safety field building project similar to those listed below (e.g. researcher outreach): please fill out this application form or nominate someone ($200 bounty)! Hiring is ongoing indefinitely. If you’re an EA org that has an AI safety field building project, please submit your project idea, and if our priorities and people align sufficiently we’ll try to get it done!
[Crossposted to the EA Forum]
Update from 10/31/22: I'm still working on similar projects and looking for people, and encourage you to apply!Update from 11/12/22: I'm currently not hiring new people, due to the new funding situation. You're still welcome to fill out the application form, but unfortunately I'm focusing on existing projects at the moment.
Update from 2/1/23: AISFB has ended! See the Retrospective here.
When individual EAs are interested in working on AI safety research, they can apply to many programs designed to give mentorship, funding, and project ideas (SERI MATS, MLAB, AI Safety Camp, SERI / CERI / CHERI summer programs, etc). This is amazing and speaks to our growth as a community.
However, I think there’s a noticeable lack of such structure in field building. For EAs interested in AI safety field building, how do they know which projects are most promising? Do they have to make them up from scratch? Where do they get collaborators, how do they get access to mentorship, how do they show a good track record to apply for funding?
To fill this gap, I’m starting the “AI Safety Field Building Hub”, a new effort to provide projects, mentorship, and funding to individuals interested in working in AI safety field building. If you’re an EA looking for a full-time or part-time project, I’m hiring project-specific contractors. I have a list of projects I’m interested in working on, have been sent more shovel-ready projects by others, and hope that other organizations will continue to send me great project ideas they don’t have capacity to manage. In the future, this “hub”-like functionality may spin into its own organization; at the moment, I’m looking to hire people to work for me.
Of note, my projects tend to be aimed more at outreach and at older populations– AI researchers, academia and industry, rather than university populations or high schoolers— which I think is relatively neglected right now. I also think there are potentially more downside risks for doing outreach to researchers poorly than in reaching out to university students, and the culture is substantially different, so I’m hoping my experience in this space will be helpful to people who are interested in these directions. (About me: I’m currently a postdoc at Stanford whose most recent project was interviewing AI researchers about AI safety.)
I’m aiming to hire agentic, independent, or small-team people who are excited about closely coordinating with me and other EAs. From that point, there are several options:
I’ll be offering mentorship like you’d find in a research program, and project-specific funding for you to work on the project (and all associated project costs) full-time or part-time. Some of the projects are more operations-oriented, some people-facing, some writing-oriented, some light-technical (such as updating websites): what I consider the usual spread of what field-building jobs involve.
Initial positions by default last 2 months before reevaluation, and can either be renewed (I continue paying you, mentorship continues, etc.) or if you’re now in charge of the project and there’s more to be done, I can help you secure additional funding. These positions will be remote.
Pay will be around $60k-80k/year ($30-40/hour), depending on level of skill, commitment level, and degree of project ownership. If you’d work on one of these projects but want to be paid substantially more, talk to me and we can likely make it happen.
The qualifications I’m looking for depend on the project, but across the board I’ll be looking for high generalist competence, AI safety knowledge (for example, I want you to have read / have a plan for reading all of the main readings in the AGISF Technical Curriculum), and strong follow-through on projects that’ll last for months or years. I’m going to be pretty selective on hiring, since I’d like the individual projects to get done well and relatively quickly, and I want to use my own time well between mentoring and object-level work. I’m probably going to want at least 10h/week for 8 weeks, though it does depend on the person. (However, I encourage any interested person to apply; imposter syndrome is a thing in this community and you might be one of the best candidates!)
Thanks everyone, and looking forward to it!
Extracurricular events around conferences seem underrated as a differentiating factor for scene formation.
What are your thoughts on having 1-on-1s with the top researchers in similar fields (like maths) instead of regular researchers and with people that are explicitly trying to build AGIs (like John Carmack)?
Seems like it's great to do one-on-ones with people who could be interested and skilled from all sorts of fields, and top researchers in similar fields could be a good group to prioritize! Alas, I feel like the current bottleneck is people who are good fits to do these one-on-ones (I'm looking to hire people, but not currently doing them myself); there's many people I'd ideally want to reach.