- We are currently seeking a founder, or founding team, for a project focusing on field building in universities for AI policy careers in the US.
- RP commits to supporting this project through at least an initial pilot (e.g. an on-campus policy competition event planned within the first three months of the project), including guaranteeing initial seed funding and providing research and operational support. (Note this role is not within RP.)
- Our team of researchers is particularly excited about this project, following hundreds of hours of research identifying the most promising project ideas to reduce existential risk, and working from an initial list of hundreds of ideas.
- Depending on the results of the pilot and founder preferences, RP may remain involved in a supporting role or the project may spin off independently.
- Our aim is for this project to scale over time and eventually become a large-scale initiative with a significant impact on reducing extreme risks from AI.
- Please email email@example.com if you have any questions.
- Application Deadline: September 25, 2023 at the end of the day (11:59 PM) in US/Eastern (EST) time zone.
- Apply here
About the Project
In the last 5 years, solid professional tracks have emerged for technical AI safety research and, increasingly, AI governance research, with programs that provide a relatively clear roadmap of opportunities and next steps. Less effort has gone into developing a similar track for working directly on AI policy in the US. This is important because policymakers are increasingly asked to tackle the risks and challenges associated with this technology, but often lack access to the expertise needed to navigate this effectively. Bringing more qualified talent to work as congressional staffers, within a relevant executive agency, or in an influential DC think tank could mean directly supporting effective decision-making around AI regulation that promotes the public interest.
The idea for this project is to start a program that dramatically increases the number of talented AI-risk-minded students planning to enter a US policy career by helping them understand arguments about catastrophic risk from AI, how these career tracks can be impactful, and how to navigate related career decisions successfully. This program can also ensure a well-developed pipeline for encouraging students already interested in AI risk management careers to consider US policy roles.
This program could:
- Run events such as policy competitions or retreats that find and develop talented individuals who might be especially well-suited for US policy careers
- Connect students with relevant information, mentors, and peers around AI risk management and US policy
- Help establish an early career track around AI risk management policy, especially from a catastrophic risk lens, within universities
- Do even more ambitious work that we have not considered yet!
About the Role
We expect the Founder(s) of this initiative to collaborate with the Rethink Priorities team and significantly shape the direction of this project. We think the first step for this project should be to run a low-cost pilot for the Founder(s) to gather more information about the target audience, the approaches that tend to work, and their fit for running the project. This pilot can also provide a proof of concept for future grant applications, which the Founder(s) will be responsible for.
RP will be able to offer support in a variety of ways based on the needs of the project, including research support, operations support, providing feedback, mentorship, and providing connections to relevant funders.
- We are open to discussing how this role will be structured during the initial pilot and may consider providing grant money directly to the founding team, or have the founder(s) as a contractor(s) with RP. This will be discussed further during the recruitment process.
- Hours: Part-time or Full-time (20-40 hours/week). We expect this role could be filled by one (1) full-time equivalent (FTE), and are open to one person working full-time on this project or two part-time co-founders. Please specify in your application whether you are open to one or both arrangements.
- Compensation: During the pilot program, we expect the Founder(s) to receive a pre-tax monthly stipend of $4,500-$6,500, depending on experience, pro-rata based on hours worked. The Founder(s) will set their own salary if and when the new organization spins off.
- Location: Remote; open to individuals in most countries, with a preference for candidates based in the United States. Please note that we expect some travel within the United States to be required for this position, though this may vary based on the program’s strategy. We ask that you only apply if you are willing and able to travel and work within the United States for short periods of time. We are unable to sponsor visas for this position. This position requires regular meetings with staff in European and US time zones.
The Founder(s) will lead this project and have full responsibility for its success. Working with the Advisory Committee (defined below), they will develop and implement the vision and mission of this new project, along with its strategic direction and plan. They are responsible for the organization's overall management, as well as for building a foundational team to support the organization’s program implementation and for ensuring the financial sustainability of the organization.
As a Founder, your main responsibilities will include:
- Leadership, Governance, and Strategic direction: Set and implement the mission and vision of the organization, along with the Advisory Committee, based on the best available evidence and transparent reasoning;
- Management and Operations: Lead the project’s program management, financials, fundraising, people management, and daily operations.
- Communications & PR: Oversee organization’s public communications and effectively engage with key stakeholders, including donors, via appropriate channels.
The Advisory Committee is the provisional governing body of the organization while the project is supported by Rethink Priorities. Committee members act as fiduciaries who ensure the project has the appropriate level of RP support, can provide input on strategic decisions, and oversee that financial resources are efficiently administered.
Skills and Competencies
Essential Skills and Competencies:
- Motivation to reduce extreme risks from AI
- Excellent operations and communication skills
- Intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness (willing to carefully consider ideas and explain reasoning)
- Resourcefulness and ability to problem-solve
- Creativity and initiative for developing new ideas and strategies
- Strong critical and strategic thinking skills
- Interest in developing a nimble organization that can change direction as needed to have the greatest impact
- An intention to commit to this project beyond the pilot if the pilot is successful and the Founder continues to feel they're a good fit for the longer-term project
Desired Skills and Competencies:
- Experience in nonprofit management or leadership roles, or other field building experience, such as running AI-related university group programs or similar projects.
- Familiarity with AI governance, risk, and regulation and connections to AI risk-related experts and organizations.
- Familiarity with US policy and related careers and networks.
What We Offer
- During the pilot program, we expect the Founder(s) to receive a pre-tax monthly stipend of $4,500-$6,500, depending on experience, pro-rata based on hours worked. The Founder(s) will set their own salary if and when the new organization spins off.
- Opportunity to shape the strategy and activities of a new project aimed at significantly reducing extreme risks from AI
- RP support while the project gets off the ground, including feedback and strategic support from the Advisory Committee
- Seed funding and introductions to potential funders
- Access to experienced RP researchers, including researchers from the Existential Security Team (XST) and AI Governance and Strategy (AIGS) Team
- Operational support from RP’s Special Projects team during the pilot, which could include support in areas such as operations, finance, and compliance, with the potential for ongoing operations support after the organization becomes independent of Rethink Priorities
- Language: Please submit all of your application materials in English and note that we require professional level English proficiency.
- Travel: Please note that we expect some travel within the United States to be required for this position, though this may vary based on the program’s strategy. We ask that you only apply if you are willing and able to travel within the United States without requiring RP to sponsor a visa for you.
- Accessibility: We’re committed to running an inclusive and accessible application process. We warmly invite you to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or accessibility requests such as chat box use during interviews.
Inclusivity and fairness: We are committed to building an inclusive, equitable, and supportive community for you to thrive and do your best work. Please don’t hesitate to apply for a role regardless of your age, gender identity/expression, political identity, personal preferences, physical abilities, veteran status, neurodiversity or any other background.
About Rethink Priorities
Please, note that this role is not within Rethink Priorities and this initiative will remain a stand-alone project, separate from RP's other activities. However, we would like you to know more about the organization supporting this project.
Founded in 2018, Rethink Priorities is a nonprofit organization that addresses global priorities—important and neglected issues—by researching solutions and strategies, mobilizing resources, and empowering our team and others. RP’s mission is to generate the most significant possible impact for others in the present and the long-term future.
Our cause areas include animal welfare, global health and development, climate change, artificial intelligence, and other work to safeguard a flourishing long-term future. RP also aims to understand and support the professional communities working on these issues. Each researcher tends to focus on one particular cause area.
Rethink Priorities works as all of the following:
- A consultancy doing commissioned work in response to demands from organizations doing high-impact work
- A research institute driven by research agendas we set according to our own priorities.
- A think tank aiming to inform public policy to improve the world.
- An accelerator, incubator, and base for priority projects.
Some of RP’s recent accomplishments include:
- Helping major foundations to answer their questions on climate change solutions, weather forecasting in lower- and middle-income countries, increasing access to medicine, and the effectiveness of prizes and other interventions.
- Comparing the capacity of different animal species to experience pleasure and pain to help philanthropists decide how to allocate funding.
- Investigating various animal welfare interventions, as well as bringing to light the neglected areas of invertebrate and insect welfare.
- Publishing pieces on nanotechnology and ways to use forecasting to improve the long-term future, as well as supporting those interested in these types of topics.
- Launching a Special Projects Team to incubate promising new initiatives, such as Epoch (a new AI research organization) and Condor Camp (longtermism movement-building in Brazil and Latin America).
- Conducting surveys to better understand the Effective Altruism community
We welcome you to review our database of published work here.