Daniel Unruh

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Thanks a lot for the comment Louis! 

I'am not sure if there is a AI safety community in Germany, but due to this post I got messages from some Germans who are currently on an AI safety path so luckily they can help me to get in contact with the german AI community. 

Thanks a lot for the suggestion about the connection between AI and climate, I was not aware of this work area and will inform myself more about this!


I am 23 years old and a German engineer student and currently located at the lake of Constance in Germany. I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and mechatronics, and I am currently doing my master’s degree in Mechatronics since September 2020. 

Earlier this year I found out about effective altruism through a news article and started reading the key articles about effective altruism and the career guide from 80,000hours. I always wanted to do something good with my career, so in the beginning of my studies I wanted to focus more on renewable energies because of climate change. But my interests where always more into subjects like robotics or software engineering. After reading a lot about AI and AI safety, I decided to study mechatronics in my master’s degree and besides mechatronic subjects I chose subjects like machine learning and deep learning in addition in my current studies. But now I do not exactly know if AI safety is the right path for me. First, I assume that a path as a research engineer is not a good personal fit for me. I think so, because I have done my bachelor thesis at Fraunhofer Institute about robotics connected with AI and the daily work of writing my thesis was very hard for me. Also, as a future research engineer in AI I assume that I should study pure computer science instead of mechatronics. I mechatronics we learn the mechanical and electrical part of engineering in addition to computer science.  I am also not keen about the idea of living in a different country than Germany for the whole purpose of becoming a research engineer for AI safety to have a big positive impact. So, another plan would be to do something with AI safety in policy, but I find I difficult with my background as a mechatronics engineer to find a job in this area, especially in Germany. 

All in all, I feel a bit lost now and I do not know if my current studies of mechatronics are the right path for me or if I should change to other subjects like computer science. In addition, I wonder if there are opportunities or paths for engineers of mechatronics If they could help as engineers for a pressing problem like AI safety, climate change or also other problems. Maybe someone knows a person who is also an effective altruist and engineer and could share their point of view with me or could give me some advice.

This is my first post here and my first contact with Effective altruists, so I am very keen to hear a response!