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Researcher (General)

Employer
Future of Life Foundation
Location
SF Bay Area (Campbell), Hybrid (2-3 days / wk in office)
Salary
Compensation is competitive with Bay Area tech roles (excluding equity), plus full benefits.
Closing date
19 Jan 2024

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Discipline
Applied Science, Biomedicine, Computing, Engineering, Life Science, Physics
Job Type
Researcher
Employment - Hours
Full time
Duration
Permanent
Qualification
PhD
Sector
Charity/NGO

Job Details

About Us

The Future of Life Foundation (FLF) is a new organization, affiliated with the Future of Life Institute, whose mission is to steer transformative technology towards benefiting life and away from extreme large-scale risks.

1. Our primary plan for doing so is to work to identify gaps in the landscape of efforts to fulfill this mission, and to then determine what new organizations should exist to address these challenges. Once identified, we will recruit, fund, and provide significant support to founders who demonstrate that they can bring these organizations to life.

Our tentative plan is to help create an average of ~3-5 new organizations per year over the next 5 years, providing each with significant operational support and, if recruited founders’ further develop our research into a compelling proposal, substantial runway.

2. There are other activities that FLF may take on, such as some possibilities for coordination and planning amongst organizations in our field and incubating promising founders. As a new organization, we’re unsure just how narrow or expansive we’ll find our scope of activities to be.

We expect our most significant focus to be on the risks posed by transformative AI, and governance mechanisms needed to ensure that AI is beneficial to humanity. Other areas of work could include biosecurity, nuclear technology, other risks to humanity’s existence or fulfillment of its potential, and the development of tools, institutions, and communities that support these efforts.

 

About the Role

We are seeking an exceptional and unusual generalist researcher to help kick off these efforts. In this position, you will play a foundational role in determining what organizations FLF seeks to help create.

We expect to collaboratively determine what research best furthers our mission. You’ll play a fundamental part in this, so your experience working in this position will be largely dependent on your take on the relevant topics, as well as your particular interest and ability. 

You will initially have both a broad, open remit, as well as specific research direction. We have a preliminary list of ideas for organizations that we feel positively about that require significant further investigation, and we also have a great need to identify and investigate additional potential initiatives.

We plan to approach hiring with an open-mind with regard to how candidates’ interests and background could fit with our work. While we’re especially looking for candidates who can be effective when researching a variety of ideas across broad topic areas, we encourage those who have more specialized expertise or interests to apply as well.

 

Activities

- Conduct research on various fields relevant to our mission, such as AI governance, biosecurity, nuclear conflict, climate change, civilizational recovery after a global catastrophe, forecasting, and new social institutions

- Identify gaps and potential areas where new organizations can make a significant impact

- Investigate ideas for feasibility, identifying crucial considerations and downside risks

- Engage with relevant experts, stakeholders, and the broader community to gather insights and feedback

- Analyze the likely impact of proposed organizations

- Select organizations that we should move forward with, and evaluate potential founders’ proposals for fulfilling these visions

(possibly) Contribute to the recruitment and selection of suitable founders for new organizations

(possibly) Provide ongoing guidance, mentorship, and support to founders during the early stages of their organizations

 

Likely Qualifications

- Demonstrated ability to perform high-quality research across a wide variety of domains, including published research in several distinct specialties

- Strong analytical, critical-thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills

- Passion for helping to steer transformative technologies away from existential risk and toward long-term flourishing

 

Additional Possible Qualifications

- Significant research achievement, demonstrated by publications in top-tier conferences and journals, coupled with years of pertinent academic experience

- A PhD in a technical field

- A track-record of impactful grantmaking

- Experience with the founding of new organizations

 

Logistics

You will be an employee of the Future of Life Foundation, or our affiliated organization, the Future of Life Institute. Each are 501(c)(3) research non-profits.

- Compensation and Benefits: Compensation is competitive with Bay Area tech roles (excluding equity), plus full benefits.

- Location: We strongly prefer people who are available to work 2-3 days per week in-person (in Campbell, CA), but will consider remote candidates in exceptional circumstances. We should be able to sponsor visas (without going through the visa lottery) for those who need them.

- Applying for both research roles: If interested in our Researcher (Specializing in AI Safety) position as well, you’ll be able to indicate that in your application. Please submit the application for the role you have strongest interest in. We may modify role definitions and activities when applicable to better suit the talent that we hire.

 

Miscellaneous

This role is now open on a rolling basis without a deadline, but we are actively assessing candidates that have already applied.

We encourage you to apply even if your background may not seem like a great fit! We would rather review a larger pool of applications than risk missing out on a promising candidate for the position.

If you have any questions about the role, please do get in touch at recruitment@flf.org.

We are committed to diversity and equal opportunity in all aspects of our hiring process. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We welcome and encourage all qualified candidates to apply for our open positions.

Company

The Future of Life Foundation (FLF) is a new organization, affiliated with the Future of Life Institute, whose mission is to steer transformative technology towards benefiting life and away from extreme large-scale risks.

1. Our primary plan for doing so is to work to identify gaps in the landscape of efforts to fulfill this mission, and to then determine what new organizations should exist to address these challenges. Once identified, we will recruit, fund, and provide significant support to founders who demonstrate that they can bring these organizations to life.

Our tentative plan is to help create an average of ~3-5 new organizations per year over the next 5 years, providing each with significant operational support and, if recruited founders’ further develop our research into a compelling proposal, substantial runway.

2. There are other activities that FLF may take on, such as some possibilities for coordination and planning amongst organizations in our field and incubating promising founders. As a new organization, we’re unsure just how narrow or expansive we’ll find our scope of activities to be.

We expect our most significant focus to be on the risks posed by transformative AI, and governance mechanisms needed to ensure that AI is beneficial to humanity. Other areas of work could include biosecurity, nuclear technology, other risks to humanity’s existence or fulfillment of its potential, and the development of tools, institutions, and communities that support these efforts.

Company info
Website
Telephone
5126777453
Location
300 Orchard City Drive
Campbell
California
95008
United States

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