Job Title: Research Assistant

Location: Berkeley/San Francisco (remote work or on-site work in other cities may be an option)

Hours: Full time

Estimated salary range: $85k-$100k (on-site)

Application deadline: March 31, 2022

About AI Impacts

AI Impacts conducts original research to answer decision-relevant questions about the future of artificial intelligence, and maintains an online knowledge base on these topics. Our projects involve a variety of disciplines, including artificial intelligence, neuroscience, history, economics, computer science, physical science, evolutionary biology and philosophy.

Carrying out this kind of work involves: 

  • reasoning about how to make open-ended questions tractable, 
  • evaluating the existing academic literature, 
  • gathering and analyzing new data of various kinds, 
  • writing in academic and encyclopedic styles.

Examples of work we have done or may do:

  • Measuring computing performance trends, as input to forecasting future trends 
  • Reasoning about what human brains imply about the computing hardware that might be needed for ‘human-level’ AI performance
  • Analysis of arguments for AI posing an existential risk to humanity
  • Collection and analysis of empirical data on the frequency of discontinuous progress across a range of technologies
  • Interviews on the plausibility of AI  being relatively safe by default
  • Survey of machine learning researchers on opinion about the future of AI

More of our past work can be found elsewhere on our website.

We aim to inform decision-making around artificial intelligence, by both others familiar with the topic (e.g. people in the AI safety community making choices about what scenarios to focus their efforts on), and people new to it (e.g. policymakers with broad mandates).

Our workplace:

  • Is flexible and accommodating to idiosyncratic needs and preferences
  • Prioritizes employee thriving
  • Values openness, kindness, and truth-seeking: we strive to be a place where everyone can talk about real opinions and raise stupid questions
  • Values epistemic carefulness and reasoning transparency, and also making rough and fast estimates where appropriate

The role

We are looking for a skilled, flexible candidate to directly support our research efforts at AI Impacts. This role involves less autonomy than our other research roles, but requires less experience and provides an opportunity to have a hand in various research projects related to AI risk.

This role involves a variety of duties, which will depend on the strengths of the candidate and the needs of the researchers. They are likely to include (but are not limited to):

  • Assisting researchers in finding, organizing, and verifying data
  • Creating systems for analyzing data via, for example, spreadsheets or Python code
  • Reading and summarizing source material
  • Helping with proofreading, editing, formatting or illustrating work for publication
  • Reading, commenting on, and discussing research by other researchers, both from within and outside of AI Impacts

We are open to combining this role with the operations role, but the operations duties will take priority.

Selection criteria

We do not have any highly specific requirements to qualify for this role, and you do not need to have any particular credentials or a track record for research in AI risk. This role is well-suited to candidates with a range of experience, including those with relatively little research experience and experienced researchers who find the particular work style appealing. We expect strong candidates to have:

  • Enthusiasm toward helping our researchers produce great results
  • Good skills for communication and organization, especially those related to performing tasks according to given specifications
  • Interest in our research efforts investigating the future of artificial intelligence and associated risks

Other things that many strong candidates will not have, but which might make you an especially good fit:

  • Research experience directly related to our mission
  • Familiarity with data analysis tools such as R, Python, or Excel
  • Evidence of strong quantitative skill, such as work experience, a degree, or published work in mathematics, physics, or statistics
  • Experience working on projects requiring a high degree of organization


  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Flexibility in work hours and location
  • Annual stipends for learning, well-being, and productivity tech

How to apply

If you are interested, please fill out our application by 15th of March. We may keep applications open later than this, but we do not guarantee considering applications past this date. We will likely reach out to a first round of strong applicants by early March. If you have any questions or are uncertain about how to fill out the form or whether you may be a good fit, please email Rick at rick@aiimpacts.org.