The case for building expertise to work on US AI policy, and how to do it

post by 80000_Hours · 2019-01-31T22:44:15.563Z · score: 37 (11 votes) · EA · GW · 2 comments


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We recently completed an in-depth article on US AI policy careers that should be of interest to many people on this forum. It begins:

At 80,000 Hours we think a significant number of people should build expertise to work on United States (US) policy relevant to the long-term effects of the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI).

In this article we go into more detail on this claim, as well as discussing arguments in favor and against. We also briefly outline which specific career paths to aim for and discuss which sorts of people we think might suit these roles best.

This article is based on multiple conversations with three senior US Government officials, three federal employees working on science and technology issues, three congressional staffers, and several other people who have served as advisors to government from within academia and non-profits. We also spoke with several research scientists at top AI labs and in academia, as well as relevant experts from foundations and nonprofits.

We have hired Niel Bowerman as our in-house specialist on AI policy careers. If you are a US citizen interested in pursuing a career in AI public policy, please let us know and Niel may be able to work with you to help you enter this career path.


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comment by Risto_Uuk · 2019-02-07T06:23:15.128Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

If you're a thoughtful American interested in developing expertise and technical abilities in the domain of AI policy, then this may be one of your highest impact options, particularly if you have been to or can get into a top grad school in law, policy, international relations or machine learning. (If you’re not American, working on AI policy may also be a good option, but some of the best long-term positions in the US won’t be open to you.)

What do you think about similar type of work within the European Union? Could it potentially be a high-impact career path for those who are not Americans?

comment by Niel_Bowerman · 2019-02-12T03:31:08.133Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think working on AI policy in an EU context is also likely to be valuable, however few (if any) of the world's very top AI companies are based in the EU (except DeepMind, which will soon be outside the EU after Brexit). Nonetheless, I think it would be very helpful to more AI policy expertise within an EU context, and if you can contribute to that it could be very valuable. It's worth mentioning that for UK citizens it might be better to focus on British AI policy.