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Theoretical AI Alignment Researcher

Oct 11, 2023

Last Updated

Research Roles (AI Governance and AI Safety)


An AI alignment researcher works on researching how we can better ensure that advanced AI systems behave as intended and in alignment with human interests, even when not under direct human supervision. This entails conducting theoretical alignment research, which is often conceptual, algorithmic, or mathematical. AI alignment work may sometimes also involve hands-on research engineering tasks, depending on the organization and role. Such work generally requires thinking about potential behaviors of AI systems with a security mindset, and thus focuses on investigating topics like interpretability, value learning, inner alignment, corrigibility, etc.

Example tasks

  • Tackle alignment problems in existing AI systems as well as alignment problems that are expected to be encountered.

  • Keep abreast of AI developments to ensure that one’s work remains relevant and responsive to emerging AI risks.

  • Help maximize the exploration of existing alignment ideas and thoroughly comprehend and document their potential for success or reasons for failure.

  • Develop arguments for why specific safety techniques would be successful or unsuccessful in various scenarios.

  • Design experiments to measure the effectiveness of scalable oversight techniques such as AI-assisted feedback and debate.

  • Study generalization to see when AI systems trained on easy problems can solve hard problems, and to see when in-context learning can transfer successfully out-of-distribution.

  • Managing large datasets from interpretability experiments and creating visualizations to explore and interpret  interpretability data.

  • Develop experiments to test how well chain of thought reasoning reflects model cognition.

  • Design novel approaches for using LLMs or other ML models in alignment research.

Why we think this job is impactful

The work of AI alignment researchers is centered on ensuring that advanced AI systems are aligned with, and remain aligned with, human values and objectives. By exploring ways to make AI systems adhere robustly and reliably to their alignment, these researchers help prevent scenarios where AI could act unpredictably or contrary to human interests, which could have in turn led to catastrophic consequences. AI alignment researchers seek to shed light on AI theoretical foundation principles.

How Successif can help

We have developed a way to assess potential candidate’s fitness for this role and collected sample interview questions that can be asked for this job. If you are passionate about mitigating the risks of transformative AI systems and believe you would be a good fit for this role, apply for our career services.

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