How can I do organizational or operations work around AI alignment?

Organizational and operations work involve a powerful set of skills that are widely applicable. Many people who could do well in these roles have been focused on other work, which means that there’s a lot of demand for such people, and they can become highly impactful by amplifying the efforts of others. The most important trait that makes you a good fit for this kind of work is high agency, in the sense of being driven to figure out what needs doing and then doing it.

Some general advice for starting to do this as a career: get advice from organizations like 80,000 Hours, organize small things like reading groups and meetups, or mid-sized things like retreats, see if you enjoy it and are talented at it (or “fail fast” if not), apply for funding or otherwise ensure that you have a good runway and then just start doing things. To try your fit, you could found or run a university group, reading group, or meetup (even if it’s just a regular time and place to co-work or network, and even if there may not be enough people, given that someone has to be the seed), or become a personal assistant (see Pineapple Operations for paid work, or contact individual researchers or community builders who might need volunteer support). Don’t assume that, just because something would be obviously valuable, it must already exist.

  • Organizational work involves things like running meetups and other groups trying to help with AI safety. A good way to get into this line of work is to be near organizations that do useful projects and organize things for them, learning whatever you can from assisting them and building your skills up that way. For some ideas for field-building projects, see here, here, and here.

  • Operations work means empowering organizations by doing whatever they need to function well. As with organizational work, a good way to get into this is to start helping existing groups with projects that need doing, with the focus more on general agency and miscellaneous tasks.

You could also try to find this kind of work outside of an AI safety context, and then later move into an AI safety-related role and apply your skills there.