How can I build a career in AI alignment?

It’s great that you want to help and can devote a lot of your energy to this!

To make a major contribution, you’ll probably have to make it your first priority to understand the alignment problem in depth. Picking a concrete career path usually comes after getting some familiarity with the literature and community. Some people choose to work directly on AI safety, others work on field building, and some do both or or switch between the two paths in different phases of their lives.

Even if you dedicate all of your work time to it, getting up to speed with the existing research could easily take you six months if you have a STEM background, less time if your background is in AI, but longer if you dedicate less of your time to it; it depends a lot on your personal situation. A partial understanding may suffice for helping with the problem, and six months is short by many fields’ standards. The paths mapped out in the related questions below may be relevant to you at any career stage and level of understanding.