Axiom Futures

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Axiom Futures

What do we do?

We enable talent in India to join the AI safety field by running cutting-edge educational and research programs with professionals from leading organizations.

AI might be the most transformative technology of all time and many experts think it might pose an existential risk. Fortunately, there’s a growing field dedicated to making the technology go well – AI safety.

Given the critical nature of AI in today's world, which has implications at both local and global levels, it is essential to ensure the involvement of all of humanity in shaping the development of this technology.

Applications for our online AI Safety Career Course have been closed!

What is AI Safety?

AI safety focuses on developing technology and governance interventions to prevent both short-term and long-term harm caused by AI systems.

"Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."
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Signed by Yoshua Bengio (one of the Godfathers of AI) and other experts

Over the past year, AI Safety has gained increased attention globally, as evidenced by the rise of multiple international forums discussing the matter. Notably, the International Dialogues on AI Safety brought together leading scientists worldwide to outline a set of “red lines,” or boundaries, in AI development to prevent catastrophic or existential risks. Those include constraints on autonomous replication and enhancement, power-seeking behavior, assistance in weapon development, cyberattacks, and deception, to name a few.

To prevent these boundaries from being breached, scientists have pinpointed a series of measures involving global governance, technical collaboration within the worldwide scientific community, and ongoing monitoring and assessment of AI advancement.



Why do we do it?

We believe we can support India in playing an important role in AI safety - especially by enabling Indian talent.

There are many reasons for this belief. Below, we'll list the main ones.

India can play an important role in AI safety

  • As the most populated country in the world and with top 100 rankings for fields related to computer science, it has a vast talent pool.
  • As the world's most populated country, the largest democracy, and the fifth largest economy, India is likely to play an important role in international diplomacy.

Opportunities tailored to an Indian audience are neglected

  • Most jobs and programs in AI Safety are in the US and the UK. Consequently, most Indians are unaware of relevant opportunities and will face significant hurdles, including visa applications.

We're capable of running cutting-edge educational and training courses in India

  • We think we’re a good fit as the team has relevant domain area expertise, local understanding, and field-building experience, including running an eight-week pilot at one of the top technical institutes (IIT Delhi) with promising results.



What can you do?

Become well-informed about AI and AI safety by joining our upcoming programs

  • Online India-specific AI Safety 101 course

  • Full-time Pilot Summer Research Fellowship

  • In-person AI Safety 101 course at IIT-Bombay

  • Full-time Winter Research Fellowship

Our Team

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Varun Agrawal

Managing Director of Axiom Futures. Varun ran India’s first AI safety fellowship and has been working on Indian AIS field building for the past 15 months producing multiple talent surveys and long-term strategy. He has a background in Econometrics and has 7+ years' of experience with entities ranging from the World Bank to J-PAL. LinkedIn

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Rohan Gupta

Research Manager at Axiom Futures. Rohan is an IIT-Bombay graduate who's currently doing MATS. Prior to this, he worked as a senior SWE at Adobe India while doing independent Alignment research. LinkedIn

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Mohammad Taufeeque

Research Manager at Axiom Futures. Taufeeque is an IIT-Bombay graduate and is currently an Alignment Research Engineer at Far AI. LinkedIn

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Aditya SK

Project Manager at Axiom Futures. Aditya has been involved in building the Indian Effective Altruism community for many years, including leading the EA Hyderabad group. He previously worked at ALLFED and works part-time as Regional Coordinator-India for Animal Ethics. LinkedIn

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Sebastian Schmidt

Acting CEO of Axiom Futures. As a co-founder of Impact Academy, Sebastian has experience establishing teams that create and deliver high-quality educational programs. This includes programs such as Future Academy v2 (India edition) program and teaching courses since his second year of Undergrad. Sebastian is also an executive coach for entrepreneurs and other impact-driven individuals. Previously, he trained as an M.D., did biosecurity research at Stanford, and co-authored a book. Importantly, he’s a mediocre salsa dancer. LinkedIn

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Vilhelm Skoglund

Vilhelm is the CEO of Impact Academy and Nordics/Baltics regional coordinator for the Centre for Effective Altruism. He holds board positions within the non-profit sector and co-founded Nema Problema, a non-profit aiming to make migration policies more effective. Previously, he worked as a consultant and has studied law, developmental economics, and sustainability studies at Uppsala, Yale, and Cornell University. LinkedIn

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Can you tell me more about your upcoming programs?

In 2024, we aim to run the following programs:

An online India-specific AI Safety Fundamentals 101 course for professionals and graduate-level students (June-August)

Our ten-week online course can be completed alongside work or study in about five to seven hours per week. You’ll follow an up-to-date curriculum designed by experts, supported by a trained facilitator in live small group classes.

A full-time pilot fellowship for pre-selected individuals (June-August)

A two-month long full-time fellowship where you'll work on an impactful technical project guided by a mentor from leading organizations. We'll provide a competitive stipend, housing and co-working space in Bengaluru, and a week-long visit to leading London, UK.

The program is inspired by MATS.

An in-person AGISF 101 course at IIT-Bombay (September-November)

Our ten-week online course can be completed alongside work or study in about five to seven hours per week. You’ll follow an up-to-date curriculum designed by experts, supported by a trained facilitator in live small group classes.

 

A full-time 2-3 month-long winter research fellowship (November-February)

A two-month long full-time fellowship where you'll work on an impactful technical project guided by a mentor from leading organizations. We'll provide a competitive stipend, housing and co-working space in Bengaluru, and a week-long visit to leading London, UK.

The program is inspired by MATS.

What can I do after the programs?

We expect successful participants will pursue careers in the emerging field of AI safety by

  • Joining AI safety labs such as Google DeepMind, METR, and FAR AI.
  • Pursuing PhDs and post-docs at top institutes.
  • Contributing to Policy & Governance by joining Think Tanks or Government Agencies around the world.
  • Establishing independent projects and research agendas.
  • Further upskill in the AI industry or adjacent think tanks.
  • Guest lectures, avenues for professional connections, and networking opportunities

Have more questions?

E-mail us at varun@impactacademy.org or consider using this form.