AI Initiative Fellowship

Launched in 2017, the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative is a hybrid research effort and philanthropic fund that seeks to ensure that technologies of automation and machine learning are researched, developed, and deployed in a way which vindicate social values of fairness, human autonomy, and justice. It is a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Berkman Klein Center.

This year, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics is partnering with the AI Initiative to support up to two AI Initiative Fellows-in-Residence. Specifically, we are seeking researchers and practitioners who are looking for an opportunity to pursue work on one of three themes:

  • The Dilemma of Interpretability: How should entities balance the trade-offs between performance and interpretability in machine learning systems? How are they doing so in a range of contexts from healthcare to social media? How does the research and literature around ethical frameworks inform this discussion?
  • The Ethics of Causal Modeling: The AI Initiative is supporting research into the use of a causal modeling paradigm as a response to the algorithmic fairness and bias problems that have emerged so strikingly in recent years. How does the discourse around this in the technical research space mirror existing discussions in the field of ethics? What are interdisciplinary perspectives on these questions that might help to advance the state of the technical research?
  • Corporate AI Ethics: Increasingly, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are touting initiatives that seek to ensure ethical practice in the design and deployment of machine learning driven products. How are these organizational initiatives being architected and deployed? How do they differ amongst companies, and are they likely to be effectual?

Ideal applicants will have at least some familiarity with the day-to-day practice of building machine learning systems. No PhD or professional degree is required, and researchers from industry are encouraged to apply.

The AI Initiative Fellows will be part of the cohort of EJ Safra Center Fellows-in-Residence for 2019-2020, and the application requirements are the same as for all applicants to the Fellows-in-Residence program.

Please let us know if you have any questions by reaching out to or AI Initiative Director Tim Hwang (