Frequently Asked Questions
What work does FLI do?
With a range of academic disciplines and professional and geographic backgrounds represented on our Core Team, FLI engages in grantmaking, policy research and advocacy, and an array of education and outreach projects.
Through our Grants, FLI offers financial support for promising work aligned with our mission. We currently have a $25M grants program on existential risk reduction, including PhD and Post-doctoral Fellowships for AI existential safety research and a grants competition for research into the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear War. We also ran AI and AGI Safety Grants programs in 2015 and 2018.
Our Policy work aims to improve AI governance and reduce the risk of nuclear war. At present this involves advocating for a treaty on autonomous weapons at the UN, for a more future-proof AI Act in the EU, and for a more robust AI Risk Management Framework in the U.S. Previously we were consulted by the UN Secretary General as civil society ‘co-champion’ for AI recommendations.
Finally, the Outreach team seeks to educate and inform diverse audiences about our cause areas, using social media, podcasts, videos, websites, Open Letters, and the Future of Life Award, which celebrates unsung heroes who made our world a better, safer place. Since founding the award in 2017, we have given this $50,000 prize to sixteen such inspiring individuals.
Over the past decade, FLI has also hosted many events, conferences and workshops. These events have contributed to a myriad of important outcomes, including the influential Asilomar Principles for AI governance and the mainstreaming of the AI safety research field.
Where is FLI based?
FLI is officially registered in Pennsylvania, with offices in Campbell, US, and Brussels, Belgium. We have a mostly remote international team, with members from the US and Europe as well as Latin America and Asia. We offer grants to researchers from all over the world, and our various education and outreach efforts have increasingly global audiences. Our policy work currently spans the US, EU and United Nations.
Who funds FLI?
The Future of Life Institute is an apolitical non-profit funded by a range of individuals and organisations who share our goal to reduce extreme large-scale risks from transformative technologies. For more information, see our Funding page.
Is FLI a longtermist or Effective Altruist (EA) organization?
No, FLI is not affiliated with the Effective Altruist movement or longtermism.
What is the Future of Life Foundation?
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) and Future of Life Foundation (FLF) are affiliated organizations that share the same mission: to steer transformative technology towards benefiting life and away from extreme large-scale risks. FLI's work includes research, advocacy, storytelling, outreach, and grant-making. FLF is focused on incubating new organizations and major projects aligned to our mission.
What is the role of your External Advisors?
We value advice from a diverse group of thinkers with expertise in science research and science communication. Their input helps to ensure that our approach to executing our mission is well-informed, strategic and adaptable. Our advisors have generously agreed to let us solicit their advice for free, because they believe in our mission. Although they offer us advice, they are not involved in our decision-making, the ultimate responsibility for which rests with our Board of Directors.
How do you decide your policy positions?
Our policy positions are decided by our Policy Team and our Board of Directors, based on the latest academic research and science, as well as community input. Although we value the generous support of our funders, they do not influence our positions.
Given your name, do you think about present-day issues?
Yes. We choose cause areas that are of concern for the longer-term future and future generations, but also of concern for people today, such as reducing the risk of nuclear war and supporting a treaty on lethal autonomous weapons systems. Similarly, our policy work to future-proof the EU AI Act seeks to protect people’s safety and rights in the here and now. Our outreach team spends considerable time educating the public about the latest developments in our cause areas, and explaining their relevance to people’s lives today.
What is the Future of Life Award?
The Future of Life Award honours and celebrates individuals who, without having received much recognition at the time of their achievements, helped make today dramatically better than it might have otherwise been. The award provides a $50,000 prize to each winner, generously funded by Skype-cofounder Jaan Tallinn. Previous winners include Vasily Arkhipov, who prevented a nuclear war, and Matthew Meselson, who helped bring about the Biological Weapons Convention.
What grants do you give out?
FLI offers financial support for promising work aligned with our mission. We currently have a grants program open for research into the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear War, and PhD and Post-doctoral Fellowships for research into AI Existential Safety, funded by donations from Vitalik Buterin. Previously we ran AI and AGI Safety Grants programs in 2015 and 2018. See our Grantmaking page for more information.
How do I apply for a grant?
How can I get involved?
We have collated a range of ways that you can contribute to our mission on the Take Action page. If you are interested in joining the team, check out our Careers page; if there are no vacancies at the moment, you can fill out a Rolling Application form, so that we can contact you when an opportunity arises. Additionally, sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest FLI projects and job openings.
Did you make a grant to the Sweden-based Nya Dagbladet Foundation (NDF)?
No, we did not make this grant. In January 2023, we issued a statement about this rejected grant.