11 transformative days of learning designed to help shape the trajectory of your life.
Program in Berkeley, CA
July 15–26 and August 8–19, and if we receive many high-quality applications, also November 6–17 and December 16–24
Berkeley, CA, United States.
To make sure it's accessible to everyone, the 11-day program is completely free (including travel, visas, housing, food, and all other related expenses).
All Fellows will be invited to the 11-day program, but don’t need to attend. We trust Fellows to make informed choices about how to use their time. Please participate if you feel curious about the content, and not otherwise!
We have 4–7 hours of workshops and activities each day. All of the sessions are optional; we trust you to decide whether attending a session will be more useful than your counterfactual (what you could’ve been doing otherwise, such as a 1-on-1 chat with a fellow participant).
This year’s program will have a special focus on artificial intelligence.
• Interpretability: a mechanistic understanding of a small transformer
• How to end poverty
• Try these 𝑛 weird tricks to fix the climate
• Hacker ethics
• Risks from artificial general intelligence
• Why the scientific method is incomplete
• Juggling, actually and mathematically
• Trading market: chess master vs. 2500 chess engine
• I’m not a robot: how captchas fail and why it matters
• Fun math puzzles
The Atlas approach
When did you figure out that Covid-19 was going to be a pandemic that would impact us all? How do computers really work? Why is humanity able to build sophisticated devices like computers, but unable to fix scientific publishing? How might advanced AI systems shape our future? Through big-picture thinking about science, philosophy, and the future, our goal is to help you build models of what’s going on for humanity, and what that implies for you.
“Discovering you were wrong is an update, not a failure, and your worldview is a living document meant to be revised.” — Julia Galef, The Scout Mindset
Are you setting your own priorities for your life, or are you letting others set them for you?
We want to help you develop agency – the skill of taking actions towards your goals by strategically choosing what to work on, looking places where others don't, developing a hacker mindset to find unconventional solutions, and putting in the hard work to actually make them happen.
“You start being an adult when you decide to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.” — Paul Graham, What You’ll Wish You’d Known
We want to empower you to take risks. But we don’t expect you to do it alone!
You’ll meet friends at in-person programs, reunions, and in our online community, and you’ll collaborate with them on projects to learn, investigate, and build.
“There is no justice in the laws of nature, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky. But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!” ― Eliezer Yudkowsky, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Staff and previous instructors
Jonas co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. He previously oversaw $20 million in grants to high-impact projects and co-founded and led an AI risk research non-profit with 20 full-time staff. At Atlas programs, he loves discussing ending global poverty and playing capture the flag.
Ronny studied philosophy at Rutgers University and likes to think about how artificial intelligence grounds philosophy in the concrete. He also did AI forecasting research at AI Impacts. At Atlas, he enjoys discussing formal epistemology and strategizing for Killer Queen games.
Ricki is a freelancer who spends her time writing, teaching, and red-teaming problems with incentive structures. She previously worked as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital and as a data scientist on the electoral forecasting team at Blue Rose Research. She enjoys thinking about philosophy, prison abolition, and board games.
Ashley co-founded the Atlas Fellowship. Previously, she founded a nonprofit that brought online cultural exchange to >1,000 students in 35+ countries and wrote a book on community building. At Atlas programs, she likes to explore China-related AI policy or how to learn better.
Chana Messinger is a longtime teacher, speaker and writer. She taught math for 9 years, and has been giving workshops and coaching for learning how to think better for the last year. She has blogged about and helped edit a book about rationality.
Sydney Von Arx
Sydney co-founded the Atlas Fellowship and still joins as an instructor. Previously, she founded a coding bootcamp for kids and set up a summer program that teaches high school students quantitative reasoning. At Atlas programs, she talks about machine learning, agency, and taking ideas seriously.
Aaron is a recent graduate of Pitzer College, where he studied psychology and economics. He enjoys playing tennis and chess despite not being very good! He loves talking about big problems, emotions, and hearing about other people’s passions.
Damon is a licensed therapist, author of Pokemon Rational Fiction, and teacher at various camps and workshops. He’s a strong believer in the power of rationality to improve therapeutic practices, as well as stories as a catalyst for growth, and is working to combine all three in as many ways as possible.
John trained as a chemical engineer and worked as a programmer. He built a popular Bayesian stats library, and has written about the surprising detailedness of reality.