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 instructors
Ricki is a freelancer splitting her time between NYC and the Bay Area. Her background is in quantitative trading and forecasting; she spends a lot of time thinking about markets, incentives, and human dynamics. She likes talking about philosophy, playing and designing board games, and building elaborate costumes.
Elizabeth Van Nostrand
Professionally, Elizabeth is an epistemic vigilante; she researches ideas for entrepreneurs, investigates long Covid risks, and fights with people about nutrition. She is broadly interested in how constraints shape systems.
Personally, Elizabeth is into the standard introvert hobbies: reading, video games, cats, etc.
Aric has worked as an actor (and occasional composer) in film and television since he was 16. He became interested in ethics and public speaking as a competitive high school debater, and went on to study physics and philosophy as an undergraduate at Stanford University. He is currently exploring ways to effectively communicate with the general public about pressing global problems.
Tzu Kit Chan
Tzu represented Malaysia in the International Philosophy Olympiad and subsequently founded a non-profit to promote critical thinking via philosophy. He's currently growing in boxing / muay thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, fencing, and bouldering; he did ballet for a year, and he is a certified coach for olympic lifts (he nerds out on great lifting techniques 🤓).