Our Summer Research Fellowship in Law & AI brings together outstanding law students, PhD candidates, and postdocs for 8–12 weeks to carry out research on how the law can help to mitigate existential risks from artificial intelligence. Fellows receive a stipend of $10,000 and enjoy a highly interdisciplinary and friendly research environment, exploring questions around how the law can help to ensure safe, beneficial outcomes from transformative artificial intelligence.
About the SRF
The following six fellows were part of the 2023 cohort: Kevin Frazier (Assistant Professor, Crump College of Law), Nick Caputo (JD at Harvard ‘24), Andrew Steen (JD/MBA at Harvard ‘25), Emily Hua (JD at Harvard ‘25), Matteo Pistillo (LLM at Stanford ‘23), and Dan Bateyko (PhD at Cornell ‘28). This smaller cohort allowed us to supervise all fellows more closely and integrate them into our ongoing research projects.
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While previous editions of the SRF have focused on a broader range of topics in existential risk and the legal protection of future generations, recent changes in the existential risk landscape merit prioritizing AI. Expected timelines for the development of transformative AI have significantly shortened based on breakthroughs, analyses, and forecasts from various lines of evidence. Since the deployment of ChatGPT, Bing Chat/Sydney, and GPT-4, an increasing number of high-profile AI researchers have spoken about their concerns, and legal academics and policymakers are more open and motivated to take AI and its risks seriously. Additionally, recent years have seen greater convergence in relevant research communities on what might be robust interventions in the AI risk space (e.g., safety evaluations, licensing schemes, tort law, and comprehensive compute governance). This provides a fertile starting point for LPP and Summer Research Fellows to contribute specific legal insights and proposals to reduce AI risk.
We already have a good sense of what research questions would be both impactful and a good fit for a summer fellowship, so you will select a research topic that fits your skills and interests from a set of topics prepared by LPP. That said, if you have a research proposal that you believe could reduce existential risk from transformative AI, we would love to know more about it and invite you to include it along with your application.
In exceptional cases, we may consider research project proposals relevant to existential risk in one of our other focus areas.
Fellows primarily work on their research projects with close mentorship from an LPP researcher. We value teamwork and encourage everyone to collaborate and give feedback to other researchers whenever possible. Fellows are welcome to come up with their own ideas on how to improve the SRF, which could include:
- Starting reading groups
- Having one-on-one conversations with LPP researchers and other fellows
- Organizing social events
- Giving talks or hosting workshops on any topics you may be interested in
Fellows can expect to work alongside supportive and kind colleagues who deeply care about doing the most good they can through law. We communicate mainly through Slack, Zoom, and a virtual office in Gather. We care about creating a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable expressing their ideas openly and challenging others. Past fellows have highlighted this friendly and supportive atmosphere.
You can read comments by past fellows and a summary of feedback here.
We support fellows in their aim to publish their research projects in law reviews, peer-reviewed journals, our working paper series, our blog, and similar publication venues. You may instead submit an internal report of your findings at the end of the fellowship. For some research topics, this may be the preferred option.
Yes. Indeed, we may be able to connect you to relevant policy-makers in your field.
The fellowship can be a great way to explore possibilities for future collaborations, as we may continue to support specific projects through grants. We may also consider hiring fellows who have demonstrated a strong commitment to our work and values. Fellows may also be invited to future events organized by LPP. This post also outlines a few opportunities that the SRF opened up for the participants.
Students are encouraged to apply early and let us know if an earlier decision would be helpful, so that the entire fellowship or as much as possible can take place outside of class periods.
If it is not possible to complete the 8–12 weeks of the fellowship without some overlap with classes, students can continue on a part-time basis during the semester. Simply let us know if the application form.