Ought does research on using machine learning to automate thinking and reflection.

As ML advances, we aim to harness this progress to support people in reasoning through complex questions, and (in the long run) automate such reasoning in a way that is aligned with users' goals and preferences.

As a researcher at Ought, you synthesize existing work on using AI methods and other kinds of automation to support deliberate problem-solving. With this background in mind, you design new systems to support and automate thinking, as well as contribute to our project on factored cognition.

You assimilate ideas from a range of fields, including information not yet covered in textbooks. You learn through reading papers and talking to researchers, and you are able to quickly orient yourself and contribute to ongoing research conversations.

You generate hypotheses worth testing, along the lines of this one, this one, this one, and this one, and work closely with our engineers and experimenters to guide implementation and testing.

The required background for this role is flexible—above all, we care that you are an exceptionally clear thinker and have deep interest in the research topic.

The salary range for this role is $120k to $200k per year.

About you


  • Strong computer science background
  • Highly motivated to think about distributed/automated deliberation
  • Evidence of ability to do innovative research
  • Clear, well-reasoned, and engaging writing
  • You’re excited to join a new research organization which currently has just a few employees, and to play a key role in its development
  • You’re motivated by the long-term impacts of AI, and believe that Ought’s research program is promising from that angle
  • People enjoy working with you
  • Fluent written and spoken English

Good to have:

  • Deep understanding of AI and machine learning
  • Publications in machine learning, crowdsourcing, or HCI
  • Strong mathematical background
  • Strong applied programming skills
  • Experience with functional programming, compilers, interpreters, or “unusual” computing paradigms
  • Experience managing projects
  • Experience thinking about organizational strategy, and interest in helping Ought think about strategy
  • Interest in stepping outside of your job description to help Ought improve as an organization


  • Health, dental, vision, and life insurance
  • 20 days of paid vacation per year (in addition to national holidays)
  • Modern workspaces, with funds available for equipment of your choice
  • Relocation assistance
  • Flexible hours
  • Paid travel to conferences


  • Take into account that we're a new organization. You will have unusually large leverage and room for growth, including the potential to manage other employees and contractors in the future, but you'll also need more initiative than at an established company and you'll wear many hats.
  • We strongly prefer applicants who can work on site, but will consider remote work for exceptional candidates, including internationally.
  • We're a mission-driven non-profit. The position is best suited for someone who deeply cares about our mission.
  • Salaries are competitive. We generally pay Bay Area market rate based on comparable positions at other organizations, including for-profit companies.
  • Not sure which position to apply for? Just pick one for now, add a note on alternatives you're considering, and we'll discuss.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Ought is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

About Ought

Ought is a non-profit research organization. Our mission is to leverage machine learning to help people think. Our office is in San Francisco (North Beach), next to Washington Square park.


If you have extensive experience with software engineering in general and web app development in particular, both front-end and back-end, consider this position.