A fond farewell and a new Executive Director

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LukeMeuhlhauser_w135Dear friends and supporters of MIRI,

I have some important news to share with you about the future of MIRI.

Given my passion for doing research, I’m excited to have accepted a research position at GiveWell. Like MIRI, GiveWell is an excellent cultural fit for me, and I believe they’re doing important work. I look forward to joining their team on June 1st. I’m also happy to report that I will be leaving MIRI in capable leadership hands.

Back in 2011, when MIRI’s Board of Directors asked me to take the Executive Director role, I was reluctant to leave the research position I held at the time. But I also wanted to do what best served MIRI’s mission. Looking back at the past three years, I’m proud of what the MIRI team has accomplished during my tenure as Executive Director. We’ve built a solid foundation, and our research program has picked up significant momentum. MIRI will continue to thrive as I transition out of my leadership role.

My enthusiasm for MIRI’s work remains as strong as ever, and I look forward to supporting MIRI going forward, both financially and as a close advisor. I’ll also continue to write about the future of AI on my personal blog.

Nate Soares will be stepping into the Executive Director role upon my departure, with unanimous support from myself and the rest of the Board.

Nate was our top choice for many reasons. During the past year at MIRI, Nate has demonstrated his commitment to the mission, his technical abilities, his strong work ethic, his ability to rapidly acquire new skills, his ability to work well with others, his ability to communicate clearly, his ability to think through big-picture strategic issues, and other aspects of executive capability.

During the transition, I’ll be sharing with Nate everything I think I’ve learned in the past three years about running an effective research institute, and I look forward to seeing where he leads MIRI next.

MIRI continues to seek additional research and executive capacity, and our need for both will only grow as I depart and as Nate transitions from a research role to the Executive Director role. If you are a math or computer science researcher, or if you have significant executive experience, and you are interested in participating in MIRI’s vital and significant research effort, please apply here.

  • Eliezer Yudkowsky

    The amount Luke has done is one of those things that probably isn’t visible if you’re not inside MIRI. The best I can put it is that MIRI now has an organized operations section, runs regular research workshops, has 3 full-time researchers who aren’t me (with someone else coming in shortly as Nate departs), and has income sufficient to pay for all these without being afraid. None of these things were true when Luke started as Executive Director. Modulo standard caveats about causal chains involving multiple factors, it looks from here like the difference between then and now is basically due to Luke. (I know I didn’t do it.)

  • maxkhesin

    Congrats Luke and Nate. (I guessed it would be Nate based on headline!)

  • Matthew Fallshaw

    I am immensely pleased with MIRI’s development over Luke’s tenure as Executive Director, and like Eliezer place significant responsibility for this positive change at Luke’s feet. Luke’s contributions are doubly appreciated given that research is his passion; his successful service to MIRI has been in a field that isn’t even his specialty. While Nate has my full confidence as Executive Director he has a high standard to meet!
    I look forward to Luke’s contributions as he returns to the research he loves and hope to enjoy working with Nate as much as I have enjoyed working with Luke.

  • James Babcock

    Congratulations Luke and Nate! I get the feeling this marks the start of great things at both MIRI and GiveWell.

  • Kevin Fischer

    Congratulations to Luke and Nate!

  • edwin evans

    Luke has done a truly fantastic job over these last four years since he took on leading the organization. I’ve been amazed by how capable an executive he has shown himself to be, even more so considering that his passion is for research. Really remarkable, and we are so lucky to have had him as executive director.

    Luke, I’m sure you must be very proud of what you’ve accomplished! Thank you!

  • http://www.mattball.org Matt Ball

    Luke, you have done amazing work. I hope Nate can fill the huge shoes you are leaving, and I hope you find GiveWell to be everything you hope.

  • Michael Vassar

    Thank you so much Luke, for all that you have done in your time at MIRI! You were really the first person in 30 years to bring a transhumanist organization to institutional maturity. We have a lot further to go, but it’s obvious that progress over your time at MIRI was immense. I’m sure that you’ll continue to be extraordinarily effective at Givewell.
    And welcome Nate! You have won over everyone in such a short time, and share Luke’s ability to get an incredible amount written down and ready for publication. You learn fast and I’m sure you’ll do a great job.

  • Mitchell Porter

    Thank you Luke, congratulations Nate, and I look forward to the next chapter with interest.