Skip to the main content

Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Assistant Role

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society seeks a number of part-time research assistants for the fall 2018 semester to help advance our policy, research, and educational efforts around AI, autonomous systems, machine learning, and other algorithmic technologies. Research assistants will join a team that includes the Cyberlaw Clinic and Berkman Klein Center faculty, staff, and fellows from across the initiative to develop interdisciplinary, cutting-edge work across a variety of topics.

In particular, we are looking for research assistants to help in wide ranging activities that support the Center’s work, including (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Creating a playbook for policymakers around the globe as they work to address the challenges and opportunities of AI, especially those related to inclusion; drawing from our work on the global governance of AI technologies (including the ways in which transboundary applications of AI may challenge existing governance institutions).

  • Writing case studies about public and private sector organizations’ uses of AI technologies and the unique ethical, technical, legal, and business questions that those tools pose.

  • Examining the impact of these types of technologies on social and criminal justice (including the use of risk assessment algorithms and related technical tools to facilitate judicial determinations concerning bail, parole, sentencing, and the like).

  • Addressing issues and challenges in the public interest pertaining to media manipulation, and mapping the sphere of harmful speech online in order to translate academic findings into useful information for policy makers and additional stakeholders.

  • Investigating how youth interact with and are impacted by AI: while much has been written about the impacts of AI on society more broadly, little work has focused primarily on youth.The Youth and Media team researches AI and its impact on the lives of youth (12-18-year-olds) in domains such as education, health and well-being, entertainment, and the future of work.

To learn more about the initiative and specific areas of focus for the Center’s work, please visit the Ethics and Governance of AI page on the Berkman Klein Center’s website.

Research Assistant Responsibilities

Research assistants will work within one or more of the focus areas described above, among others. This work may include:

  • researching, data collection, and writing;

  • tracking and capturing major developments and discussions in news media, blogosphere, and social mediascape around the identified set of topics;

  • performing legal and/or policy analysis of technological developments in the field;

  • assisting with the writing and coordination of research reports;

  • contributing to other ongoing AI research efforts; and

  • drafting blog posts and editing contributions to the blog from affiliates and other contributors.

Required Experience and Skills

RA candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • interest in and enthusiasm for artificial intelligence or technology-related issues;

  • excellent research, writing, and data analysis skills;

  • ability to quickly draft and contextualize written materials within the suite of the project outputs;

  • experience with copy editing as well as editing for flow and style

  • excellent critical reading comprehension skills, with the ability to absorb material quickly;

  • familiarity with and knowledge of online research platforms as well as resources accessible through libraries; and

  • the initiative and energy to see projects to completion in a dynamic environment.

General Academic Year Research Assistant Information and Eligibility

  • We are unable to hire RAs who live outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  • We do not have the ability to provide authorization to work in the United States.

  • RAs do not have to be students.

  • RAs do not have to be affiliated with Harvard University.

Time Commitment:

The position requires a commitment of 8-12 hours per week. We are looking for RAs to begin in early to late September. Researchers can generally work remotely but will attend regular meetings on site at the Berkman Klein Center or elsewhere at Harvard Law School.


The position will be compensated at the standard Harvard RA/intern rate of $11.50/hour for a maximum of 17.25 hours per week. No other benefits are provided.

About BKC’s Ethics and Governance of AI initiative:

Together, the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab have launched the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative aimed at bolstering the use of AI for the public good through evidence-based research that provides guidance for decision-makers across the private and public sectors; fostering a network of interdisciplinary researchers focused on AI ethics and governance-related issues; and strengthening relationships between industry, academia, civil society, and government.

Enabled by support from the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, the Berkman Klein Center and the Media Lab are collaborating on a range of activities that include a diverse array of voices and seek to discern and preserve the human element so often lost in highly technical AI conversations.

For more information, please visit our website.

Applications and Questions:

To apply, please email a brief paragraph summarizing your interest in the role, relevant experiences, and any specific subject areas or topics within the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative that you’d like to work on. Please attach a current CV or resume. Applications should be sent to:

You might also like