July 31 - August 6, 2023

Virtual AI Safety Unconference (VAISU) is an online event for both established and aspiring AI safety researchers. The event is a space for you to have productive research discussions around the question: “How do we make sure that AI systems will be safe and beneficial, both in the near term and in the long run?”. This includes, but is not limited to; alignment, corrigibility, interpretability, cooperativeness, understanding humans and human value structures, AI governance, and strategy.

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from anywhere on earth ✨


We are seeking to mitigate harm and risk from the development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems, in the near term, the medium term, and the far future.VAISU is a solution-focused event. We are gathering to solve these problems, with an open mind as to what the solution may be, and a willingness to engage with diverse suggestions.Although the focus on the gathering is primarily technical, related topics such as safe human-AI interaction and policy considerations for AI safety are also welcome.


An unconference is a type of conference where the schedule is decided by the participants, at the start of the event. See "Session Selection" for details.This event is mixing people of different background, levels of experience and approaches to AI safety. We want everyone to feel welcome, but at the same time make it possible to have high context conversations. For this reason, some sessions will be tagged as "all questions welcome". For all other session everyone is welcome to listen, but we ask you to only join the video/voice conversation if you have things to add, and to keep more basic questions in the text chat.



Except for length, the format of your session proposal is completely up to you. The person who suggests the session will also be the host for that session. We'll provide Zoom rooms for all sessions, but you can also choose to use a different platform if your session has specific needs.For scheduling reasons, sessions need to be either one or two hours long. We have found that sessions shorter than one hour are less useful. Don't worry if your session idea is shorter, the rest of the time can be filled with follow-up discussions. Interactivity is at the heart of what an unconference is about. Monologue lectures are discouraged, unless given as a prelude to a discussion.When suggesting sessions, we recommend focusing on what would be useful for you. What do you want to get out of this event, and what session can you design to facilitate this?Some examples of sessions from previous events:⭐ A talk presenting an idea or ongoing project, followed by questions, feedback, and discussion.⭐ A workshop helping other participants formalize their intuitions.⭐ Brainstorming concrete research ideas.⭐ Debugging a problem that a research team is facing.⭐ In-depth discussion on some specific topic.⭐ Live Q&A with an experienced researcher.⭐ A public debate between two participants with opposing views.

want to host?


Except for length, the format of your session proposal is completely up to you. The person who suggests the session will also be the host for that session.

can't host?


Is there something you would like to see but don't want to host? This request will be shared with the other participants, and may inspire someone to run that session.

Session Selection

The unconference will start with the Welcome and Pitch Session. This serves the practical purpose of creating the schedule, but also provides a chance for you to meet the other participants and find out what drives them.During the pitch session, everyone will get a chance to present their session proposals to the other participants, and clarify their descriptions if needed. Next, we will go over the session requests together, and ask for volunteers to run these sessions. The organizers may also reach out to specific individuals to fulfill requests ahead of time. When the session list is complete, everyone votes on which sessions they wish to participate in, and indicate if there are any times when they are not available. This information will be fed into our scheduling algorithm to produce the best possible schedule.All sessions with sufficient interest will end up on the schedule. Since we're online we will not run out of rooms. The voting system and scheduling algoritm is mainly to make sure that sessions which attract the same audience don't compete for the same time.If you can't make it to the Welcoming and Pitch Session, this is ok. Just make sure to fill in your preferences and availability before hand. Information on how to do this will be provided closer to the event.

Learn, make, connect, share🪺



Online events like VAISU are much more accessible and less expensive,
both in terms of time and money. Anyone from anywhere in the world can join, no VISA required.
Because you're joining from your own home, it's easy to attend only the sessions that interest you the most, without having to commit to the full event.


Pay what you want

We don't have a ticket price for VAISU, because we don't want anyone to be discouraged because of the cost. The marginal cost per participants is zero, and you are not taking someone else's spot. We have practically unlimited capacity.However, this event does have some fixed cost. If you enjoy this event and want another like it, then please consider donating to our fundraiser. If we reach $10k USD, we promise to run the next VAISU within a year.


"Lots of exposure to cool people for future collaboration."🍃"Sparked one particular conversation that was very productive"🍃"This was my first AI safety event and it showed me how can I contribute to this field. Before that, it was only a distant fuzzy idea. Getting to know all those people also motivates me more to put my time into this, I felt a bit like I found my new tribe :D Also I gained confidence, after telling about my ideas and getting good feedback. I also have now a birds eye view of what is happening in AI safety so I understand where I can help and where not."🍃“I got a better sense of the gaps in my knowledge about AI Safety; I became more motivated to engage with AIS (at least temporarily, no idea how long-term this will be); I met some people I might stay in contact or collaborate with (though the value of that will strongly depend on whether that actually happens)”🍃“Feedback on writing style blog posts (made it clear that I want to transition quicker to making clear distinctions in next posts) and Daniel Demsky's offer to comment on drafts. Also picking up what's happening in terms of insights + people active in the community.”

© AI Safety Support 2023. All rights reserved.


Can I submit a paper to VAISU?
We do not have a peer review process, and we do not publish any papers. However, you may present the ideas in your completed or forthcoming paper at VAISU.
How can I prepare my talk or other session if I don’t know beforehand whether my session will be on the schedule?
It's very likely that your proposed session will end up on the schedule via the scheduling process. In the case that your session doesn't get scheduled this way, you will have the option to add it to the schedule anyway.
What are First, Second and Third Breakfast about?
These are times for socializing and replenishing your energy. We could have called them lunch, coffee break and dinner, but since our participants will be in different time zones, these names will inevitably be wrong for someone, so we might as well call them all "breakfast".
Can I attend only part of VAISU?
Yes. We recognize that due to time differences and other circumstances, not everyone will be available all the time. You are free to attend as much or as little as is convenient for you.
Do I have to join the Welcome and Pitch Session?
No, but we recommend it if you are new to this research community. Last event, most participants appreciated the Welcome and Pitch Session but not everyone thought it was worth their time. If you can’t join or don’t want to, there will be ways for you to express your preferences and availability asynchronously.
Why are there two empty days between the Welcome and Pitch Session and the rest of the schedule?
Typically at an in-person unconference, participants would co-create the schedule right at the start of the event, by just adding things directly to the schedule. We have found from previous events that this works less well for online events. One problem is the uncertainty of other participants availability. Instead you will supply your preferences to an algorithm, but this means we organisers need some time to generate the schedule. If everything goes as expected, this should not take much time. The reason we leave two days free is in case not everything works as expected.
What should I do during the empty days?
You can do what ever you want, but here are some suggestions:
* What ever you normally do on a Tuesday and Wednesday.
* Prepare for sessions you want to attend. Maybe there's some reading you'd like to do?
* Network with other participants, e.g. schedule 1-on-1s. We'll provide some support for this closer to the event.
When is the deadline for submitting session proposals and session requests?
You can suggest and/or request sessions up until the Welcome and Pich Session on July 31st. However we strongly recommend that you don’t wait until the last minute. The scheduling is based on other participants' interest in your session. If you share your session proposal last minute, others might not have time to see it and vote on it. You will be able to edit your session proposal/request after submission, which means you can submit a rough draft (although still readable) and refine it later.
When is the registration deadline?
In order to attend VAISU you need to register using this form. Registration deadline is July 30. However if you expect to attend, please register right now. It really helps us to know who is joining, in good time. You will be able to update your registration information later if needed.
I have another question not shown here
Sure, no problem. Please send us an email at

Schedule Outline

Session slots (black) will be filled with content organised by you and the other participants.You can see the time-zone location of the schedule in the lower right corner. It should adjust automatically to where ever you are, but in case you need to adjust it manually, just click on the name of the city.If you can't see the closing session, it might be past midnight in your time zone, in which case you'll find it early on Monday the week after. Switch to next week to find it.

What is an Unconference?

An unconference is a participant driven symposium, designed to give participants only the conversations that they are actually interested in. Instead of the program being decided by a committee, what happens will be chosen by the participants. Furthermore, to make sure to keep the focus on whatever is alive for participants, the program is decided right at the start of the unconference.An unconference seeks to drive forward research and innovation by collaborating in ways that are beyond that which is offered in more traditional settings. Participants can share their own work and ideas, or make requests for what they want to learn about. These requests can then be filled by other participants. Sessions might be something like a brainstorming conversation, launching new project, discussing a contentious topic, or a technical review of completed research. All session formats are invited.
The most impactful breakthroughs in the history of science have come about through interactions such as these described above. The Unconference is a safe, stimulating space for aspiring AI Safety researchers to engage with the community in a meaningful and authentic way.


JULY 2023

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