Artificial Intelligence, A Real Job

For all of those who complain about those humanities programs weighing down our public universities and not preparing graduates for jobs, I give you this job posting, from the American Philosophical Association’s Jobs for Philosophers:

CYCORP, AUSTIN, TX. Cycorp has an immediate opening for an Ontologist. The opening is for regular, full-time employment with a private company, and involves no teaching duties. Nonteaching duties: The successful candidate will help us bring human-level AI into existence and into widespread use. You will be extending the world’s largest knowledge based system, Cyc, both in its breadth of gener…al common sense and in its depth in fields ranging from finance to energy to manufacturing to search to medicine to counterterrorism. You will work as part of a team, alongside other ontologists and AI programmers. Through introspection, reading, and discussions with domain experts, you will codify and formalize important, general pieces of knowledge about the world, and you will test the growing AI system’s understanding of what you’ve taught it.

Qualifications: You have an advanced degree in philosophy, and are familiar with modal and higher order logics and epistemology. The position requires that you have great facility in converting English sentences representing assertions into equivalent formal sentences in a predicate calculus such as first order logic. We offer competitive compensation, a stimulating and productive work environment, and the chance to contribute to the development of the world’s first true Artificial Intelligence.

And they say philosophy doesn’t pay. As my friend, Ph.D student Erik Kenyon. wrote on Facebook “Some lucky individual will be able to wear cowboy boots to work, talk an iphone through some existential crises and usher in the end of the world. If only my predicate calculus weren’t so rusty….”

The company website is here.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer