Simon Institute for Longterm Governance
We founded the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance (SI) in April 2021 to enhance the multilateral system’s ability to anticipate and mitigate global catastrophic risks. Our current work is focused on promoting the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI) through multilateral governance.
Collaborating with international organizations, governments, think tanks and leading research labs, we translate technical knowledge into actionable policy advice, facilitate exchange between researchers and policymakers, and provide input to multilateral governance processes. Through our work, we hope to contribute to building governance systems that are fit for the 21st century.
We’ve produced 40+ written outputs to advise international organizations, governments and non-state actors on existential risk and AI governance. We’ve given 10+ statements at international conferences, hosted 40+ events to convene and coordinate stakeholders, and held 1500+ meetings.
We’re currently the sole organization focusing solely on frontier AI at the multilateral level. You can find a detailed overview of our work and impact to date here.
Until the end of 2025, SI will focus on improving the multilateral system’s capacity to govern rapid technological change, specifically focusing on AI.
We see our strategic context as follows:
- The world is likely moving from a unipolar to a bipolar or multipolar order. Multilateral governance processes are contested via north-south tensions, US-China tensions are on the rise, and private companies increasingly provide global public goods.
- AI progress is inducing new policy challenges and exacerbating existing ones. Heightened public awareness of AI will amplify political discourse and increase the number of national, multilateral, and private-sector AI governance processes being pursued, making multilateral policy coherence increasingly crucial.
- SI is a promising young organization facing a stress test. It has built expertise, credibility, infrastructure and networks to substantially contribute to multilateral frontier tech governance. Many funders have announced reductions in their giving due to economic uncertainty, while AI governance is gaining popularity amongst philanthropists.
Given this context, our goals are as follows:
Boost the multilateral system’s ability to prioritize, discuss and deploy solutions to reduce risks and maximize benefits from transformative technological advances;
1.1. Increase national demand for measured international action.
1.2. Support tech governance processes in leading international organizations.
1.3. Foster exchange and action within the multilateral tech governance system.
Advise national and non-governmental actors working on tech governance questions to act and communicate in ways that increase the likelihood of multilateral progress;
2.1. Enhance civil society engagement in multilateral processes.
2.2. Contribute to the development of effective multi-stakeholder bodies.
2.3. Boost national awareness of multilateral affairs for international coherence.
Boost SI’s sustainability and operations.
3.1. Raise between 2.6MM-5.2MM CHF from a diverse set of funders.
3.2. Strengthen and grow the SI workforce to ~10 full-time employees.
3.3. Enhance SI’s operations, governance, and knowledge management.
You can see here to learn more about our strategy, theory of change, and how we plan to achieve our goals.
How multilateral AI governance fits into the ITN framework:
- Importance: AI is plausibly the biggest issue in human history. AI could accelerate scientific innovation, automate the economy, and reduce global inequality. At the same time, AI systems could also pose catastrophic risks. Government action is crucial to make the most out of AI, and multilateral action is key for driving policy coherence.
- Tractability: The window for making progress on multilateral AI governance is now. China has shown willingness to tackle AI at the multilateral level, AI labs have signaled interest for international regulation, and political attention has shifted to AI, triggering novel political processes. The multilateral system can help prevent risky international races through monitoring, assurance and mediation, and can help avoid societal disruption through the equitable distribution of profits.
- Neglectedness: Institutions and philanthropies under-invest in multilateral catastrophic AI risk mitigation. Multilateral AI governance plausibly has comparatively high marginal return, and multilateral engagement by catastrophic risk focused actors is currently neglected.
Our budget and room for more funding:
- Our minimum 3-year budget is $3.2MM
- Our maximum 3-year budget is $5.8MM
- Our current balance is $600k
- Our room for more funding is $2.6MM-5.2MM
What your dollar buys:
- $5,000: A briefing event for Member States in Geneva to improve their understanding of AI governance.
- $20,000: A briefing event to key UN Officials and Member States representatives in NYC on AI.
- $50,000: A report on multilateral AI governance targeting Member States.
- $100,000: A 2-day coordination retreat with ½ AI researchers and ½ multilateral actors.
- $150,000: An annual salary for an AI governance expert, focused on tactical research on how to engage with developing countries and China on AI governance.
Why support us
- As AI continues to gain global attention, the issue risks being overtaken by misinformation and noise. Our longstanding focus on the topic, coupled with our links to the frontier research community, allow us to provide an informed voice.
- We’ve built credibility and networks within the multilateral system, and have a unique vantage point to raise awareness about risks and opportunities from AI.
- By translating between the multilateral system and frontier AI communities, we contribute to maintaining the foundation for targeted exchange between policymakers and experts as AI governance becomes increasingly urgent.
- We’re currently the only organization focusing solely on frontier AI governance at the multilateral level.
General comments on the project.