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AI Watch and Org Watch

This is the repository for two related websites:

  • AI Watch is a website designed to track people and organizations working in AI safety.
  • Org Watch is a generalization of AI Watch that covers positions outside of AI safety.

Both sites use the same code and database, stored in this repository.

Project layout

  • access-portal/ contains the PHP code for the website.
  • sql/ contains the data stored in MySQL format.

Setting up

This section is only relevant to people who want to run a local instance of AI Watch (e.g. for development purposes).

First, clone the repo and set up the database:

git clone
cd aiwatch
mysql -e "create database aiwatch"
make read  # read in data from sql/

Now set up the password file to allow PHP to log in to the database:

cp access-portal/backend/globalVariables/{,}
vi access-portal/backend/globalVariables/  # change to add database login info

If you're hosting this on a server, make sure to disable public access to the password file.

Finally start the service:

cd access-portal
php -S localhost:8000

To get AnchorJS and tablesorter, run:

make fetch_anchorjs
make fetch_tablesorter

You can now visit http://localhost:8000/ in your browser.

Basic steps for adding new data

Before running commands in Git Bash, make sure you are in the AI Watch directory. If you cloned the git repo from your home directory, you can go to the AI Watch directory by typing the following:

cd ~/aiwatch

This only needs to be done once every time you open Git Bash, whereas the other commands below must be done every time you want to save changes to git.

  1. Open an existing .sql file or make a new .sql file in which to add new data. For example, to add data to 80,000 Hours positions, you can open sql/positions/80000hours-positions.sql.

  2. Add data to the file (using a text editor such as Notepad) by looking at sources like Wayback Machine for the team page, LinkedIn, blog posts, Facebook, etc. For the data format, look at the other files in the same directory and copy the format.

    A few things to keep in mind:

    • Date fields must include year, month, and day, so for example '2016-02-01'. MySQL will complain if you only add year or month.
    • The first row of a file shouldn't start with a comma, but all the subsequent rows must start with a comma because of the way rows are separated in MySQL.
  3. Once you reach a good stopping point, check for errors in the MySQL syntax. Type:


    This will reload all of the data in MySQL. MySQL will complain if there are any errors, and you can fix them. If MySQL says nothing, that means all the data has correct syntax.

    WARNING: only reloads files that are explicitly listed in the script, so if you make a new SQL file it will by default not be loaded into the database. If you make a new SQL file, you must add a line similar to the following one in

    winpty "$MYSQL" --defaults-extra-file="$HOME/.my.cnf" aiwatch -e "source sql/positions/80000hours-positions.sql"

    After you edit and save, you will need to commit changes to Git:

    git add
    git commit -m "New SQL file"
  4. Stage the file in git. Type

    git add FILENAME

    where FILENAME is the name of the file you have been editing. If there are multiple files, you can either type git add FILENAME1 FILENAME2 or you can type one line for each file.

    To find all files with changes, you can type:

    git status

    Then you can copy the path that is shown there.

  5. Commit your changes. There are two ways to do this:

    • Simple way. You can type:

      git commit -m "your message here"

      where your message here is a summary of the changes you made. For example, you might type:

      git commit -m "Add 80,000 Hours team from 2012"
    • Using a text editor (this is better if you want to write a multi-line commit message). You can type:

      git commit

      This will open a text editor for you to type your commit message. In Git Bash, the default text editor is Vim. You can press i (which enters insert mode) and then type in your message (e.g. "Add 80,000 Hours team from 2012") and then press Escape. Then press :wq followed by Enter (this will save the file and close Vim).

  6. Upload your changes to GitHub. You can type:

    git push
  7. If you've finished working on an issue, add the ready_for_review label on the issue.

Some tricky things to keep in mind:

  • An organization might change its team page location, so you might need to find its old team page location in Wayback Machine. To do this, go to the homepage for the organization within Wayback Machine, find an old snapshot, then find the team page within that snapshot.
  • A person might have changed their name over the years. In this case, you will want to use their newest name.

The very first time you set up Git, you will need to do the following:

  • Set name and email for Git.
  • git checkout -b BRANCHNAME to start a new branch.
  • git push --set-upstream origin BRANCHNAME to set the branch to push to on origin (GitHub).

Some validation/sanity checking SQL commands

To be able to run SQL commands, you must first open a MySQL command prompt. Open Git Bash, then type the following (or copy-paste the command; to paste a command into Git Bash, right click the Git Bash window and select Paste):

winpty "/c/Program Files/MySQL/MySQL Server 8.0/bin/mysql" --defaults-extra-file="$HOME/.my.cnf" aiwatch

Now you can type the following SQL commands. To exit out of MySQL, you can type Control-d.

The following command looks at each organization and finds distinct people with the same last name. This will often catch people who use shorted versions of their name in some contexts (e.g. "Alex Ray" and "Alexander Ray").

select organization,group_concat(distinct person) from positions group by organization, substring_index(person,' ',-1) having count(distinct person) > 1;

The following command will find duplicate (organization, person, title) combinations. This often means that the same position has been entered more than once.

select count(*),person,organization,title from positions group by person,organization,title having count(*)>1;

You can restrict the above to a single organization, say GiveWell, by typing the following instead:

select count(*),person,organization,title from positions where organization='GiveWell' group by person,organization,title having count(*)>1;

The following command will find all cases where there is more than one "unended" position for each (person, organization) pair. Since each person usually only holds one position at a time, this can often tell you of positions that are missing an end_date that should be added.

select organization,person,group_concat(title) from positions where end_date is NULL group by person,organization having count(*) > 1 order by organization;

The following command flags organizations whose last position date (i.e. the latest date out of all start_date and end_date values) is later than the last major data update date:

select o.organization, o.last_major_data_update_date, group_concat(p.person, ': ', greatest(p.start_date, p.end_date) separator '; ') as violations from organizations o inner join positions p on o.organization = p.organization where o.last_major_data_update_date < greatest(p.start_date, p.end_date) group by o.organization, o.last_major_data_update_date;



The idea here is that if the list of violations for an org grows too long (say, 10+ positions), then it becomes pretty obvious that the last major data update date forgot to be changed when the data was updated.

Tips for using Visual Studio Code

Most keyboard shortcuts like copy, paste, save, search, all work as expected. Below are some advanced settings that are useful when doing data entry.

Sorting lines

  1. To sort a block of lines, go to the first line and click on it.
  2. Then type Control-Shift-End. This will select all lines from the current cursor position until the end of the file.
  3. Now type Control-p followed by > followed by the word sort and then choose "Sort Lines Ascending" from the menu.

WARNING: Be careful when sorting lines to make sure that there are no commented lines or SQL "rows" that take up more than one line, as these will be sorted incorrectly. Also when sorting a block of SQL "rows" for the whole file, add a comma to the first row, then sort, then remove a comma from the first row.

Word wrapping

To toggle word wrapping, press Alt-z.


All contributions are welcome. Contributions might take the form of:

  • Data collection
  • Code contributions to the website
  • Feature requests/finding bugs
  • Feedback


All code and data released to the public domain according to CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication.

Notes to self

To export some organization data from the donations database:

mysql donations -e "select donee,former_name,website,contact_email,country, \
    key_people,launch_date,launch_date_precision,launch_date_url, \
    facebook_username,instagram_username,medium_username,pinterest_username, \
    timelines_wiki_page,tumblr_subdomain,twitter_username,wikipedia_page, \
    youtube_username from donees where cause_area REGEXP 'ai risk';" \
    > temp.tsv

Find uncategorized interns:

select person,title,employment_type from positions
where title regexp 'intern' and (employment_type != 'intern' or employment_type is null);