About Us

The humans

We are thinkers, makers, artificial intelligence engineers, conservation technologists, learners, entrepreneurs and artists who care deeply about the interdependent future of our planet and its species.

Our Team

Katie Zacarian
Katie Zacarian
Cofounder · CEO
See bio
Aza Raskin
Aza Raskin
Cofounder · President
See bio
Britt Selvitelle
Britt Selvitelle
Cofounder · Senior Advisor
See bio
Andrea Austin
Andrea Austin
Head of Operations
See bio
Benjamin Hoffman
Benjamin Hoffman
Senior AI Research Scientist
See bio
Felix Effenberger
Felix Effenberger
Senior AI Research Advisor
See bio
Jane Lawton
Jane Lawton
Director of Development and External Affairs
See bio
Jen-Yu Liu
Jen-Yu Liu
Senior AI Research Scientist
See bio
Maddie Cusimano
Maddie Cusimano
Senior AI Research Scientist
See bio
Masato Hagiwara
Masato Hagiwara
Senior AI Research Scientist
See bio

Our Board

Kay Firth Butterfield
Head of Artificial Intelligence, World Economic Forum
See bio
Kay Firth Butterfield
Head of Artificial Intelligence, World Economic Forum

Kay Firth-Butterfield is Head of Artificial Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum and is one of the foremost experts in the world on the governance of AI. She is a Barrister, former Judge and Professor, technologist and entrepreneur who has an abiding interest in how humanity can equitably benefit from new technologies, especially AI. Kay is an Associate Barrister (Doughty Street Chambers), Master of the Inner Temple, London and serves on the Lord Chief Justice’s Advisory Panel on AI and Law. She co-founded AI Global and was the world’s first Chief AI Ethics officer in 2014 and created the AIEthics twitter hashtag. Kay is Vice-Chair of The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems and was part of the group which met at Asilomar to create the Asilomar AI Ethical Principles. She is on the Polaris Council for the Government Accountability Office (USA), the Advisory Board for UNESCO International Research Centre on AI and AI4All. Kay has advanced degrees in Law and International Relations and regularly speaks to international audiences addressing many aspects of the beneficial and challenging technical, economic and social changes arising from the use of AI. She has been consistently recognized as a leading woman in AI since 2018 and was featured in the New York Times as one of 10 Women Changing the Landscape of Leadership.

Wendy Hanamura
Director of Partnerships, Internet Archive
See bio
Wendy Hanamura
Director of Partnerships, Internet Archive

Wendy Hanamura is the Director of Partnerships at the Internet Archive, one of the world’s largest digital libraries. She helps to steward the DWeb community (GetDWeb.net) that now encompasses 11 global nodes of technologists, policymakers, artists and activists all working to build a better web. Hanamura produced the Decentralized Web Summits in 2016 & 2018, and DWeb Camp in 2019 and 2022. At the Internet Archive, her areas of responsibility include communication and content strategy, strategic planning, and partnership building, all in service of the Internet Archive’s mission: universal access to knowledge. Hanamura is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer & correspondent (CBS, NHK, PBS, KCET/Link) and serves on the boards or advisory panels of the Filecoin Foundation, Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web, Unfinished Network Trust, Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation, Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance, and Whose Knowledge?

Brewster Kahle
Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive
See bio
Brewster Kahle
Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: providing Universal Access to All Knowledge. He is the founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, one of the largest libraries in the world. Soon after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied artificial intelligence, Kahle helped found the company Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker. In 1989, Kahle created the Internet's first publishing system called Wide Area Information Server (WAIS), later selling the company to AOL. In 1996, Kahle co-founded Alexa Internet, which helps catalog the Web, selling it to Amazon.com in 1999. The Internet Archive, which he founded in 1996, now preserves 99+ unique petabytes of data - the books, Web pages, music, television, and software of our cultural heritage, working with more than 950 library and university partners to create a digital library, accessible to all.

Sean White
Advisor/Investor
See bio
Sean White
Advisor/Investor

Dr. Sean White is dedicated to the idea that science, technology, and design can improve lives. He has worked across disciplines, from computer science to nanoscale fabrication to botany building strong teams, successful companies, and global organizations. Dr. White currently works with several start-ups and nonprofits in the roles of advisor, investor, and board member. He is the former Chief R&D Officer for Mozilla. Prior to Mozilla, Dr. White was a Founder/CEO of BrightSky Labs, a company he incubated while at Greylock Partners that provided creativity tools enabled by machine learning. Previous roles include, CTO of NeoCarta Ventures, Founder/CEO of RecNet, VP of Technology for Lycos, Inc., CTO of WhoWhere?, Inc., and Head of New Mobile Forms and Experiences at Nokia.

In addition to 30+ peer-reviewed publications, 3400 citations, and 20+ patents granted, Dr. White’s award winning work received a Tech for Global Good Laureate.  Dr. White has created graduate courses at Stanford University and Columbia University as well as keynoted at IEEE and ACM conferences and served on the Steering Committee for IEEE’s International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR). Sean earned his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University and his MS in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Merlin Van Lawick
Ambassador, Jane Goodall Institute
Merlin Van Lawick
Ambassador, Jane Goodall Institute

Dr. Sean White is dedicated to the idea that science, technology, and design can improve lives. He has worked across disciplines, from computer science to nanoscale fabrication to botany building strong teams, successful companies, and global organizations. Dr. White currently works with several start-ups and nonprofits in the roles of advisor, investor, and board member. He is the former Chief R&D Officer for Mozilla. Prior to Mozilla, Dr. White was a Founder/CEO of BrightSky Labs, a company he incubated while at Greylock Partners that provided creativity tools enabled by machine learning. Previous roles include, CTO of NeoCarta Ventures, Founder/CEO of RecNet, VP of Technology for Lycos, Inc., CTO of WhoWhere?, Inc., and Head of New Mobile Forms and Experiences at Nokia.

In addition to 30+ peer-reviewed publications, 3400 citations, and 20+ patents granted, Dr. White’s award winning work received a Tech for Global Good Laureate.  Dr. White has created graduate courses at Stanford University and Columbia University as well as keynoted at IEEE and ACM conferences and served on the Steering Committee for IEEE’s International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR). Sean earned his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University and his MS in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Columbia University.

Photo by Hans Veth

How we got here

2007

Britt Selvitelle and Aza Raskin met in 2007. At the time, Britt was on the founding team at Twitter and Aza was helping start Mozilla Labs. They instantly connected over their shared curiosity and respect for how technology changes the way we relate to ourselves, each other, and the natural world.

2013

In 2013, the seed for the Earth Species Project was planted when Aza heard an NPR story on the uncannily human-like vocalizations of the Gelada monkey. Thore Bergman, the evolutionary biologist at University of Michigan heading the study, described it:

“We noticed sounds like people were talking around you. Most primates only make a few sounds, but geladas produce a complex stream with a rhythm similar to language.”

— Hints of Human Language Heard in Lip-Smacking Monkey Talk, Wired, April 8, 2013

2018

Inspired by the work of numerous ethologists and researchers, they left their computers (mostly) to venture into the field and learn firsthand from those with decades of wisdom in bioacoustics and animal communication. They founded the Earth Species Project in the vein of the organizations whose values and impact in the world have inspired us, like the Internet Archive and Mozilla. 

2020

In 2020 they were joined by Katie Zacarian—an early member of the team at Facebook—but since 2015 deeply steeped in the world of applying technology to solve conservation challenges. Katie has led the development of relationships with our biologist partners, driven our thinking about impact and has recently stepped into the role of CEO.

2021

Our first scientific paper on the Cocktail Party Problem is published! And as ESP grows, new multi-year funding secure the organization's future as a thriving research non-profit.

2022

The team grows to 10, with a dynamic AI research team of five, with deep expertise in mathematics, neuroscience, deep learning and natural language processing. Several specialized AI research projects get underway with support from our biologist partners.

Photo by Vivek Kumar

Working at Earth Species Project

The Earth Species Project is a fully remote global team. Our success depends on our diversity, and we strive to  create an inclusive environment that supports creativity and innovation.

We use tech for good

Our work is grounded in science and everyone at Earth Species Project is motivated by the desire to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to make a positive impact on the world.

We never stop learning (and teaching)

At Earth Species Project we learn something new every day. Our team is also eager to teach one another, and we encourage curiosity and knowledge sharing.

We strive for work-life integration

We trust you to use your best judgment about where and when to do your work. Go on vacation when you need to, start working at sunrise or sunset, and take breaks throughout the day to spend time with your family, friends, pets, or to focus on yourself.

We believe that every person’s voice is important

No matter what role you play on the team, everyone has the chance to contribute to making important decisions about how we work and what we work on.

We seek awe and inspiration in nature

Being in the natural world and among other animals is key to our mission of understanding non-human communication. We aim to spend time together regularly in nature as a team.

Additional benefits

  • Competitive pay
  • Medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance - ESP covers 100% of the premium 
  • 401k plan with match (if based in the United States)
  • Home office stipend
  • Unlimited paid time off, with a recommended minimum of three weeks per year
  • Flexible working hours
  • Collaborations with top biologists and conservation institutions in the field of behavioral ecology 
  • Opportunity to observe and participate in data collection—previous research includes bioacoustic and behavioral ecology fieldwork in Alaska, Monterey Bay in California, and the Congo rainforest
  • Regular team retreats around the world

Current Job opportunities