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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amid rising worries regarding the development of human-level machine intelligence, a prominent Berkeley research organization has become the first to stop openly publishing all of its findings.

Why it matters: The move by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute is a break from a traditional standard of openness in computer-science research.

We’ve reported before on researchers’ questions about the right amount of openness and transparency when discussing potentially dangerous work. This is the most extreme reaction we’ve seen yet.

  • It comes as AI researchers are quietly deliberating how to react to the potential malicious use of AI.
  • MIRI worries that open publishing could aid progress toward an unchecked super-intelligent machine.
  • Today, AI researchers routinely first post their papers at Arxiv, an entirely free and open, non-peer-reviewed repository for scientific papers.

Details: MIRI — which has received funding from AI dystopians like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk’s Future of Life Institute — posted a strategy document on Thanksgiving outlining its new policy of "nondisclosed-by-default research."

  • "Most results discovered within MIRI will remain internal-only unless there is an explicit decision to release those results, based usually on a specific anticipated safety upside from their release," wrote MIRI executive director Nate Soares.
"It does seem to me to be useful that an AI research organization has taken this step, if only so that it generates data for the community about what the consequences are of taking such a step."
— Jack Clark, OpenAI policy director

OpenAI, another prominent AI research nonprofit, wrote in its charter that it expects that "safety and security concerns will reduce our traditional publishing in the future."

  • Jack Clark, OpenAI’s policy director, said the organization is still in the early stages of fulfilling the goal, but that the questions MIRI is grappling with — when it's best to keep research private — are worth debating.

Go deeper

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.