Is it time to recognize the contributions of artificial intelligence on patent applications?

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Artificial intelligence has been around for some time now. In fact, AIs have been contributing to the development of new ideas and inventions for some time.

Professor Ryan Abbot of the University of Surrey School of Law, one of the authors of a study on artificial intelligence in the invention process, says, “While some patent prosecutors say the ability of machines to create patentable inventions on their own is well off in the future, artificial intelligence has actually been generating inventive ideas for decades.

As an example, the cross-bristled toothbrush design was invented by an artificial intelligence system called The Creativity Machine.

The study, published in the Boston College Law Review, finds that in order to promote creativity and innovation, computer should be given credit for their inventions.

At this time, it’s impossible to know how often artificial intelligence contributes to or even takes the lead on an invention or innovation, because it’s not usually credited.

On the one hand, giving computers credit prevents a human inventor from receiving credit for something that they didn’t invent, or didn’t invent on their own. If someone takes credit for something that required AI help to do, he or she isn’t really being honest about the creation process. That can come back to haunt them, or future employers or investors.

The other reason to give computers credit is to promote the use of artificial intelligence in a wider variety of industries. Creative computing is a powerful tool that can help push the limits of research and development, but it doesn’t have a huge following yet.

By making it clear when computers participate in the creation of a new device or software, it shows other people that creative computing is useful. This could lead to wider adoption of AI and subsequently, more creative ideas.

“Soon computers will be routinely inventing, and it may only be a matter of time until computers are responsible for most innovation,” says Abbott. “To optimize innovation—and the positive impact this will have on our economies—it is critical that we extend the laws around inventorship to include computers.”