EU patent office says only humans can be inventors as it rejects applications for beverage holder and signalling device created by artificial intelligence
- Researchers in England filed two patent applications on behalf of an AI
- The AI invented two unique devices: a beverage holder and signal device
- The applications were rejected because there was no human inventor
The European Union’s Patent Office has issued a new ruling rejecting two patent applications submitted on the behalf of artificial intelligence programs.
The two inventions were created as part of a multidisciplinary research project organized at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.
The researchers used an artificial intelligence called DABUS, or ‘device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience.’
The European Union’s Patent Office has rejected two patent applications submitted on behalf of an AI, saying patents can only be granted to human inventors
DABUS created two unique, usable ideas that were submitted to patent office: the first was a new kind of beverage contained; and the second was a signal device to help search and rescue teams locate a target.
According to a report in TechDirt, the EU’s Patent Office rejected both applications ‘on the grounds that they do not meet the requirement of the EPC that an inventor designated in the application has to be a human being, not a machine.’
One of the researchers, the University of Surrey’s Ryan Abbott, strongly disagreed with the decision.
For Abbott. refusing to credit ownership for the inventions because they lacked a human inventor was not just an outmoded way of thinking but a major obstacle that will ‘stand in the way of a new era of spectacular human endeavor.’
Abbott had previously argued it would be inappropriate to assign patent ownership of an AI-driven invention to anyone other than the AI itself.
One of the AI-created inventions submitted to the Patent Office was for a beverage container (pictured above), which the AI created with ‘flanges’ to make gripping it easier
‘If I teach my Ph.D. student that and they go on to make a final complex idea, that doesn’t make me an inventor on their patent, so it shouldn’t with a machine,’ he said in October.
He believes the best approach would be to credit the AI as the inventor of the patents, and then credit the AI’s human owner as the assignee given license to make decisions about the patent or draw benefit from it.
HOW DOES ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LEARN?
AI systems rely on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which try to simulate the way the brain works in order to learn.
ANNs can be trained to recognise patterns in information – including speech, text data, or visual images – and are the basis for a large number of the developments in AI over recent years.
Conventional AI uses input to ‘teach’ an algorithm about a particular subject by feeding it massive amounts of information.
AI systems rely on artificial neural networks (ANNs), which try to simulate the way the brain works in order to learn. ANNs can be trained to recognise patterns in information – including speech, text data, or visual images
Practical applications include Google’s language translation services, Facebook’s facial recognition software and Snapchat’s image altering live filters.
The process of inputting this data can be extremely time consuming, and is limited to one type of knowledge.
A new breed of ANNs called Adversarial Neural Networks pits the wits of two AI bots against each other, which allows them to learn from each other.
This approach is designed to speed up the process of learning, as well as refining the output created by AI systems.
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