We are living in a technological age of enormous growth and development. Many futurists including Ray Kurzweil and our own Founder Charles Moster have described the technological growth trajectory as being nothing less than exponential. How to Build an Enhanced Computer and Take Over the World – UPDATED EDITION – NEW CONTENT: Moster, Charles: 9781074130619: Amazon.com: Books;
The key to all of the marvels at play whether the heralded 5G Network, the plethora of new vaccines to fight Covid and other illnesses, and aerospace – has been the advent of supercomputers which can operate at lightning speeds. Whereas the first commercial computer Univac dating back to the 1950’s could perform a mere 1800 operations per second, contemporary systems crank out trillions of calculations. And that’s just the beginning.
The new Artificial Intelligence programs (AI) are becoming smarter every day and the fascinating legal question is whether an AI collaborator can apply for a patent. Current law prohibits such AI/Human collaboration as only members of our species are entitled to file a patent application. However, that may change in the near future.
Computer AI is in the midst of a phase transition to higher level cognitive systems which will share the same creative attributes as humans. Our present systems regardless of the speed of number crunching are essentially tools which are entirely directed by human operators. The researcher or user simply inputs a query, and the computer generates the answer by utilizing a myriad of sophisticated programs or algorithms. In this sense, contemporary computers are no different than menial tools utilized for thousands of years. Whether the research task relates to complex science questions, mechanics, or industrial use, the task is directed by the user.
This has all changed by the advent of computers driven by “Cognitive Augmentation” which is a term coined by Maurice Conti, a brilliant technologist and entrepreneur. These systems are not mere tools but true to life collaborators which work in tandem with humans to produce a new product or concept. They are currently being used in the aerospace industry to design new systems which can travel at unimaginable speeds.
Unlike contemporary programs which can be utilized to test a design which is formulated by a human inventor, Cognitive Augmented Systems are presented with an open question and allowed to create away. For example, a Cognitive Augmented System was recently asked to come up with its own design for a new aerospace design and undertook a self-directed analysis of biological flight which was not suggested by the human programmers. It came up with a never-before-seen design of an aircraft which resembled a flying squirrel. True story!
What this portends from a technological and legal standpoint is that the rules relating to patent origination will ultimately have to change as the creativity of AI systems utilizing Cognitive Augmented applications are recognized.
In lieu of these developments, IP lawyers will need to interpret these new AI systems as simply an augmented reflection of the human researcher and as such, the exclusive property of the inventor or company.
Regardless, the roll out of these computer marvels will not only change the world but the future of patent law.