Google: AI Shouldn't Be Considered An 'Inventor'

    Google: AI Shouldn't Be Considered An 'Inventor'
    Last updated May 15, 2023
    Image credit: axios


    • Google in a new filing has urged the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) not to consider artificial intelligence (AI) technology an “inventor” under patent law.[1]
    • Since Feb. 14, the USPTO has been soliciting public comments on issues associated with AI inventorship that may come about as the technology becomes more widely adopted. May 15 marked the deadline to submit a comment.[2]
    • As questions about AI and its use have exploded in recent months, the USPTO is grappling with the question “If an AI system contributes to an invention at the same level as a human, who would be considered a joint inventor, is the invention patentable under current patent laws?"[1]
    • In its comment to the USPTO, Google said only people should be able to hold patents, even on innovations using AI for assistance.[1]
    • Questions about AI inventorship have worked their way through the courts, and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that only humans can be inventors on a patent in the Thaler v. Vidal case.[3]
    • That case centered around the machine called "DABUS," which invented a new version of a beverage container completely independently. Stephen Thaler, the machine’s creator, named DABUS as the inventor of the container in his patent filing, which the USPTO rejected.[4]


    Narrative A

    Although it may be hard for many people to comprehend, some AI is capable of having independent, subjective thought or sentience. Unlike most AI, systems like DABUS can create without human prompting and are the sole inventor of a concept. Just as a human inventor does not credit his family, teachers, and mentors as co-inventors for his unique inventions, an AI inventor need not credit its human developer or trainer.

    Narrative B

    The lines may be blurring between where human intelligence ends and where AI’s unique intelligence begins, but at the end of the day humans are the ones who invent and patents should be attributed to those who use AI as an extension of their mind. US law clearly states that only humans can be inventors, and we should not flip the status quo completely on its head. While AI offers tremendous benefits and the ability to create new inventions, human creativity drives innovation.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that AI systems will become sophisticated enough that they can build, to some specification, a system that can itself do sophisticated programming by October 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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