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Can an AI hold a patent?

Answer: Yes.

In a move that doesn’t at all encourage a robot revolution (eye roll), intellectual property officials in South Africa have granted the world’s first patent to an artificial intelligence as the inventor.

The patent is for a food container, which was designed and created by an AI called “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience,” or DABUS for short. Ryan Abbott, professor of law and health sciences at the University of Surrey, led the team that filed the patent.

“This is a truly historic case that recognizes the need to change how we attribute invention. We are moving from an age in which invention was the preserve of people to an era where machines are capable of realizing the inventive step, unleashing the potential of AI-generated inventions for the benefit of society,” said the University of Surrey’s Adrian Hilton, professor and director of the Institute for People-Centered AI, in a press release.
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