Artificial Intelligence has been around since the concept was proposed in 1956 in the U.S.A. Since that day, over 1.7 million AI related publications have been filed for over 350,000 inventions.

Recently, the increase in computer power and communication technologies have allowed the sharing and accumulation of massive volumes of data, which has opened the door to a new era for research and development.

This year, a multi-disciplinary team based at the University of Surrey filed the first ever successful patent applications for autonomously created inventions by AI without a human inventor.

Industry leaders have stated that AI is becoming more and more autonomous by the day. The use of AI is most likely going to change the landscape of drug discovery processes as we know it.

This poses some awkward legal issues in terms of ownership of patents, which are crucial questions to answer for drug discovery organisations. The UK classifies these autonomously created findings as “Computer Generated Works” and has allowed copyright protection on them. However, in the US and Europe, the same studies are being restricted due to the lack of a “human inventor”.

This poses a serious question, echoing throughout the industry: Should an AI system be credited as an inventor?

AI has been generating inventive output within R&D for over 10 years but currently, we’re seeing much more significant impact. What’s stopping us from embracing these new approaches and concepts across the world?

If AI is facilitating innovation and making research more efficient, shouldn’t we welcome it with open arms, allowing these novel approaches and processes to improve the way we find, discover and think about science?

Unless the system adapts, outdated global intellectual property laws are going to restrict AI developers and hold them back from making this next step into the future and the new frontier of digital scientific discovery.

About Kenny Brownlee

Kenny is a Talent Community Manager at Singular Talent, and spends his days talking to the country’s leading biotech scientists about their careers.

He’s an experienced recruiter with a passion for technology, people, and how they can come together to create the future.


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