Groundbreaking: an Australian Court Decided that AI Can be Legally Recognised as an Inventor in Patent Applications

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A recent decision taken by an Australian court nullified the notion that only humans could be vewed as inventors and patent holders by awarding legally the inventor status for an Artificial Intelligence, the DABUS, short for “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience“, DABUS is essentially a swarm of disconnected neutral networks that’s been programmed to invent on its own.

The decision came on the heels of a similar ruling by South Africa, where the DABUS was legally recognized as an inventor, albeit only in one particular patent. The Australian court’s decision is a blanket one, meaning that in the future AI could be the inventor. Of course this won’t change the monetization of the patents as these patents will be hold by their inventors, effectively making this decision their inventors able to automate inventing newer and newer patents – all the while not trying to advocate for property rights for AI.

Not long ago, a court in the UK ruled otherwise, stating that “an artificial intelligence system cannot be an inventor“.

The creator of DABUS, Stephen Thaler, has been waging a global campaign for a time now to have DABUS recognised as an inventor. They argument was centered around that DABUS can autonomously perform the “inventive step” required to be eligible for a patent.

While it might be seen merely as a legal standpoint, but it has far-reaching consequences.

How much of a game-changer this is?

In Mr. Thaler’s own words:

It’s been more of a philosophical battle, convincing humanity that my creative neural architectures are compelling models of cognition, creativity, sentience, and consciousness”


The recently established fact that DABUS has created patent-worthy inventions is further evidence that the system ‘walks and talks’ just like a conscious human brain.

It is also intersting what kind of patents we are talking about. One of these patent application is for a “device and method for attracting enhanced attention“, which is a light that flickers rhythmically in a specific pattern mimicking human neural activity. In other words, his AI invented something to manipulate humans. We need to revisit former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris’ quote from the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma:

If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.

If you further dwelve yourself into the matter, you’ll find that the enterprise behind the DABUS, Imagination Engines Incorporated uses the tagline:

“…ushering in the dawn of conscious computing!

And the problem lies just here. In the name of science (or in any other name) humans will be sooner or later subjugated to a ‘perfect intelligence’, just like in all those decades-old cyberpunk novels and movies.

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