AI Accelerates Innovation

This article was originally posted on Communications of the ACM and remains their copyrighted material. Please visit their website here to read the full article.

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” So said Thomas Edison, America’s most prolific inventor. Yet the march of technology is now changing the great man’s inventive equation: powerful algorithmic advisory systems are now giving inventors far more fertile imaginations, even if they don’t have very much of one themselves.

After being fed vast datasets of information on a field of inventive endeavor, deep learning algorithms identify patterns that help inventors think laterally, make connections between nonobvious ideas, pinpoint hidden invention features that rivals have missed, and exploit new science and technology-based opportunities from, say, patents and journals. In other words, artificial intelligence (AI) provides highly relevant additions to what Edison called his “pile of junk.”

This far-broader range of insights is not only helping people to invent, it is doing so at great speed, as a meeting of inventors and patent attorneys heard at a London conference on AI-Generated Innovation held by the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) in mid-March.

“We are filing more patents today, with between 30 and 100 people using artificial intelligence, than I used to in a drug discovery lab I ran at Roche with 2,000 staff and no AI,” said David Brown, chief strategy officer at Healx, a firm developing medications for the treatment of rare diseases in Cambridge, England.

Such growth in patent filings is something IP experts are seeing across the board, says Fiona Stevens. “What is most amazing is the sheer speed with which AI is now letting pharmaceutical and healthcare companies innovate. Its use has quickly become mainstream,” she says.

This speed boost was to be expected, says Julian Nolan, CEO of Iprova, a company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, that provides algorithmic invention acceleration services to blue-chip firms. “The rate of patent output is greater as the technology is now giving us the right stimulus to explore more inventive permutations,” says Nolan, adding, “Our agile teams invent for our clients just two weeks after starting a project.”

This article was originally posted on Communications of the ACM and remains their copyrighted material. Please visit their website here to read the full article.

Fiona Stevens and Peter Finnie attended and presented at the AI Generated Innovation event hosted by AIPPI in March 2019. If you have any questions on patenting AI inventions, or our involvement in the panel discussion, then please contact either Fiona via or Peter via

Paul Marks

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