“Good imagination and a pile of junk” - Artificial Intelligence, inventions and IP law

The recent success stories of AIs and robotics have renewed interests in the creative potential of machine intelligence, and with that probing questions regarding the future of employment.

While there is an emerging body of literature that asks if AIs can be authors for the purpose of copyright law, there is no corresponding debate on whether they can also be inventors for the purpose of patent law. The talk will explore the reasons for this gap, and suggest that the question can shed light on our understanding of creativity and inventiveness, test the limits of core concepts from IP law, and help us to prepare the regulatory environment for a world where human-machine co-creation will increasingly become the norm.

Burkhard Schafer is Professor of Computational Legal Theory and Director of the SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP Law at the University of Edinburgh. His main field of interest is the interaction between law, science and computer technology, especially computer linguistics. How can law, understood as a system, communicate with systems external to it, be it the law of other countries (comparative law and its methodology) or science (evidence, proof and trial process).