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Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.

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August 15, 2008

Two Heads (One Silicon, One Carbon) Are Better Than One

Using computers to automate inventing does not mean that humans become irrelevant. To the contrary, the most effective kinds of invention automation often involve cooperation between human and computer, a partnership in which each member does what it does best. Interactive evolutionary computation strives to take advantage of such synergies.

Louis von Ahn has developed a specialty in creating computer games which double as human-computer teams for solving problems that neither could solve by itself, such as:

- The ESP Game, which shows the same image to two people and requires them to type in a word describing it, ostensibly to read each others' minds, but also to create a text-searchable database of images (a problem which computer algorithm designers have yet to crack);

- Tag a Tune, a similar game using songs instead of images; and

- Verbosity, in which one player is shown a secret word and must provide clues from which a second player attempts to guess the secret word, all with the effect of creating a database of word meanings.

Posted by Robert at August 15, 2008 6:00 AM
category: Artificial Invention | Design & Engineering