About This Blog
Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.
- Artificial Invention
- Design & Engineering
- Evolutionary Computation
- Genie in the Machine
- History of Computing
- Human Creativity
- Intellectual Property Law
- Philosophy of Computing
- Software Patents
- Technology Industry
- Time to Retire the Turing Test?
- Brain-Computer Interface Technology
- Evolving Efficient Transistors for Future Computers
- DIY Robots at Maker Faire
- Contract by Computer
- Implications of the Bilski Case for Software Patents
- Meet Me at GECCO 2009
- The Future of Invention at WorldFuture 2009
- AI: Science Fiction or Science Fact?
- Guest Blogging on IP Watchdog
- October 2009
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- July 2009
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July 29, 2009
Time to Retire the Turing Test?
In 2010, it will be 60 years since computer science pioneer Alan Turing proposed a test to determine if a machine is able to demonstrate intelligence. The Turing Test has been a fundamental benchmark for Artificial Intelligence (AI) for many years, but now Dr. Aladdin Ayesh and other AI experts are questioning whether Turing's proposal is a complete test for machine intelligence. The question was debated at a symposium held at the 2010 Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour Conference.
July 27, 2009
Brain-Computer Interface Technology
Researchers at the University of Washington are researching Brain-Computer Interface technology with the goal of connecting people with computing devices through brainwaves. It may sound like science fiction, but researchers have already demonstrated that brainwaves can be decoded and fed to computers which are programmed to understand them. In 2002, a neurologist name Eric Leuthardt and a biological engineer named Daniel Moran developed video games that can be played by a human imagining an action. Now Leuthardt and other researchers are working on ways to decode human thoughts encoded as speech in the mind with the goal of changing the way we interact with computers and other devices, including prosthetic limbs.
July 25, 2009
Evolving Efficient Transistors for Future Computers
Researchers in the Intelligent Systems Group at the University of York, England, hope to use evolutionary concepts to overcome problems in the manufacturing of computer chips of the future. As transistor components continue to decrease in size at the nanometer level, variations in manufacturing that naturally occur can seriously impact chip performance. The York researchers have used evolutionary algorithms to determine candidate transistor circuit designs that will perform well despite natural variations. The algorithms help narrow down thousands of possible design candidates to a more manageable set. The smaller set of candidate designs are then run through a computer simulator that tests performance. Read the full article in the IEEE Spectrum.
July 23, 2009
DIY Robots at Maker Faire
At the annual Maker Faire this spring in San Mateo, California, do-it-yourself robotics was one of the largest exhibit categories. Twenty-four individuals and groups had working robots on display. Two of the popular events at the Faire were the RoboGames, where robots were pitted against each other in combat and RoboMagellan, where robots used GPS to navigate obstacle courses. The function of many of the robots tended towards whimsical, with robots that make cocktails on demand and robots that are replicas of Star Wars robots being two of the most popular genres. The proliferation of DIY robotic kits is credited with the boom in homemade robots at the Faire and could be the impetus for a mainstream movement.
July 22, 2009
Contract by Computer
A team of European researchers have created a set of computer algorithms which will effectively validate e-business contractual agreements. The Contract Project is part of a European Union-funded project to develop computer systems which will verify and monitor contracts. The verification process will test for conflicts between the existing contracts for an individual or organization and the terms of new contracts that are about to be entered. The process can also check for conditions that will impact contract fulfillment.
The tools and libraries for checking contracts have been made available to the public. Real-life case studies were used to test the systems. One of the case studies monitored the commitments of students and lecturers in a Czech educational institute. Research partner Fujitsu will participate in a future case study which will track and manage contracts for custom software.
July 8, 2009
Implications of the Bilski Case for Software Patents
Although the facts of the Bilski case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this fall only involve a business method patent, the case could have significant implications for software patents and patents on computer-generated inventions, as I explain in this interview on the "Create the Dream" web site.
July 6, 2009
Meet Me at GECCO 2009
As I previously mentioned, I will be giving a talk at the 2009 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) in Montreal on July 10.
If you will be at the conference to give a presentation on work that you have done to further computer-automated inventing, please contact me directly so that I can attend your talk and meet with you in person. I will be blogging the conference live and would love to provide coverage of the latest advances in invention automation.
July 3, 2009
The Future of Invention at WorldFuture 2009
I will be giving a talk on "The Future of Inventing" at the WorldFuture 2009 conference on July 19, 2009 from 11am-12pm (see pp. 50-51 of the program for more details). In the talk I will focus on how computers are enabling inventors to invent more efficiently and effectively, and how in the future even people without technical skill may be able to use computers to become inventors.
I will also be available for a meet-the-author session in connection with my book, The Genie in the Machine, on July 19 from 3:30-4:00pm. Copies of The Genie in the Machine will be available for sale at the Futurist Bookstore throughout the conference.
For a preview of the kinds of topics I will be discussing in my talk, see my article in the July-August issue of The Futurist magazine.
July 1, 2009
AI: Science Fiction or Science Fact?
In a comprehensive New York Times article titled "The Coming Superbrain," columnist John Markoff surveys the current state of Artificial Intelligence. Markoff begins with a look at how AI is depicted in popular culture, as seen in this summer's latest Terminator offer, "Terminator Salvation," touches on the history of AI, and progresses through to Raymond Kurzweil's theories on the concept of the Singularity. Dr. Kurzweil predicts a point in the future when powerful computers and cyborg humans will be developed to a point where machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence and takes over the process of technological invention. Markoff's article presents some of the expert opinions in favor of and opposed to Kurzweil's theory.
Guest Blogging on IP Watchdog
IPWatchdog.com published a guest blog entry from me yesterday in which I argue that the "wishes" I talk about in The Genie in the Machine should be patentable. This kind of discussion is particularly important to have right now, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear the Bilski case. A flawed decision in that case could set back patent protection for software and for computer-generated inventions for years, if not decades.