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Beyond the hype: a practical guide to navigating AI for intellectual property

By Samuel Davis

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning are touted by many and understood by few. But their impact on the practice of IP management and the patent system itself will be major

Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have spurred a boom in press coverage and marketing but there remains much confusion surrounding the technology. For IP counsel this confusion is hampering efforts to evaluate the impact of AI on day-to-day work and the bigger impact on organisations in general. AI is both overhyped in the short term and underestimated in the long term. For example, two decades ago IBM’s Deep Blue shocked the world by besting Gary Kasparov in chess. However, this watershed moment did not spark an immediate explosion in algorithmic computing; instead it was gradually and quietly adopted into commercial products. Today we are surrounded every day by algorithms: recommendations for new products, songs and shows; personalised advertising; GPS navigation that can take you anywhere. Patent search and analytics software uses algorithms to score patents and create visualisations. This latest wave of AI is coming from deep learning and machine learning. According to Gartner’s 2017 hype cycle these are at the peak of inflated expectations, but that does not mean that they should be dismissed. Gartner also estimated mainstream adoption to be between two and five years away – and that was in July 2017. So are we on the verge of the robot revolution?

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