The Future – Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property

“AI is the new electricity. I can hardly imagine an industry which is not going to be transformed by AI” – Andre Ng, landing AI and


In the past few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has grown from a laboratory curiosity to practical technology, from a fiction providing a means of escaping the harsh realities of our everyday world, to a prevalent technology redefining our present realities.

Artificial Intelligence was first used in 1956 by John McCarthy, a computer scientist considered to be the father of AI, at the first artificial intelligence conference. However, John McCarthy did not define the term. As a result, proponents have advanced several definitions of Artificial Intelligence, with each definition emphasising the proponent’s preferred aspect of AI.

For this article, reliance shall be placed on what the writers consider to be the most balanced and yet simplified definitions of Artificial Intelligence. Britannica defines Artificial Intelligence as:

“the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.”[1]

Similar definitions are also contained in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which defines Artificial intelligence as ‘’the branch of computer science dealing with simulation of intelligent behaviour in computers” or ‘’the ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behaviour’’[2]

From the above definitions, it is apparent that an Artificial Intelligent system can perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence. Other distinguishing features of AI include:

  • Creativity: A key feature of AI systems is their ability to create new products and processes without necessarily imitating existing ones. This, in effect, means they possess the ability to create unique designs, draw, and even produce inventions.
  • Independent and autonomous: They can execute high-level tasks with very limited (or in some cases no) human intervention. They are, therefore, able to create independent outcomes.
  • Rational intelligence: They mimic human perception and cognitive abilities.

[1] Artificial Intelligence, Encyclopedia Britannica, retrieved on 27th may 2020, available at

[2] See: retrieved on 23rd November 2020

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