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The Conversation, World Economic Forum: Could intelligent machines of the future own the rights to their own creations?

Law 6 December 2017


Dr Paresh Kathrani, Senior Lecturer at Westminster Law School, as well as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the Law researcher, has written an article for The Conversation about whether artificial intelligence machines can own intellectual property. The article was republished by the World Economic Forum.

Intellectual property is a legal term referring to the creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names and images used in commerce. This term has always been applied to human intelligence as it has long been taken that only human beings are capable of being intelligent in its fullest form.

In this modern society where artificial intelligence is getting more and more prominent, the question of whether intellectual property can be applied to robots and intelligent machines’ creations is becoming a frequently debated topic.

In his article, Dr Kathrani raises the question of what the value of ‘intelligence’ is and outlines the arguments from both sides of the AI intellectual property debate. On the one hand, people, opposed to the idea that machines with AI can own intellectual property, believe that machines are only doing the execution of a program produced by a human.

On the other hand, others acknowledge the fact that AI-based machines are becoming more human like and should deserve this right. The European Union has already called for the consideration of a Civil Law Rule of Robots.

Dr Kathrani concluded: “It seems clear that, while machines may not be able to enforce intellectual property rights (yet), anything less might potentially amount to a violation of the value we place on intelligence in and of itself.”

Read the full article on The Conversation website.

Read the republished article on the World Economic Forum's website.

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