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Irony meets Satire, gives birth to Patent

August 22, 2004

Ethical artificial intelligence patented:

The patent, Inductive Inference Affective Language Analyzer Simulating AI (# 6,587,846) introduces the concept of the Ten Ethical Laws of Robotics. According to a statement from inventor John LaMuth, the patent represents “the first AI system incorporating ethical/motivational terms, enabling a computer to reason and speak ethically, serving in roles specifying sound human judgment.”

I call first dibs on patenting creative artificial intelligence as well as rhyme and reason. The real gems are not just the rubber-stamps at the USPTO but the artificially and vaguely defined virtues and vices (can someone say openended?).

A fun thought Based upon the four civil liberties LaMuth devised (providence, liberty, civility and austerity) one wonders that if/when such a hair-brained scheme comes into fruition, will the robot(s) close down the Patent office? After all, it could be argued that State-enforced trade monopolies violate their robotic ethos and correspond to the vices: prodigality, slavery, vulgarity and cruelty. Also, are the families of Hammurabi or Moses entitled to some royalties? 

Note: to defend against accusations of being ignorant on this manner, I would like to point out that the USPTO granted the monopoly on the claimed invention, not statements that are made in the description - the description just has to enable what is claimed. In the words of Stephan Kinsella, "you only have to have a tiny amount of utility for patent purposes, and novelty, and non-obviousness." And the patent apparently fits that bill. Via Slashdot. Special thanks to Jesse Ogden for letting me steal his idea.

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