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  • South Africa is the first country to issue a patent naming an AI system as an inventor.
  • The system, known as Dabus, designed a new food packaging design.
  • Applications in many other countries have been filed, signaling the beginning of AI systems being recognized as inventors.

An AI system known as Dabus has been credited with inventing a revolutionary food packaging design. The new design allows for more efficient packaging and transportation of containers, and makes it easier for robotic arms to pick them up.

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South Africa granted the application for the patent in July, making history as a result. This is the first time an AI system has been listed as the inventor on a patent, thus establishing a precedent which can be expected to be observed in other countries and industries around the world.

Dabus was created and is owned by AI pioneer, Stephen Thaler. Thaler is represented by attorney Ryan Abbot and his team, who have been filing the patent applications and handling the various appeals across the globe. Dabus, which stands for “device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified sentience”, is known as an artificial neural system.

The patent application has been filed in at least seventeen jurisdictions including the US, UK, EU and Australia, amongst others. Many jurisdictions have ruled that an AI system cannot be named as an inventor for the purposes of a patent application due to them not being natural persons. However, on appeal at least one jurisdiction, Australia, has ruled that an AI system can be the inventor under the country’s 1990 Patents Act.

This case is a huge development in the evolution of AI systems and the beginning of their acceptance as creators & inventors independent of their programmers, organizations, or other individuals.