Artificial intelligence is the champion of… patents! +175% every year


Here's a little fact: since research on artificial intelligence first emerged in the Fifties, about 170 thousand patent applications have been filed. In 2001 there was a boom in applications, but it is only in the last five years that 50% of all patents for machine learning and artificial intelligence projects and ideas have been published. This is revealed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, an expert UN agency based in Geneva, whose purpose is to encourage creativity and promote intellectual property protection throughout the world.
In purely numerical terms, the dominant field is machine learning. In the last five years, machine learning patents have showed an impressive annual growth rate of 175% (the average growth rate in the other fields is 33%). Most of these innovations contribute to solving one of the current limitations of artificial intelligence: the lack of customisation, which may hinder the way in which AI communicates with people.
Which companies dominate the market? With its record number of 9.100 patents filed in 2018 alone, IBM is the most successful company in this field. Last year it came in first in the field for the 26th year in a row, even breaking the record figure of 110,000 total patents. The new patents have been granted to a heterogeneous group of over 8,500 professionals, including researchers, engineers, scientists and designers from 47 nations in the world.
One of the patents granted to IBM in 2018 is worth mentioning, since it is a system that can help AI to analyse and replicate users’ language models to improve communications between machines and human beings.
The company is very active also in cybersecurity: the patents filed include the patent for a technology that allows artificial intelligence systems to "confuse" hackers, luring them into exchanges of e-mails and websites so as to waste their resources, frustrating their attacks or phishing emails.