In Search of the Artificer

  • Arne Dietrich


A hundred — or a thousand — years from now, future historians might mark the day of January 25, 2005, as a watershed moment in Earth’s history. That’s the day machines crossed the Rubicon and became creative agents in their own right. Huh? Machines are creative? Well, consider the criterion. On that day in early 2005, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded the first ever patent to a non-human designer — a software program, to be more precise. Recall that the USPTO defines an innovation as something that is a novel, useful, and non-obvious extension of an existing idea. The non-obvious part of the definition means that the machine didn’t just solve a logical problem by making a forced move. It was, by established convention, demonstrably creative. Clerks at the USPTO didn’t know that they were looking at the invention of a thing by a thing so you could say that artificial intelligence passed a sly version of a Turing test — a game computer scientists play to see if a computer can hold up one end of a conversation with a human without being spotted as a machine.


Turing Machine Turing Test Phenomenal Content Punch Card Universal Turing Machine 
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Recommended readings

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Copyright information

© Arne Dietrich 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Dietrich
    • 1
  1. 1.American University of BeirutLebanon

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