RE: Webmind

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 20:18:58 MDT


> I have a huge problem with patenting aspects of artificial intelligence
> architectures. This radically slows down research and development which
> means it puts fences on the intellectual commons that impoverish us all.
> It makes no more sense (and arguably less) than patenting the human
> genome. Please point us to the relevant patent application. I hope you
> have not tried to patent this node and link approach as many have
> thought of it and worked with it independently.

Of course, we are not patenting things that have been invented by others.
I know that some big software firms have made a habit of this, but we are
ethical for that, and also lack the spare cash to spend on lawyers for such

Obviously, nodes and links as a general concept underly both neural network
semantic network AI architectures. There are in fact many existing patents
specific neural net and semantic net AI algorithms, aimed at particular

We are not averse to patenting specific aspects of our AI system which are
unique, however.

As our patent applications have not yet been approved (this takes a few
years, generally),
they are not yet public domain.

Obviously, I don't share your "huge problem" with the practice of patenting
AI stuff.
  My problem with your problem is this.
Implementing my design for AI is a big project. In order to get it done, I
needed to
raise money from major investors. By taking this money, I undertake a
responsibility to the investors, to get them a good return on their
In the quest to guarantee these investors a return on their investment,
patents are
a valuable tool.

It seems to me that a hell of a lot of great technological developments have
accomplished in the commercial domain. So I don't see why doing AI
is likely to hold back progress. And patenting is part and parcel of the
US capitalist system.

Personally, I'm not in love with the current socioeconomic framework in
which I live.
I don't think it's particularly horrible either. Anyway, instead of trying
to change it,
I'm working within it to the best of my abilities to achieve my scientific
engineering goals. I could not easily be doing what I'm doing now in
academia, or in an open-source
project. The degree of focus and tight coordination and careful testing
that the project is much
more easily attained in a commercial setting. The best alternative would be
a well-funded government
research lab, but the government never offered me money to build a thinking
machine, private investors

-- Ben

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