South Africa has granted the world’s first patent for a device invented by an AI system called ‘Device for Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience’ (DABUS). The patent is for an interlocking food container that helps robots grip and stack objects and was designed by the AI using fractal geometry. Simulating human brainstorming to generate new ideas and inventions, DABUS is a creativity machine developed by physicist and AI researcher Stephen Thaler in 2018. In 2019, DABUS invented an

Zoom Out: DABUS patents were previously rejected in courts in the U.S. and the U.K., ruling that AI systems cannot be considered inventors. South Africa’s patent office is yet to explain the reasons for their approval, but the aftermath of the landmark decision led to Australia also ruling that AI systems can legally be recognized as an inventor in patent applications.

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