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AI Crown Contest Heats Up

Global patent filings in artificial intelligence headed up by China and the United States.

GENEVA - China and the United States lead the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence, according to a report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization at the end of January.

The two countries "have stolen the lead", WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said at a news conference.

"They are out in front in terms of applications and when you look at scientific publications," Gurry said.

The report reveals trends in the patenting of AI innovations. It covers more than 340,000 AI-related patent applications and 1.6 million scientific papers published since AI first emerged in the 1950s. More than half of the filings were published since 2013.

The first AI patent filings were made in Japan in the early 1980s. The country was subsequently overtaken by the US and China.

Since 2014, China has led the world in the number of first patent filings in AI, followed by the US. The two countries also lead in the number of scientific publications worldwide.

Among the top 30 AI patent applicants in the world, 26 were companies and the remaining four were universities and scientific research institutions.

Of the top 20 companies filing AI-related patents, 12 are based in Japan, three are from the US and two are from China.

Chinese organizations account for three of the four academic players in the top 30 patent applicants, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ranked 17th.

Among academic players, Chinese organizations account for 17 of the top 20 scholastic players in AI patenting as well as 10 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications, the report says.

Around one-fifth of the top 500 applicants, ranked by number of patents, are from universities and public research organizations in China, according to the report.

Gurry said WIPO's flagship study had documented a recent surge in AI-based inventions, with US-based companies IBM and Microsoft leading the pack as AI has moved from theory to the global marketplace in recent years.

"Patenting activity in the artificial intelligence realm is rising at a rapid pace, meaning we can expect a very significant number of new AI-based products, applications and techniques that will alter our daily lives - and also shape future human interaction with the machines we created," Gurry said.

The first step in maximizing the public benefit of AI, while addressing ethical, legal and regulatory challenges, is to create an everyday factual basis for the understanding of AI, he said.

Gurry said that AI will become an important part of the military and economy in the next few years, and major powers will pay attention to their strategic position in the AI field.

The large US and Chinese populations provide technology companies with a wealth of valuable user data, Gurry said, adding that state support for the technology industry is also an important factor for enterprises and institutions to seize the AI field.

Source: China Daily