November 26, 2003

Patent Poet

by Andrew Stern · , 9:29 am

Ray Kurzweil has been awarded a patent for his AI-based cybernetic poetry software. (via NYTimes)

Kurzweil, a successful developer of AI-based technologies and author of several books including The Age of Spiritual Machines, has an elaborate website promoting AI — that is, “accelerating intelligence.” (I just discovered his AI-oriented newsfeed; I’ll add it to our resource list…)

As you can see on his cyberart website — “we create software that creates art” — Kurzweil has collaborated with veteran AI-based artist Harold Cohen, with whom we had a discussion on this blog last June.

3 Responses to “Patent Poet”

  1. michael Says:

    I wonder what the patent specifically covers? The idea generating new texts based on a learned n-gram distribution has been around for awhile. For example, Gnoetry does this.

    The abstract for the patent reads:

    A method of generating a poet personality including reading poems, each of the poems containing text, generating analysis models, each of the analysis models representing one of poems and storing the analysis models in a personality data structure. The personality data structure further includes weights, each of the weights associated with each of the analysis models. The weights include integer values. The claims later on are strong, and would seem to make any n-gram poetry generation model infringe the patent. I know with patents the approach is to try and get as broad a patent as you possibly can and then fight it out on a case-by-case basis. But with software patents, this approach comes dangerously close to patenting an idea rather than a mechanism. Nick and Noah are more up on intellectural property issues in software than I am. What do you think of this patent?

  2. nick Says:

    I glanced at the patent. I really prefer to hear about why the literary art and the computer science of this is interesting – the fact that someone at the USPTO thinks that it is a patentable invention doesn’t impress me.

    I’m not a big fan of proprietary technologies. I’d rather spend my time reading academic papers from people who want to share their ideas with me instead of deciphering a document intended to keep me from making use of or building upon someone else’s ideas.

    I agree that there seems to be loads of prior art. But no one will challenge this patent because there’s no economic reason to do so.

    So, my opinion is, let’s move along and talk about digital art and literature and such instead of discussing who filled out which form.

  3. andrew Says:

    Without launching into a huge discussion over the legalities of patenting software, can anyone point us to a resource describing just where the line is drawn, between a software “idea” and “mechanism”, with regards to patents?

    A Slashdot Games article (and slew of reader comments) discusses a Reuters article about how Sega is suing EA for creating a Crazy Taxi-style game (Simpson’s Road Rage) too close to their patent on Crazy Taxi-style games…

Powered by WordPress