The United States and China are ahead of the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence (AI), as reported in a new study by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations, published on Thursday.
According to the study, American tech giant IBM had 8,920 patents of AI portfolio, the biggest so far, leaving behind Microsoft with 5,930 and other Japanese tech conglomerates.
China, on the other hand, represents 17 of the top 20 academic institutions involved in AI patenting along with being specifically powerful in the accelerating area of deep learning, a machine learning technique including speech recognition systems.
The U.S and China have obviously acquired the lead position, being a forefront in this area, in scientific publications, and based on wide range of applications, Reuters reported, citing Francis Gurry, Director-General of WIPO in a news conference.
The Trump administration has accused China of stealing United States’ technology and innovations and has imposed trade tariffs on $234 billion of Chinese goods as way to punish Beijing.
In December, China said it resolutely opposed disparaging accusations from the U.S. and other allies criticizing the country for economic espionage and stealing company secrets and intellectual property (IP).
Although there were accusations about China’s behavior, according to Gurry, there is no doubt that China had embraced the global IP systems, with the largest number of domestic patent applications and the largest patent office in the world.
They are serious players in the field of intellectual property, Gurry added.
The WIPO study evaluated international patent filings, litigation filings, scientific publications and acquisition activities and found that there has been as many AI patent applications in the last half century since the term was first coined in the 1950s.
Machine learning patent applications – including techniques used by ride-sharing services to reduce detours – averaged an annual growth of 28% from 2013 to 2016, the last year for which data is accessible as the confidential applications cannot be disclosed publicly before a period of 18 months.
As reported in Reuters, deep learning has contributed much of that growth, overtaking robotics as it expanded from 118 patent applications in 2013 to 2,399 in 2016.
‘Computer vision’ is the only most popular AI application which is used in autonomous cars and mentioned in 49% of all AI-related patents.
The study also revealed how technology had followed science, with booming technological applications in 2013 coming 10 years after a similar increase in scientific publications.