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360° IT Check #14 - AI & Patents, JupyterLab Desktop App, New Private Video Calling Service, and more!

360° IT Check is a weekly publication where we bring you the latest and greatest in the world of tech. We cover topics like emerging technologies & frameworks, news about innovative startups, and other topics which affect the world of tech directly or indirectly.

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AI Cannot Submit Patents, Courts Rule

In a landmark case, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled that Artificial Intelligence cannot be the inventor of new patents. In the judge’s reasoning, Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing wrote:

Only a person can have rights. A machine cannot

Even though the reason is simple at first, and the decision could be deemed obvious, it is not clear whether the patent laws will have to be revisited in the future or not. Nobody seems to have predicted the increasingly important role that machines have, and will continue to have, in our lives. 

At the moment we do not have to concern ourselves with the possibility of the existence of sentient machines, though this could be the future. As such, will they have our human rights or not? Going back to the core question - will machines ever be able to submit patents?

The judges in the US agree with their colleagues from the UK. With one important “but”. US District Judge Leonie M Brinkema wrote:

As technology evolves, there may come a time when artificial intelligence reaches a level of sophistication such that it might satisfy accepted meanings of inventorship.

JupyterLab Desktop App Now Available

The Data Science community will be happy to know that setting up Jupyter Lab now got a bit easier. Last week, we have seen the restart of a JupyterLab App - “cross-platform standalone application distribution of JupyterLab.” 

The idea is still the same - you still run a Python environment with several popular Python libraries (NumPy, SciPy, pandas, ipywidgets, Matplotlib) ready to go. The difference now is that the web browser is bundled with the environment, making setup even easier.

Download installers from the project’s GitHub page.

Brave Talk

Brave, the company behind Brave Browser, and Brave Search, now wants a piece of the video calls & video conferencing market. Their newest offering, Brave Talk, is marketed towards the privacy-conscious market. As such, don’t expect ads, profiling, or logging metadata.

Behind the scenes, it’s a “Jitsi as a service” offering. Jitsi is already a quite popular solution. It offers an end-to-end encrypted video chat that is free to use. The big advantage over competing services is the fact you do not need to download additional software - it works right in your browser. 

Despite the advantages of Brave Talk over its competitors, if you have not heard of it (which most likely is the case) you will know what is the problem with introducing yet another competitor in this area - people tend to stick to defaults and/or stick to products their friends/coworkers/clients are already using.

You may try Brave talk at https://brave.com/talk/

Samsung Proposes Pasting Brains To Chips

Samsung, the South Korean giant, proposed its own way of creating brain-like chips. Their approach? Mimicking the natural brain structure in 3D “neuromorphic chips.” It’s something that could be referred to as “reverse-engineering the brain”, since neuromorphic engineering is, in general, the process of modeling systems after the human brain and/or our neural system.

Nowadays, the news comes as a curiosity, having no impact on our lives. In the future, however, we may witness AI that behaves like a real brain, even “including the flexibility to learn new concepts and adapt to changing conditions.” The barrier to the solution is the complexity of such a system. A human brain has “roughly 100 billion neurons” with a lot more synaptic links. A “neuromorphic” chip would need about 100 trillion memory units.

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