Humankind has generated a variety of ineffective innovations through the years. From to , our capability for creation appears to be better than our capability to unravel real-world issues.

So it is most likely for the most effective that we’re turning over the duty of invention to machines. Synthetic intelligence is already onerous at work at discovering new , and .

However some individuals consider there would possibly nonetheless be some gold left in humanity’s pile of underused patents. Which is why pc scientists at Carnegie Mellon College and the Hebrew College of Jerusalem are engaged on a approach to let computer systems mine outdated databases of patents and innovations to search out concepts that may be repurposed to unravel new issues.


The objective is to show a pc system to search out “analogies” – comparisons between totally different strategies and issues that showcase their similarities. That is not a simple process, even for people. However by combining crowdsourcing and deep studying strategies, the workforce consider that they’ve made a breakthrough.

They devised a system the place a military of volunteers employed via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk regarded for merchandise that had related functions or descriptions in’s product catalogue. Based mostly on that information, they had been capable of train a pc to do the identical process – figuring out analogies between seemingly-disparate merchandise.

“After a long time of makes an attempt, that is the primary time that anybody has gained traction computationally on the analogy drawback at scale,” Aniket Kittur, affiliate professor in CMU’s Human-Pc Interplay Institute, who labored on the system.

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Identical Precept

They now hope that the identical precept might be utilized to patents and innovations. “As soon as you’ll be able to seek for analogies, you’ll be able to actually crank up the velocity of innovation,” added Dafna Shahaf, a CMU alumnus and a pc scientist at Hebrew College, who additionally contributed to the analysis. 

“When you can speed up the speed of innovation, that solves a variety of different issues downstream.”

The analysis workforce will current its findings on Thursday, Aug. 17, at , the Convention on Data Discovery and Knowledge Mining, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.