- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Publishers WeeklySure, MIT's new Jeopardy-playing computer just got challenged by Ken Jennings, the quiz-show's Kasparov, but could a computer surpass Edison at invention? As tech-centric patent lawyer Plotkin explains, computers have already developed a revolutionary toothbrush and radio antennae, and in some ways are better suited to invention. Able to conceive of and abandon ideas without biases, and with greater speed and range, they would likely have saved Edison's lightbulb about 10,000 failed attempts. With the rise of invention-assisting computer programs he calls "genies," Plotkin predicts a "digital renaissance," provided patent law doesn't stunt its progress; to compare, he considers how the Internet might have been hobbled by restricting tools like HTML and Java. Plotkin argues that genies should be open platforms, free for anyone to use, and that the commands used to create parameters for the end-product ("wishes") should be patentable (despite potential grumbling from programmers and big business). At times, Plotkin overindulges in pedantic language and tangents (like the prehistory of genies), at the expense of compelling topics like, for instance, how genies work, or the underlying principles of patent law. Nevertheless, this absorbing look at the democratizing advances in invention technology should capture the imagination of engineers, programmers and entrepreneurs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.