Activist trolls patent trolls, builds algorithm that publishes ideas for all possible inventions

all prior art patent troll inventor

In an open-source effort to democratize ideas, artist, engineer, and internet activist Alexander Reben has created a clever new project called All Prior Art. With this project, Reben’s aim is to deconstruct all published patents and reconstruct an almost infinite number of new inventions from the rubble of the old. He then publishes the work publicly. Among the absurd, empty, and inane ideas will certainly be something of value, which some day someone might want to patent. But since All Prior Art has already published the texts, the new patent application will be invalid.

The task is too tremendous for any human –or even team of humans– to undertake, so Reben created an algorithm to assist him. Tireless and unperturbed by the menial mission, Reben’s algorithm pulls apart texts from the entire database of patents issued in the US and stitches the pieces together again into patchwork paragraphs meant to mimic patent language.

On its first run, The system generated 2.5 million ideas in just three days. The project boasts over 400 volumes — though most ideas make no comprehensive sense. Many read like Dada cut-up poems. Some, however, seem like feasible ideas. According to New Scientist, you can’t patent 3D-printed soap to kill the pests on your strawberries thanks to All Prior Art.

Part of Reben’s goal is to minimize the lawsuits surrounding patent legislation. Patent critics claim the US patent system is a mess. Two-thirds of patent lawsuits in 2015 were brought by “patent trolls,” or people who buy up patents for the sake of leveraging a lawsuit later on. Patent trolls clog up the legal system and make it difficult for “makers” among us to make things because they might infringe on a patent trolls patent. If, however, an idea is proven to have existed –say, in the form of an algorithm’s textual output– before the patent application is submitted, then the patent application will not be accepted.

Reben has asked for support from larger institutions with more resources to run and refine his algorithm, equipping it with advanced methods like machine learning to generate more accurate ideas. Until then his algorithm will mindlessly chug away and publish random texts like a monkey with a typewriter.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Business

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Computing

Why limit yourself to one OS? Try one of these great virtual machine apps

Buying a new computer just because you want to utilize another operating system isn't necessary. Just use the best virtual machine applications to emulate one OS inside another, no matter what your platform or budget is.
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.