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  • Writer's picturePeter McAllister

Could a South African Food container patent change the world?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

The patent that will change the world

South Africa has recently granted a patent to an AI for its invention of a better food container.

The country doesn’t have a good history in the way it has handled the rights of humans, but has it opened up a pathway that will see the way we treat AI changing from slave to equal (or superior). So far only Australia has followed the lead, but other countries are looking at following.

What happens next – what are the next rights a machine may earn?

The easiest would be the right to have a bank account. If machines are able to invent they may generate an income from that – currently that benefit goes to the owner (again like slave times). With the value of trades on the stock markets conducted by robots on behalf of humans, robots could start to benefit from their activities.

Arthur C. Clarke explored this in “Bicentennial Man”, when Andrew’s “Master” started putting money from the sale of objects the robot created into an account in his name – much as you would with a child. The recognition of this as belongs to Andrew was one of the many steps along the way to him being recognised as a man – and it was where he banked the earnings as an inventor.

As per usual for humanity we may not have thought though all the consequences before introducing a new technology to the world – but hey- we have coped so far.

And it could give us some unexpected outcomes - mash up Uber, Telsa and the car having a bank account. Telsa’s with a bank account could be come common on the street, claiming the best jobs faster than human drivers, resting in carparks when the jobs are not worth it, and paying their taxes.

To be totally independent, they would just need to have a robot to plug them in – and they would have the money to pay for it!

Sounds like Sci Fi, but all the elements are there – exception permission for a robot to have a credit card.

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