The Boundaries of AI: Legal Decisions and the Power of Helping Others


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 10, 2023

4 min read


The Boundaries of AI: Legal Decisions and the Power of Helping Others


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a significant part of our lives, with its potential to revolutionize various industries. However, recent legal rulings and studies shed light on the boundaries and implications of AI. In this article, we will explore the US court's decision not to recognize AI software as inventors in patents and the positive impact of helping others, even on individuals who have committed crimes. By examining these topics, we aim to deepen our understanding of AI's role in society and the benefits of altruism.

AI Software and Patent Ownership:

In a recent case, Dr. Stephen Thaler attempted to name an AI program, "DABUS," as the inventor in patent applications. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against it, stating that an inventor must be a "natural person." The court's decision was based on the definition of "inventor" in the Patent Act, which specifies that the inventor must be an "individual." This ruling excludes machines, animals, and software from being recognized as inventors for US patents.

The Role of AI in Inventions:

The distinction between using AI as a tool for invention and AI being considered the inventor is crucial. The US Copyright Office previously challenged the idea of AI owning copyright, emphasizing that if AI is used as a tool to invent, the use of tools does not prevent an applicant from claiming inventorship. However, according to the recent court ruling, if AI is deemed the inventor itself, the invention cannot receive patent protection.

Defining the Role of AI:

Defining the exact role of AI in invention remains a complex challenge. While AI can assist in the creation process, it lacks the creative agency and intent associated with human inventors. Recognizing the limitations of AI in this context ensures that the patent system upholds the underlying principles of human ingenuity and innovation. Further discussions and legal clarifications are required to navigate the evolving landscape of AI and intellectual property rights.

The Power of Helping Others:

Shifting our focus from AI to human behavior, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology highlights the positive impact of helping others, even on individuals who are considered more antisocial or have committed crimes. The act of helping others has been found to enhance happiness, provide a sense of purpose, and even lower blood pressure.

Benefits of Altruism:

Participants in the study who spent money on charitable causes reported higher levels of positive emotions compared to those who spent money on themselves. Additionally, youth who engaged in helping others experienced increased levels of positive emotions. For individuals involved in criminal activities, who may lack opportunities to engage in prosocial behavior due to their social environment, programs encouraging helping behavior could be instrumental in prison rehabilitation.

Incorporating Altruism in Rehabilitation Programs:

Prison rehabilitation programs often focus on behavioral change, but incorporating initiatives that promote helping others can have profound effects. By creating awareness among individuals in the criminal justice system that helping others can boost happiness, these programs hold the potential to transform lives. Encouraging prosocial behavior can not only benefit individuals but also contribute to the betterment of society by reducing recidivism rates.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Limitations of AI: Recognize that AI, while powerful, lacks the qualities of human inventors. Understand the legal boundaries and ethical considerations associated with AI's role in intellectual property rights.
  • 2. Practice Altruism: Engage in acts of kindness and helping others. Whether through volunteering, donating, or simply being there for someone in need, these actions can enhance personal well-being and contribute to a more compassionate society.
  • 3. Support Rehabilitation Programs: Advocate for the inclusion of programs that promote helping behavior in prison rehabilitation initiatives. By emphasizing the positive impact of altruism, these programs can empower individuals to reshape their lives and reintegrate into society successfully.


As AI continues to evolve and shape various aspects of our lives, it is essential to understand its boundaries and implications. The recent US court ruling on AI as inventors in patents highlights the need for thoughtful consideration of AI's role in intellectual property rights. Simultaneously, studies on the power of helping others demonstrate the transformative effects of altruism, even on individuals with a history of criminal behavior. By embracing the limitations of AI and promoting acts of kindness, we can navigate the complexities of technology while fostering a more compassionate and inclusive society.

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