Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently making rapid advances in technological fields, but tracking radical novelty is one of the biggest challenges for innovation scholars. Patent-based approaches might be one of the best data sources that we have on long-term technological evolution. Yet, a study of the literature reveals that there is not yet an established consensus about the definition of AI. This suggests the need to understand different available options and the choice of the classification scheme.
In their paper, the authors examine artificial intelligence innovations in US patents granted between 1990 and 2019 using four widely-used classification approaches based on (i) keyword searches, (ii) scientific citations, (iii) the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) method, and (iv) the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) classification. They compare and evaluate the groups of AI patents by their time trends, overlap, reliance on public support, industry links, and technological and scientific base.
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