China, together with the United States, lead the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence (AI), a study published Thursday by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows.
"The United States and China obviously have stolen the lead. They are out in front in terms of applications and when you look at scientific publications," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists at a UN press conference here.
Chinese organizations account for three of the four academic players featuring in the top 30 patent applicants, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences ranked 17th with over 2,500 patent families.
Among academic players, Chinese organizations account for 17 of the top 20 scholastic players in AI patenting as well as 10 of the top 20 in AI-related scientific publications, the report says.
Gurry said WIPO's flagship study had documented a massive recent surge in AI-based inventions, with U.S.-based companies IBM and Microsoft leading the pack as AI has moved from the theoretical realm towards the global marketplace in recent years.
"Patenting activity in the artificial intelligence realm is rising at a rapid pace, meaning we can expect a very significant number of new AI-based products, applications, and techniques that will alter our daily lives -- and also shape future human interaction with the machines we created," said Gurry.
Gurry said the first step in maximizing the public benefit of AI, while addressing ethical, legal and regulatory challenges, is to create an everyday factual basis for the understanding of AI.
In unveiling the first in its "WIPO Technology Trends" series, Gurry said WIPO is contributing evidence-based projections, thereby informing global policymaking on the future of AI, its governance and the Intellectual Property (IP) framework that supports it.
AI first emerged in the 1950s, with the majority of all AI-related patent filings released since 2013, said WIPO.