Foresight is all about signals and they come from various sources. History provides us with an incredible number of signals, with other sources including venture data, market research, academia, analysts, think tanks, and experimentation. One critical source of foresight is patents. This recent article provides an example of patent data as a source of foresight – in this case, focused on artificial intelligence (AI).
In conjunction with the global AI market growth, the number of patents for AI technology are on an upswing, and a general survey of patents for AI technologies shows just how innovative these industries are becomingRose Acoraci Zeck – ANALYSIS: Patents Forecast Widespread Reach of AI Tech in 2023
Analysis of AI patents shows that the number of patents issued by the US Patent & Trademark Office for AI technologies has surged over the past five years – from 3,267 in 2017 to 18,753 in 2021. The types of patents and their applications provide a window into AI in 2023. FinTech is identified as a key area of advancement driven by AI, with a focus on blockchain, cryptocurrency, contextual mobile banking, and crypto coin generation, mining, and exchange. In the health and wellness space, patent analysis indicates that AI innovation includes enhanced disease diagnostic technologies and optical devices that monitor brain activity. At a recent CFO and Board Director event that I participated in, sustainability was a dominant topic. Many seek to understand the role of technology in addressing the pressing issues of sustainability, climate change, and environmental issues. Patent analysis provides examples of how we may address these issues in the future.
AI technologies are utilized to simulate an organization’s environmental footprint at scale and to support clean power grids by minimizing energy waste. A review of AI-related clean/green technology patents reveals several key areas where AI technology is being applied, including in carbon emission prediction, virtual sensor models for greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution detection.Rose Acoraci Zeck – ANALYSIS: Patents Forecast Widespread Reach of AI Tech in 2023
As we move aggressively towards electric and autonomous vehicles, AI plays an increasingly important role. The article identifies several innovations including charging, integration with smart grids, control systems for hybrid vehicles, lane change path processing, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and intelligent charging on a power grid network. Any analysis would not be complete if it did not consider the convergence across building blocks. Examples provided in the article include the intersection of AI with the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D Printing, and 4D Printing.
Patent analysis is a great source of signals. Through this analysis, the article provides a peak into the path of artificial intelligence in 2023. Signal analysis is a critical piece of the foresight function – our challenge in this era of complexity, pace, and uncertainty is coping with the sheer number of signals across every domain. The job of a foresight leader is to continually sense and position an organization to respond.