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Discovering value: women’s participation in university and commercial AI invention

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making waves in every corner of the world, and women are playing a significant role in this revolution, especially in the field of biotechnology AI, according to a recent study published in Nature. The study, titled Discovering value: women’s participation in university and commercial AI invention, used PatentsView data to identify the gender of inventors before using World Intellectual Property Organization categories to determine which patents contain AI. 

It was written by Alexander Giczy, Nicholas Pairolero, and Andrew Toole.

More Women are Participating in AI Innovation

The study found that women are making significant contributions to AI innovation, but there is still work to be done to ensure that people from many different backgrounds are participating in the development of AI.

The authors analyzed the women as inventors rate (WIR), which is a measure of the number and share of people receiving patents who are women. They found that the overall number of women inventors who received AI-related patents has increased from around 500 per year in 1995 to around 9,000 in 2020. The WIR for AI inventions increased from 10.1% to 12.6% in the same time frame.

“These results show that women are not only participating in AI invention but are doing so at a slightly higher rate than in non-AI technologies,” the authors said in the study.

They found differences in the AI WIR based on sector (e.g., AI and biotechnology), and whether the inventors worked for companies or universities.

The Value of Women Inventors

The authors noted research showing that diverse teams are more likely to improve innovation and business performance by looking at problems from different perspectives. Testing that theory, they found that teams with a higher proportion of women tended to be associated with higher economic value of granted patents. 

“While such an analysis does not imply causation, the value of the patent is higher for teams with relatively more women: a patent with an equal number of male and female inventors has a value approximately $1.038 million higher than a patent with all-male inventors,” the authors said in the study.

How PatentsView Can Help

This study contributes to a growing body of research that shows how important diversity is for innovation and emerging technologies. To thrive and grow in the future, everyone must be able to participate in innovation and patenting, regardless of their background. Tools like PatentsView can help us track our progress and identify areas where we can improve.

You can explore more on this topic on PatentsView’s Gender & Innovation and AI & Innovation pages.

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