1. 19

  2. 12

    Somewhat relevant: my favorite short story is the Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges, which describes a universe-sized library consisting of hexagonal rooms attached to each other. The library contains, in random order, all possible books (with some finite max page count per book that I can’t remember right now). This library is interesting because 1) it is finite in size, although quite large and 2) it contains all possible useful information.

    If we could build this library, could we use it as prior art? Could we even have novel ideas if they already exist in the library? This question is relevant because somebody has created this library, although it uses some math to generate the books on the fly as you browse. That said, it genuinely does contain all books.

    In my mind, the Library of Babel is just as valid a way to combat prior art as this project — both are a massive computer generated list of possible writings, although the Library of Babel is a bit more comprehensive. I’m not sure if they are valid, though.

    1. 5

      What is an idea? Or a patent, to be more specific? It’s a number. Concatenate all the 8-bit chars in a patent and you have a number. Very large, but still a number, and finite in size. All we need is an algorithm that can generate all the numbers up to a certain max. Increment comes to mind.

      This is like infinite monkeys with typewriters. The work of Shakespeare is not rendered unremarkable by the fact that it could, in theory, be generated randomly.

    2. 6

      Does it work? If you feed it all patents prior to 2002 as input, does it generate linked lists as prior art?

      1. 3

        Speaking of prior art, someone made a similar bot in 2002. :-)