Computerization and digitalization are expected not only to replace manual and unpleasant work, as robotics did in the past in production and raw material industries, but also more interesting mental work, for example in service and administrative areas. Recent developments and examples in the area of machine invention systems – a concept developed here at the TU Wien – suggest that one of these activities that could be automated in the future is the creation of new ideas – i.e. invention. This, of course, raises important research questions to which extent invention activities can and should be automated in companies and how human employees and cybersystems can and should interact.

Current fields of application

Cyberphysical systems, cybersecurity, creativity applications, cryptography and knowledge generation systems seem to be the main fields of application in the current state of development of machine invention systems. These domains also show the hidden potential of such systems, as they represent the foundation of most industries today.

Research importance

In the current understanding, all our inventions and innovations stem from our reasoning, logic and coincidences. With the advent of machine invention systems, we are on the brink of changing this fundamental paradigm. This technology opens, besides challenges, a plethora of opportunities to new research avenues, expanding current research fields and improving and adding to the global pool of knowledge.

Due to machine invention systems not being biased by previous experiences, taking advantage of all their gained knowledge and capitalizing on their ability to handle large amounts of complex data, they can provide a unique out-of-the-box perspective to all fields of study. The technology promises to provide a second point of view – for the first time in history – on all human-related activities, much like a second industrial revolution.

Current research progress & outlook

The ongoing research will assess the optimal conditions in which machine invention systems can be integrated into our current work environments to complement the existing systems. The goal is to provide insights on reducing the deployment risks of this technology and allow for a smooth diffusion in the industrial applications.

For more information about the project and possible collaboration opportunities, please contact the head of the project Dragos-Cristian Vasilescu.