The line between creator and creation has gotten blurrier lately, thanks to sophisticated robots that are smart enough to invent technologies of their own. These are not simplistic gadgets the likes of which you might concoct while daydreaming at a red light or doodling on a napkin. We are speaking about innovative pharmaceutical formulations and genetic fixes that might normally take dozens of scientists many years and millions of dollars to develop.

The robot itself has become the scientist's scientistThis new breed of robot has taken information technology to a whole new level. What once was called the science of automation has been overturned to become the automation of science. Yes, the robot itself has become the scientist's scientist.

Divine Providence is often credited with providing the remedy before the affliction. The modern affliction is complexity. For example, the problems that scientists face today in biotechnology involve thousands of variables, each having various states and interactions with other variables and environmental elements, resulting in millions of possible outcomes that all have to be evaluated before you even get to the stage of making an experiment to physically test anything. Whew!

The cure is processing power. Today's robots can identify problems, review existing options, design new alternatives, test them all theoretically, and determine the most effective and robust solutions. Amazing.

But the new cures generate their own set of afflictions, one of which is legal. Who has the right to patent these cybersolutions, the inventor of the robot, or the robot itself? Believe it or not, according to the journal, SCIENCE, it depends on where you (or the robot) lives. In the USA, only inventions by humans can be protected by patents. In Europe, it seems, the laws governing intellectual property extend to any legal entity, possibly even robots.

What can we learn from all this? First let's look at things from the robot's perspective. Left to its own devices, such a smartbot could look at himself proudly and proclaim, "Wow, I'm amazing! I've studied everything out there and there's nothing that can analyze problems and create solutions like I can."

Your scope is limited, your intelligence artificial, your personality vacuousWell hang on there, Mr. Bot. You are yourself a mere creation, the product of analysis and design by a creative intelligence greater than yours. True, you too can invent, and brilliantly at that, but your scope is limited, your intelligence artificial, your personality vacuous, your circuitry simplistic. And besides, the very tasks you have been hardwired from the outset to perform are the very tasks you falsely pride yourself in. If anyone deserves the credit, it is the creative genius that made you the creative genius you are.

And the same may be said of us.

Man, the inventor, is the invention of an inventive mind like his, but infinitely greater still. True, his analytic and creative prowess is incomparable in all the world, but man would do well to heed the Torah's admonition in Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25: "And you think, 'My strength and the power of my hand acquired this wealth for me.'"

Is it any more ludicrous for our techno-babies to take exclusive credit for their inventions than it is for us to boast of ours? Honesty demands that we too look upstream to acknowledge our source and recognize who owns what.

There's another lesson to learn from robots. As sophisticated as they get, they only appear to be conscious, sentient and free-willed. To equate robots with humans is not only a false vaunting of their qualities, it is an abdication and gross neglect of ours. And if that happens, G‑d forbid, then indeed they would deserve their patent rights – at least more than we would.

Vive la difference.