Technological improvement rate predictions for all technologies: Use of patent data and an extended domain description

Anuraag Singh, Giorgio Triulzi, Christopher L. Magee. Technological improvement rate predictions for all technologies: Use of patent data and an extended domain description, Research Policy, Volume 50, Issue 9, 2021, 104294, ISSN 0048-7333,

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In this work, we provide predicted yearly performance improvement rates for nearly all definable technologies for the first time. We do this by creating a correspondence of all patents within the US patent system to a set of 1757 technology domains. A technology domain is a body of patented inventions achieving the same technological function using the same knowledge and scientific principles. These domains contain 97.2% of all patents within the entire US patent system. From the identified patent sets, we calculated the average centrality of the patents in each domain to predict their improvement rates, following a patent network-based methodology tested in prior work. They vary from a low of 2% per year for the Mechanical Skin treatment- Hair Removal and wrinkles domain to a high of 216% per year for the Dynamic information exchange and support systems integrating multiple channels domain, but more that 80% of technologies improve at less than 25% per year. Fast improving domains are concentrated in a few technological areas. The domains that show improvement rates greater than the predicted rate for integrated chips, from Moore's law, are predominantly based upon software and algorithms. In addition, the rates of improvement were not a strong function of the patent set size. We make available an online system that allows for automated searching for domains and improvement rates corresponding to any technology of interest to researchers, strategists and policy formulators.


Figure: Distribution of Predicted Improvement rates (K-values in% per annum) for 1757 technology domains and best fit of the probability density function (lognorm). Domains to the right of dashed red line are improving faster than 36.5% per annum (the predicted rate for integrated chips pertaining to Moore's law). Source