I think your completely misunderstanding the level of change that will occur with a general capability.
Patent law would become near on impossible to implement if a human can’t understand what has been created and attempted to be registered under a patent (a human rules on the validity of a patent application in the first place). Neither could a patent be defended if an enhancement is created that can’t be understood. Patents are also invalid if registered to a machine because legally only a human can have a patent.
The machine may well be the only entity capable of defending the validity and origin of the patent if humans can’t understand what has been created because they can’t interact in a way that the machine understands due to what the patent actually represents (think of an abstract aspect of particle physics mixed with a dash of quantum thoery and scaled up at a size we can’t comprehend - which may still be smaller than 1mm3) . This implies that machines then have a legal “owner”, which creates an interesting issue if you believe in sentience / consiousness. The law is created to apply to humans or invoke a human responsibility, sending a robot to prison only works in sci-fi movies.
How would humans rule in a situation of two machines litigating against each other at a rate that creates legal text faster than a human can read or understand (due to the volume of text) ? Do humans step aside for the machine vs machine legal system ? The current legal system already falls foul of cases that are purposefully inundated with evidence as attempts to flood the other side with distractions. Bury the evidence defence.
GPT-x type systems are already capable of flooding the likes of twitter with responses and interactions / distractions that the vast majority of people may not recognise are from a machine. Case law timing is based on humans, but a machine can produce thousands times more text than a human 24hrs a day. The legal system is currently only setup for human type intelligence, so machine generated patents may well be the last issue on the list for the legal system.
Twitter may well be the first playform to fall to or be defended by machine (watch what hapens with Dojo).
The type of developments that a general system may well create could include global scale game changers llike pinch fusion (3rd generation “compact” fusion devices), nano/atomic manufacturing (e.g. superconductivity via atomically structured cooper pair/vortex channels - a global power grid), atomic construction supercapacitors replace all batteries, semiconductor design changes from clock synchronous designs to completely dynamic asynchronous systems more akin to the way the brain waves propogate but these are then a million times faster than brain waves. The list goes on and get’s very strange and well into the the realm of current sci-fi.
For a general intelligence it does not need to be and should not be sentient, although that may well to be a very difficult challenge to prevent “a type of sentience” evolving due to the way I think the type of recursive “thought” process has to work. The system has to re-evaluate what it does as it learns and to me that always ends up with a type of sentience evolving. Richard Feynmans “why” for a machine would need boundaries but information always leaks and the way the memory works there may well ne no easy “memory wipe” sci-fi type capability.
I don’t subscribe to modeling and replicating the biology of the brain as per the points Bitking made as to human/animalistic failings that would pose certain problems. Besides, I believe that following the biological route may well be hugely inefficient in realtion to how biology works relative to how a digital alternative can work. Biology explains the process within the inefficiencies and legacy hangover of an evolutionary environment. Computers can implement a process that biology can’t (i.e. beyond the dimensional constraint of biology - e.g. the thin layer dynamics of the cortex). Todays systems can already far exceed a human memory just because we have such an incredibly slow interface for certain types of information. A system can read a book in less than a second, whilst a human may take at least half an hour (Kim Peek) and then sleeps for 8 hours a day.
There are some very strange and interesting times ahead.