UK Competition Watchdog Raises Alarms Over Big Tech’s AI Dominance

After the ChatGPT launch in November last year, companies and consumers worldwide started using generative artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks, write documents, do market research, or even basic coding.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has voiced significant concerns regarding the formidable grip of major technology corporations, including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), warning of potential harm to consumers.

The CMA is closely scrutinising AI foundation models, the potent digital engines propelling advancements in AI, which include large language models like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Claude. These models, trained on vast datasets, can translate human language instructions into various outputs, such as code or images, and serve as the backbone for numerous AI innovations.

Having identified 90 partnerships and strategic investments involving tech giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Amazon, and Nvidia, the CMA underscores the immense control these companies wield over critical resources like raw data and computing power. Additionally, their ownership of app stores and software platforms amplifies their influence over potential market avenues for generative AI models.

The authority remains resolute in learning from past digital monopolies, recognizing the need to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a select few tech behemoths. As AI’s rapid evolution poses the risk of societal disruptions, regulators worldwide are vigilant in ensuring that big tech does not manipulate AI markets to its advantage.

Sarah Cardell, CEO of the CMA, emphasised the imperative of harnessing AI’s potential for societal good while safeguarding against market exploitation and unintended consequences. The CMA’s ongoing review of AI foundation models, initiated in May last year, underscores its commitment to navigating this transformative technological landscape responsibly.

In tandem with other regulatory bodies globally, such as the Federal Trade Commission in the US and France’s antitrust regulator, the CMA is closely monitoring big tech’s AI dominance. Investigations into partnerships, investments, and potential anticompetitive practices are underway, with a particular focus on Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI.

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UK Competition Watchdog Raises Alarms Over Big Tech’s AI Dominance