UK competition watchdog launches review into generative AI

The ChatGPT website

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which recently blocked Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard, is now launching an initial review of “artificial intelligence models” such as those that power Bing Chat and ChatGPT. The CMA launched the review after the government asked regulators to look into how AI will affect consumers, businesses, and the UK economy.

Through the initial review, the CMA wants to look at three things in particular. It wants to see how these AI models could evolve. It wants to look into the opportunities and risks for competition and consumer protection. Finally, it wants to set out principles to support competition and protect consumers.

Various regulators in the UK will be looking into how AI affects their target area. AI touches on several important issues such as safety, security, copyright, privacy, and human rights. Take for example the replacement of writers by AI, well it’s not so simple a matter of asking the AI to spit out an article for you. In terms of copyright, the output generated by the AI actually belongs to the company that makes the AI. While Google or OpenAI won’t come after you for cheating on your homework, they very well may come after people using outputs for commercial purposes.

All of these various issues will be investigated by the UK’s different regulators but the CMA will focus more narrowly on the implication AI has for competition and consumer protection.

“AI has burst into the public consciousness over the past few months but has been on our radar for some time. It’s a technology developing at speed and has the potential to transform the way businesses compete as well as drive substantial economic growth,” said Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA. “It’s crucial that the potential benefits of this transformative technology are readily accessible to UK businesses and consumers while people remain protected from issues like false or misleading information. Our goal is to help this new, rapidly scaling technology develop in ways that ensure open, competitive markets and effective consumer protection.”

The CMA is now seeking evidence from stakeholders (basically, anyone who may be affected) until June 2. After it has collected these insights and done its own analysis, it will publish a report with its findings in September. If you’d like to find out more or track the development of this work, head over to the initial review webpage.

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