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AI market faces investigation by UK competition regulator

AI market faces investigation by UK competition regulator

The CMA's boss says the technology offers opportunities but says there may need to be consumer protections in place.
A review of the artificial intelligence (AI) market has been launched by the UK competition watchdog.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) chief executive Sarah Cardell said the regulator's goal was "to help this new, rapidly scaling technology develop in ways that ensure open, competitive markets and effective consumer protection."

The probe would include the models behind popular chatbots such as ChatGPT.

AI is attracting increasing scrutiny as rapid development raises fears of many threats including to privacy and jobs.

The future of coursework within exams is under pressure through so-called generative AI that can create text, images and video that is barely distinguishable from human output.

"Foundation models, which include large language models and generative AI, that have emerged over the past five years, have the potential to transform much of what people and businesses do," the watchdog said.

"To ensure that innovation in AI continues in a way that benefits consumers, businesses and the UK economy, the government has asked regulators, including the CMA, to think about how the innovative development and deployment of AI can be supported against five overarching principles: safety, security and robustness; appropriate transparency and explainability; fairness; accountability and governance; and contestability and redress."

"The development of AI touches upon a number of important issues, including safety, security, copyright, privacy, and human rights, as well as the ways markets work," it added.

It was due to publish a report on its interim findings in September.

Views and evidence from stakeholders were invited ahead of a 2 June deadline.

The CMA spoke up just days after the US Federal Trade Commission warned this week it was "focusing intensely" on how such technology is being developed and used.

The week also saw the so-called godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton, speak out against the tech he helped create and the threat it could pose to humanity after leaving his role at Google.

For its part, the CMA has shown it is not afraid to stand up to big tech firms.

It attracted a backlash last week from Microsoft when it decided to block the company's $75bn takeover of the games publisher Activision Blizzard.
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