UK Competition Authority Proposes New Rules to Govern AI

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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) cautions that artificial intelligence’s (AI) future role cannot be assumed to be positive despite its rapidly growing role in everyday life. Its chief executive, Sarah Gardell, said big players dominated the space that often lacks sufficient consumer protection.

In addition, the major companies often control two or more elements of critical infrastructure. Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon each operate data centers and servers in addition to their software, search, and online shopping businesses.

UK AI Consumer Protection Must Give People Options

In the short term, the concentration of power could expose consumers to false information, AI fraud, and fake reviews. In the long term, dominant players could consolidate their AI dominance and harm consumers through high prices.

The potential for abuse means that AI’s future is far from certain, Gardell suggests.

“We can’t take a positive future for granted. There remains a real risk that the use of AI develops in a way that undermines consumer trust or is dominated by a few players who exert market power that prevents the full benefits from being felt across the economy.”

The CMA proposes that the government allows new AI entrants to access data and computing power to limit the advantage of market leaders. Businesses should be able to develop their own models, while the government should not allow companies to silo consumers into one ecosystem through predatory “bundling.”

Only 20% of UK AI survey respondents call for AI ban | Source: PublicFirst

Learn more about the machine learning models used in AI here.

The CMA will publish an update on its thinking and how its proposals have been implemented in 2024.

Government Must Balance Innovative and Creative Goals

The warnings sounded by the CMA echo those voiced by the UK’s Culture, Media, and Sport Committee on the use of creative data in training models. Like the CMA, the CMS asked the government to balance the needs of those vulnerable to AI with those developing the tools.

This came after the government permitted AI firms to use creatives’ content in their models. The move deepened the breach between the government’s AI ambitions and the needs of sectors vital to the economy’s functioning.

Read here about AI-generated art.

The UK will hold a global summit on AI in November. 

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