The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently announced its intention to examine the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) technology on consumers and the economy. This marks the CMA’s official entrance into the rapidly evolving AI landscape, with the goal of ensuring open, competitive markets and effective consumer protection.
In its examination, the CMA will focus on the development and deployment of foundation models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, assessing them against crucial principles like safety, transparency, fairness, and accountability. These principles aim to strike a balance between enabling AI’s growth and ensuring user protection against misinformation, as AI-generated fakes have already begun to appear on the web, resulting in legal issues.
Sarah Cardell, the chief executive of the CMA, acknowledged the potential of AI to transform the way businesses compete and fuel economic growth. However, she emphasized the importance of making sure that businesses and consumers in the UK enjoy the advantages of AI technologies while being protected from misinformation.
The CMA’s initial review will explore the competitive market of AI foundation models and their applications. This process will involve monitoring how these models can expand and present opportunities or risks to competition and consumers. By doing so, the CMA aims to achieve the ultimate goal of developing the technology in a manner that maintains open, competitive markets and consumer protection.
This move comes following the UK government’s publication of a white paper on AI in March 2023, which highlights the importance of addressing regulatory issues in the AI industry. Furthermore, on April 25, the UK Prime Minister and technology secretary unveiled funding of £100 million to support a task force focused on accelerating the country’s AI readiness.
In addition to examining AI foundation models, the CMA’s review intends to produce guiding principles to safeguard consumers from potential harm and foster healthy competition as AI technologies advance. The publication of the findings is expected in September 2023.
While the UK government’s efforts to implement regulatory frameworks for AI are commendable, some critics argue that the need for swift advancements may lead to hurried decisions in policy-making. Nevertheless, it is clear that the ongoing development of AI technologies is inevitable, and the CMA’s involvement can serve to promote ethical, transparent, and secure practices that benefit both businesses and consumers in the long run.