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UK has real concerns about AI risks, competition regulator says

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UK has real concerns about AI risks, competition regulator says

Just six big tech companies are at the heart of the AI ​​sector through an “interconnected network” of more than 90 investments and partnership links, the UK competition regulator has warned, raising further concerns about the anti-competitive nature of technology.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority, said basic AI models – general-purpose AI systems such as OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Google’s Gemini, on which consumer and business products are often built ) were a possible “paradigm shift.” for society.

In Washington, he added that the immense concentration of power they represented would give a small number of companies “the ability and incentives to shape these markets according to their own interests.”

“When we started this work, we were curious. Now, with a deeper understanding and having watched events closely, we have real concerns,” Cardell said.

“The essential challenge we face is how to harness this immensely exciting technology for the benefit of all, while protecting against potential exploitation of market power and unintended consequences. “We are committed to applying the principles we have developed and using all legal powers at our disposal, now and in the future, to ensure that this transformative and structurally critical technology delivers on its promise.”

The six identified by the CMA are Google, Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, Apple and Nvidia, the main supplier of chips for AI training and use. Its involvement in more than 90 partnerships and investments, the CMA said, could limit diversity and choice in the market.

The “winner-take-all” dynamic of digital markets led to the dominance of a few powerful platforms, Cardell said, and she was “determined to apply the lessons of history” to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Highlighting three “interrelated” risks, Cardell said competition in the AI ​​sector could be harmed by companies controlling critical inputs, from data to chips, restricting access to protect themselves from competition; companies using their market power to distort the choice of AI services; and associations between key actors that exacerbate concentrations of market power.

The CMA first announced its plans to investigate the market for basic AI models in May 2023. The initial review, published in September, found that people should not expect the technology to have a positive outcome in the world at large.

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“We cannot take a positive future for granted,” Cardell said at the time. “There remains a real risk that the use of AI develops in a way that undermines consumer confidence or is dominated by a few actors who exercise market power that prevents the full benefits from being felt throughout the economy. “.

The news came as AI regulators around the world prepare for a mini-summit in Korea, to build on the AI ​​Safety Summit held in the UK in November 2023 and prepare for the second full session in Paris, planned for the end of this year.

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