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UK competition watchdog is sounding the alarm bells about Big Tech’s AI dominance

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After the ChatGPT launch in November last year, companies and consumers worldwide started using generative artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks, write documents, do market research, or even basic coding.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised major concerns about the formidable hold of major tech companies, including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, over artificial intelligence (AI), warning of potential harm to consumers.

The CMA keeps a close eye on the foundational models of AI, the powerful digital engines that drive progress in AI, including major language models such as ChatGPT, Google Bard and Claude. Trained on massive data sets, these models can translate human language instructions into various outputs, such as code or images, and serve as the backbone for many AI innovations.

Having identified 90 partnerships and strategic investments involving tech giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Amazon and Nvidia, the CMA underlines the immense control these companies exert over crucial resources such as raw data and computing power. Furthermore, their ownership of app stores and software platforms increases their influence on potential market opportunities for generative AI models.

The authority remains resolute in learning from past digital monopolies and recognizes the need to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a select few technology giants. As the rapid evolution of AI poses the risk of societal disruptions, regulators worldwide are being vigilant to ensure that big tech does not manipulate AI markets to their advantage.

Sarah Cardell, CEO of the CMA, emphasized the need to unleash AI’s potential for social good while protecting against market exploitation and unintended consequences. The CMA’s ongoing review of AI foundation models, initiated in May last year, underlines its commitment to responsibly navigating this transformative technological landscape.

Along with other regulatory bodies worldwide, such as the US Federal Trade Commission and France’s antitrust regulator, the CMA keeps a close eye on the AI ​​dominance of big tech companies. Investigations are ongoing into partnerships, investments and potential anti-competitive practices, with a particular focus on Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI.