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29 Mar, 2023
1 min time to read

‘We need to be very vigilant to make sure that this is not just another site for the big companies becoming bigger.’

The US Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s antitrust division have announced plans to investigate the emerging field of AI-powered tools for potential anti-competitive behavior. The agencies' joint Enforcers Summit heard from FTC Chair Lina Khan and Justice Department antitrust head Jonathan Kanter, who expressed concerns about major companies leveraging AI's economies of scale to crush competition.

Khan warned that as AI relies heavily on vast amounts of data and storage, companies could resort to anticompetitive tactics to protect their dominance. Meanwhile, Kanter noted that the current model of AI is inherently dependent on scale, presenting risks of monopolization by larger firms.

Generative AI, which produces text and images based on user prompts, is currently dominated by big players like Google and Microsoft, along with startups such as Midjourney and Stability AI. However, the cost of running these models is high and requires significant amounts of data collection. As investors start to demand profits, it may increase pressure across the industry. Companies may also require more human refinement and scrutiny of their vast datasets to minimize unwanted output.

The FTC has been trying to extend its authority into emerging tech industries not yet dominated by incumbents. It recently failed to block Quest VR headset maker Meta's purchase of Within, a VR fitness app maker that Khan said could help push Meta into competing more on software. Although cases in traditional fields are expected soon, there may be a significant lawsuit against Amazon.