UK reviews AI development: It can ‘drive substantial economic growth’


The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has turned its attention to artificial intelligence (AI) after announcing an examination of the impact of the technology on consumers and the economy.

On May 4, the regulator said it will be looking at the development and deployment of foundation models –  applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT-  against key principles. Those include safety, transparency, fairness and accountability, among others. 

Sarah Cardell, the chief executive of the CMA, commented that since AI tools “burst” into the public sphere, regulators have had their eye on it.

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“It’s a technology developing at speed and has the potential to transform the way businesses compete as well as drive substantial economic growth.”

She continued by deeming it “crucial” that businesses and consumers in the U.K. have access to the potential benefits of AI technologies, while simultaneously being shielded from fake information. AI-generated fakes have already begun populating the web resulting in lawsuits. 

The initial review will examine the competitive market for AI foundation models and their usage. Regulators plan to monitor how they can expand and present opportunities, along with risks to competition and consumers.

The CMA says its goal is to help the technology develop in ways that “ensure open, competitive markets and effective consumer protection.”

Additionally, this review is intended to produce “guiding principles” for the protection of consumers while supporting healthy competition as such technologies develop. The report of findings is scheduled to be published in September 2023.

This announcement follows the publication of a white paper on AI from the U.K. government in March 2023.

On April 25, the U.K. prime minister and technology secretary revealed funding of 100 million British pounds ($124.8 million) to support a task force aimed at accelerating the country’s AI readiness.

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