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UK Proposed principles to guide competitive AI markets and protect consumers

Gov.UK – September 18, 2023: “The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today published a report following its initial review of foundation models (FMs) and has proposed principles which aim to ensure consumer protection and healthy competition are at the heart of responsible development and use of FMs. FMs are artificial intelligence (AI) systems with broad capabilities that can be adapted to a range of different, more specific purposes. Recent developments in FMs and their rapid adoption across several user applications (such as ChatGPT and Office 365 Copilot), highlight their potential to spur innovation and economic growth. FMs have the potential to transform how we live and work, as well as a range of industries – these changes can happen quickly and have a significant impact on people, businesses, and the UK economy.

The CMA’s report highlights how people and businesses stand to benefit if the development and use of FMs, works well. This could be through new and better products and services, easier access to information, scientific and health breakthroughs, and lower prices. The impact of FMs could also allow a wider range of firms to compete successfully and challenge existing market leaders. This vibrant competition and innovation would benefit the economy as a whole – helping to increase productivity and generate economic growth. The report also cautions that if competition is weak or developers fail to heed consumer protection law, people and businesses could be harmed. For example, people could be exposed to significant levels of false and misleading information and AI-enabled fraud. In the longer term, a handful of firms could use FMs to gain or entrench positions of market power and fail to offer the best products and services and/or charge high prices. While there are other important questions raised by FMs – copyright and intellectual property, online safety, data protection, security and more – these were not included in the scope of the CMA’s initial review which focussed on competition and consumer protection concerns. The proposed principles published today aim to guide the ongoing development and use of FMs to help people, businesses, and the economy fully benefit from the innovation and growth FMs can offer. The principles draw on lessons learned from the evolution of other technology markets and how they might apply to FMs, as they are developed…”

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