The FTC is concerned about Big Tech monopolizing AI

Federal Trade Commission FTC AH Logo rework for FTC Roomster fake reviews listings article DG AH 2022

It’s no surprise that big tech companies like Microsoft and Google are currently driving the AI revolution. From chatbots and image recognition software to self-driving cars, AI is increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives. However, the dominance of these companies in the current AI revolution has raised concerns about potential anti-competitive behaviour. As a result, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice’s antitrust division recently announced that they will keep a close eye on AI-powered tools to ensure that big tech companies are not using them to stifle competition.

At the agencies’ joint Enforcers Summit, FTC Chair Lina Khan and Justice Department antitrust head Jonathan Kanter expressed concerns about the fact that the current model of AI is inherently dependent on scale, which makes it more susceptible to monopolization by big companies.

Preventing market domination in Generative AIs

The FTC is particularly concerned about generative AI, which involves using AI models to generate content, such as text, images, and videos. Microsoft and Google are the clear leaders and dominant players in this field, while smaller startups face higher costs and the need for huge amounts of data collection, giving the tech giants a big advantage. However, as investors begin to expect profits from these companies, there is a risk that this pressure leads to anti-competitive tactics such as buying up potential competitors or restricting access to data. Companies like Microsoft have already started integrating generative AI in many of their services to maintain and strengthen their position as market leaders.

Over the past few years, the FTC has been trying to extend its authority in emerging tech industries to prevent companies from dominating a certain market. Last year, the FTC sued to block Facebook parent company Meta from acquiring virtual-reality startup Within Unlimited, citing concerns about stifling competition in a nascent market. Although the FTC’s request for an injunction halting the deal was denied by a federal judge, Ms Khan stated that the ruling advanced the law in the FTC’s favour and laid out a roadmap for future challenges.