On 4 May 2023, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced it is launching a review into AI foundation models and their potential implications for the UK competition and consumer protection regime. The CMA’s review is part of the UK’s wider approach to AI regulation which will require existing regulators to take responsibility for promoting and overseeing responsible AI within their sectors (for further information on the UK Government’s strategy, including its recent AI White Paper, see our blog post here). The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has also recently published guidance for businesses on best practices for data protection-compliant AI (see our post here for more details).
The CMA’s focus is on foundation models – a type of AI model trained on large amounts of data that can be adapted to a wide range of different tasks and services such as chatbots and image generators – and how their use could evolve in the future. The review will focus on three main themes:
- Competition and barriers to entry in the development of foundation models;
- The impact foundation models may have on competition in other markets; and
- Potential risks to consumers arising from the use of foundation models in products and services.
As part of its evidence gathering efforts, the CMA will issue “short information requests” to key players including “industry labs developing foundation models, developers… leading technology firms” and others (see more here).
The CMA is welcoming submissions from stakeholders until 2 June and expects to publish a report on its findings in September. Potential outcomes from this review could include recommendations and guidance from the CMA on the competition and consumer protection principles that can best guide the ongoing development of foundation models.
Covington regularly advises the world’s top technology companies on their most challenging regulatory, compliance, and public policy issues in the UK, EU and other major markets. We are monitoring developments in AI policy and regulation very closely and will be updating this site regularly – please watch this space for further updates.