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Government watchdog reviews consumer protections as use of AI expands

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It's getting harder to know what's real as more companies turn to artificial intelligence. So the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is looking at how to protect market competition with an eye on issues of safety, security, transparency and accountability.

The technology allows a computer to behave more like a human would and has already begun to alter how businesses and our lives are conducted. As such, the Government wants to ensure that “innovation in AI continues in a way that benefits consumers, businesses and the UK economy.”

The growth of AI will affect the way markets work, the CMA said, and also touch on questions of safety, security, copyright, privacy, and human rights.

‘Opportunities and risks’

The regulator said its review would “explore what opportunities and risks these scenarios could bring for competition and consumer protection” and “produce guiding principles to support competition and protect consumers as AI foundation models develop.”

Observers have known for years that AI would disrupt sectors and industries. But this initial review will concentrate largely on the likely implications of the development of AI in terms of competition and consumer protection.

‘Developing at speed’

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “AI has burst into the public consciousness over the past few months but has been on our radar for some time. It’s a technology developing at speed and has the potential to transform the way businesses compete as well as drive substantial economic growth.

“It’s crucial that the potential benefits of this transformative technology are readily accessible to UK businesses and consumers while people remain protected from issues like false or misleading information.”

The CMA said it would publish its findings in September.


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