U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter warned that the growth of AI technology will “not escape regulatory scrutiny” because of the potential competitve dangers that could arise from its use. Kanter, who heads the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, said the agency hired several data scientists and other technology experts to spearhead its artificial intelligence initiative code-named “Project Gretzky”, American publication Axios reported.
Confronting AI head-onIt is all part of preparations to confront issues posed by the development and growth of AI, said Kanter. “We use the term [artificial intelligence] as if it’s a very narrow category, but these are just tools,” Kanter stated at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas recently.
“When we think about AI, we think about it as a tool…it’s really important that we understood that, so we’ve hired data scientists and are bringing in expertise to make sure we have the ability to understand that tech.”Under Kanter, who is also DOJ Assistant Attorney General, the division has already hired “a chief economist with a background in computer science and machine learning,” according to some media reports. The drive to recruit more tech experts shows concerns “about how companies may use data and algorithms to target consumers with highly personalized offers, recommendations and information that may entrench a company’s dominance.” Kanter revealed that the Department of Justice has code-named its AI initiative “Project Gretzky”. The project was named after legendary Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky – famed for a line about “skating to where the puck is going,” Axios reported.
Risk of price-fixing via AIArtificial intelligence is a powerful and promising new technology. The AI hype reached fever-pitch with the launch of OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT in November. Since then, have spent billions of dollars to ensure that AI is at the center of all sorts of products and services. Over the past two months alone, Microsoft integrated ChatGPT into its Bing search engine and Google unveiled a ChatGPT-like service for search called “Bard“. Chinese tech giant Baidu is expected to launch a similar AI service, known as “Ernie Bot”, this month. Grammarly and Slack have both added AI. Judges in Columbia used AI to rule on cases. The list is long. DOJ’s Jonathan Kanter is worried that artificial intelligence could “facilitate price-fixing.” In 2022, he said that companies that use AI to program their services “may need to start training their AI to steer clear of cartel enforcement action by the Department of Justice.” More recently, CNN quoted Kanter as saying, “One of the things we’re confronting in any market we address today. Whether it’s healthcare, energy, consumer tech, enterprise tech and everything in between, the importance of data is so significant.” He added:
“[It is] so substantial that we need to understand at an expert level how that data is used, how it affects the economics, how it affects the potential for tipping, moat-building and other competitive dynamics.”
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