G7 Commits to Tackling Antitrust Concerns Posed by AI Technologies
November 10, 2023
Following a summit in Japan, the Group of Seven (“G7”) Competition Authorities and Policymakers issued a statement1 on November 8, 2023, that expressed a commitment to proactively address antitrust issues that could arise as new digital technologies continue to emerge such as generative artificial intelligence (“AI”), blockchain, and metaverse. The G7 group included United States delegates from the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission. Other G7 countries that participated include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Although the G7 recognized that emerging digital technologies like AI can be pro-competitive and stimulate economic growth, the policymakers also emphasized the need to “anticipate and address competition concerns at an earlier stage” and to “take swift and proportionate action” to prevent competitive harm, using international collaboration and the “full range of regulatory tools” at their disposal. Without proactive action, the G7 warned that a small number of firms could use mergers or exclusionary conduct to assume a dominant market position over developing technologies, thus stifling innovation. The G7 further explained that because this sort of market entrenchment can occur rapidly in digital technologies, antitrust enforcement authorities must remain vigilant and be prepared to take speedy action.
The G7 statement specifically discussed antitrust concerns relating to generative AI. It explained that competing in this area depends on access to “several key inputs,” such as: massive data compilations; engineering and research personnel with skills in machine learning and natural language processing; and substantial computational resources. The G7 warned that competition could be harmed if incumbent firms restrict access to these key inputs, including through “bundling, tying, exclusive dealing, or self-preferencing” arrangements. The G7 further cautioned that through partnerships or acquisitions, incumbent firms could entrench themselves in a dominant market position, which could create impenetrable barriers to entry for startup firms.
The G7 statement also discussed the increasing use of AI to set consumer prices, warning that these tools could be used to facilitate illegal collusion among competitors and price fixing.
In light of these concerns, the G7 emphasized that it was fully prepared to use existing competition laws to address competitive harms from AI development, products, and uses. It further indicated that the competition policymaker group would support the development and enforcement of new AI-specific laws or policies.
©2023 Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. All rights reserved. The purpose of this publication is to provide readers with information on current topics of general interest and nothing herein shall be construed to create, offer, or memorialize the existence of an attorney-client relationship. The content should not be considered legal advice or opinion, because it may not apply to the specific facts of a particular matter. As guidance in areas is constantly changing and evolving, you should consider checking for updated guidance, or consult with legal counsel, before making any decisions.
The material in this newsletter may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the written permission of Snell & Wilmer.