DOJ, FTC Target AI Industry in Antitrust Investigation: Three Takeaways

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According to a report from New York Times reporter David McCabe, federal regulators have agreed to share responsibilities for investigating antitrust issues within the artificial intelligence (AI) industry. Here are three key takeaways from the report:

1. DOJ Takes Nvidia, FTC Takes OpenAI, Microsoft
The Justice Department Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have agreed to divide their investigative efforts, with the Justice Department focusing on Nvidia, the leading manufacturer of AI chips, and the FTC examining the conduct of ChatGPT company OpenAI and Microsoft, which has invested $13 billion in OpenAI and more in other platforms, the Times reports, saying the division of duties will help the government effectively scrutinize the dominant roles these companies play in the rapidly evolving AI sector.

2. Probe is Part of Greater Regulatory Scrutiny of Tech.
This agreement marks an escalation in regulatory scrutiny of AI technologies, reflecting concerns over the potential impact of AI on jobs, information, and everyday life. Both agencies have been actively involved in the Biden administration’s broader efforts to regulate major tech companies, and this move extends their focus to include AI, which has seen a surge in development and application since late 2022, the Times notes.

3. Feds Are Following a Familiar Path.
The deal mirrors a similar arrangement in 2019 that led to investigations and lawsuits against Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta for alleged antitrust violations. The current focus on AI companies like Nvidia, OpenAI, and Microsoft suggests the government is taking a proactive approach to address any competition issues early. European agencies are still ahead of the United States in implementing comprehensive AI regulations, the Times notes, as EU officials have already established rules targeting high-risk uses of the technology.

With so many giant players and so much potential revenue, regulatory oversight of the AI industry and related litigation regarding fair competition, among other areas of law, e.g., intellectual property law, is certain to feature prominently in the global legal landscape for years to come.


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