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Regulators Not ‘Dazzled’ by AI Companies’ Attempts to Avoid Scrutiny

Antitrust regulators are reportedly not convinced by artificial intelligence (AI) firms’ suggested hands-off policy.

Speaking at an antitrust conference in Washington last week, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan said technology companies have attempted to “dazzle” policymakers with the promise of AI, but to no avail, Bloomberg News reported Friday (April 12).

“There’s no exemption from the laws prohibiting collusion, laws prohibiting price fixing, laws prohibiting monopolization, the laws prohibiting fraud,” she said. “The FTC is going to take action.”

As Bloomberg noted, the world’s antitrust agencies have grown worried that several of the most promising startups in the AI sector rely heavily on tech giants like Microsoft and Google for funding and infrastructure.

The concern, the report said, is that these companies are tying themselves to smaller ones to make sure they remain on top in the AI field.

According to the report, representatives from Big Tech companies spent the conference arguing that AI could transform the economy, with Google attorney Kent Walker comparing the technology to the mRNA vaccine tech used to combat COVID-19.

The AI industry has different dynamics, said Haidee Schwartz, OpenAI’s associate general counsel for antitrust, referring to artificial intelligence as a “positive disruptor” that can foster greater competition and bring growth to new industries.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS wrote last week about efforts by Big Tech companies to develop custom chips that bolster the efficiency and lower the costs of AI.

For example, Meta has introduced its latest generation of custom computer chips to strengthen its AI capabilities and reduce dependency on external suppliers like Nvidia. This news comes on the heels of Intel’s launch of an improved AI “accelerator” and comes as competitors like Google embrace in-house AI chip development. Experts said AI chips could boost commercial applications. 

“From the business point of view, it lowers the bar for training per-customer, per-task models and moves away from just consuming APIs from providers of large language models for specialized and high-security use cases,” Amrit Jassal, co-founder and chief technology officer of Egnyte, which makes AI-powered software for businesses, said in an interview with PYMNTS. 

As that report noted, custom chips could reduce AI costs for businesses. For now, the price of integrating generative AI into a business can vary substantially, from a few hundred dollars a month to several hundred thousand dollars for a custom solution based on a fine-tuned open-source model, according to software development firm Itrex