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White House Pushes for Pro-Small Business AI Policy

White House

How can artificial intelligence (AI) create opportunities for small businesses?

That question was the subject of a Friday (Jan. 19) White House meeting designed to examine ways to support competition as AI becomes more widely used.

“This included a focus on the challenges participants raised about the high levels of concentration in the production of critical inputs including semiconductors, computing power, cloud storage, talent, and data,” the White House said in a news briefing.

The meeting also covered how open-source models can impact the competitive landscape and the need to “scrutinize partnerships and investments.”

Among the participants at the meeting were representatives from the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.

And as noted here Sunday (Jan. 21), both agencies have shown interest in investigating perhaps the most high-profile AI relationship, that between Microsoft and OpenAI.

A recent report by Politico — citing sources with knowledge of the matter — said the two agencies have been in talks for months about a possible antitrust investigation, though neither wants to turn over jurisdiction.

While companies must report most deals for review by antitrust regulators, neither OpenAI nor Microsoft — which has invested several billion dollars in the AI firm — have done so, the report said. The relationship has drawn more scrutiny in months following the firing and rehiring of OpenAI chief Sam Altman.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS last week explored how AI-powered loan decisioning tools are revolutionizing the way working capital and financing are extended to small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs).

As that report noted, AI has opened the lending landscape to a data-driven way of doing things, replacing “subjective evaluations with objective analyses of vast amounts of information.”

In this environment, machine learning algorithms now assess a range of factors to make lending decisions: financial history, credit scores and business performance metrics.

“It’s not simple for small businesses to get a loan, even if it’s a small loan,” Galileo Financial Technologies Chief Product Officer David Feuer told PYMNTS in an interview posted in October.

“Banks are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of data and their use of AI to make intelligent decisions about who to make their offers to,” he added.