Dirk Auer on the DOJ/FTC AI Antitrust Investigation

ICLE Director of Competition Policy Dirk Auer was quoted by Al Jazeera in a story about the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission’s investigations of alleged antitrust violations in the market for artificial intelligence services. You can read the full piece here.

The cases are part of a major policy shift in the US over the past five years towards favouring more regulation after years of pro-market attitudes, according to Dirk Auer, director of competition policy at the International Center for Law & Economics in Portland, Oregon.

“Enforcers both in the United States and in the European Union are very keen to bring cases in the generative AI space. The way they see it, this is the next big thing, and they think, rightly or wrongly, that they failed to bring competition cases in the early years of Web 2.0 and that led to more concentration in less competitive markets than would otherwise have been the case,” Auer told Al Jazeera.

…Auer said, however, that he was not certain if a case against Nvidia, Microsoft and Open AI would stand up in court.

“There’s two basic problems with these AI cases. The first is that, right now, the generative AI space seems very, very competitive and so that doesn’t make it an ideal target for antitrust intervention,” Auer said.

“The second big one is that these deals with big tech firms appear to be extremely valuable for generative AI startups,” Auer said, adding that more regulation would also mean financing and investment deals would take longer to receive approval, slowing down further research and innovation.