Yesterday, Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President and National Economic Advisor convened a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the Administration’s support for AI policy that promotes fair, open, and competitive markets and that creates opportunities for small businesses and new entrants.
In the meeting, participants discussed the risks of concentration across the AI ecosystem and ways to support competition as AI systems continue to develop and become more widely used across the economy. 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. Participants also covered how open-source models and more tailored AI applications may shape the competitive landscape. Participants raised concerns about the risks of collusive behavior and highlighted the need to scrutinize partnerships and investments across the industry.
Participants also addressed the possible harms from lack of competition in AI including with respect to prices, quality, innovation, privacy. They also addressed how the rise of AI will affect competition law and policy in the coming years, including ways in which it may exacerbate existing challenges such as price-fixing and self-preferencing. Finally, the discussion turned to steps the Administration and others can take to promote competition and ensure that the benefits of AI are more broadly available. This includes support for publicly-funded research initiatives, effective use of procurement tools, and other steps.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made clear that promoting competition and innovation is a central part of AI policy. President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence calls on agencies “to promote competition in AI and related technologies, as well as in other markets” as they develop policies and regulations. The President’s Executive Order also supports small businesses commercializing AI products and directs a pilot of the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) to provide federally-supported computing power, data, and other resources to AI researchers and smaller companies. The Administration is also committed to a whole-of-government approach to promote competition and protect consumers as laid out in President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. This includes the application of competition policy and antitrust laws “to meet the challenges posed by new industries and technologies” as they develop.
Representatives from the White House National Economic Council, National Security Council, Domestic Policy Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Council of Economic Advisers and from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice attended the listening session. Outside participants in today’s meeting included:
- Nidhi Hegde, American Economic Liberties Project
- Sacha Haworth, Tech Oversight Project
- Chris Hughes, Economic Security Project & The New School
- Taylor Jo Isenberg, Economic Security Project
- Samir Jain, Center for Democracy and Technology
- Amba Kak, AI Now Institute
- Barry Lynn, Open Markets Institute
- Tejas Narechania, UC Berkeley School of Law
- Emily Peterson-Cassin, Demand Progress
- David Segal, Yelp
- Ganesh Sitaraman, Vanderbilt Law School
- Charlotte Slaiman, Public Knowledge
- Matt Stoller, American Economic Liberties Project
- Maurice Stucke, University of Tennessee College of Law