Biden’s Administration Excludes Google, Meta, And Microsoft From AI Workshop

Google, Microsoft, and Meta are not included in the Biden Administration’s AI Workshop, which is focused on smaller players and global antitrust issues.

TakeAway Points:

  • Big tech companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, Google, and Meta are not allowed to participate in the Biden administration’s AI competition workshop.
  • The discussion will centre on smaller AI companies and venture capital firms and will address issues of global antitrust law as well as just pay for inventors.
  • The Justice Department is looking into Big Tech’s control over AI businesses, and the FTC is looking into OpenAI for possible deceptive conduct.

Antitrust Workshop on AI

The Biden administration’s antitrust enforcers organised a major event on artificial intelligence (AI) competition yesterday. Notable industry heavyweights like Google, Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Meta Platforms Inc. are not on the speaker list, despite the fact that these companies have been actively collaborating with leading AI startups like Anthropic and OpenAI Inc. through cloud computing deals and funding. Nvidia Corp., a major player in the global AI supply chain, is also not attending the workshop.

Rather, leading venture capital firms, law enforcement from the US, UK, and EU, as well as smaller players in the AI area like Mistral AI in France, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., and Broadcom Inc., will be present at the workshop, which is co-hosted by Stanford University. Jonathan Kanter, the assistant attorney general for antitrust, said that the speaker selection was deliberate but he remained silent on the Big Tech companies’ absence. The goal of the workshop is to promote “a meaningful conversation on AI,” bringing together representatives from different content groups as well as domestic and international enforcement bodies.

Pay for Creators

Jonathan Kanter stressed at the opening of the conference that AI companies must “adequately compensate creators for their works” in order to keep other industries from following the path that journalism has taken since the invention of the Internet.

“Everyone concerned about human progress should be concerned about what incentive will tomorrow’s creators, journalists, writers, and artists will have if AI has the ability to extract their ingenuity without appropriate compensation,” Kanter said.

Vice President of the European Commission Vera Jourova also addressed concerns that government policies pertaining to AI could stifle innovation. The EU recently finalised a landmark set of AI rules that will go into effect in June and could set the standard for AI governance in the West. Jourova emphasised the need for “meaningful rules,” noting that the AI revolution is being led by the largest tech companies, unlike the Internet and social media era, where startups were leading the way.

Global Antitrust Concerns

Antitrust enforcers globally are increasingly worried that many potential AI firms substantially depend on big tech companies for financing and infrastructure. Consumer protection and antitrust laws are enforced in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Justice Department. OpenAI is being investigated by the FTC due to allegations that its well-known chatbot used unfair or misleading tactics that hurt customers’ “reputations.” 

Additionally, the organisation is researching collaborations and investments made by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and AI startups such as Anthropic and OpenAI. In the meantime, the Justice Department is closely examining whether AI companies that employ the same directors or executives are breaking US antitrust rules.

Furthermore, compared to last year’s congressional hearings and discussions, where CEOs from Google, Microsoft, OpenAI, Meta, and Tesla Inc. discussed US AI regulation, the workshop’s speaker lineup is much different. Attendance is also anticipated from a number of foreign agencies, notably those from the UK. According to UK research published in March, significant US IT companies may be able to manipulate markets to suit their objectives using AI investments.