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Science & Tech: Ai A 'fire Accelerator' For Big Tech

SCIENCE & TECH: AI a ‘fire accelerator’ for Big Tech antitrust abuse: Andreas Mundt

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The rise of advanced artificial intelligence tools will act as “first-class fire accelerator” for anticompetitive behavior by Big Tech firms, Germany’s top antitrust official warned Wednesday.

The warning from Andreas Mundt, head of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, comes as AI leaders such as Microsoft, Google and Nvidia face mounting scrutiny from watchdogs in the US and the European Union over concerns that they wield too much power over the market.

Powerful AI systems “will make all the problems only worse,” according to Mundt, who cited fears that users won’t be able to avoid Big Tech platforms in favor of alternative services.

“There’s a great danger that we’ll will get an even deeper concentration of digital markets and power increase at various levels, from chips to the front end” where users interact with tech platforms, Mundt said at his agency’s annual press conference, according to Bloomberg.

Germany’s antitrust chief Andreas Mundt warned that AI is a “first-class fire accelerator” for anticompetitive behavior by Big Tech firms. dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Mundt reportedly pointed during his remarks to Nvidia – a major supplier of chips used to train AI models that briefly became the world’s most valuable company last week.

However, he said Germany’s antitrust cops have yet to launch an AI-centric probe.

Germany has seven active competition investigations focused on tech firms, including one against Microsoft, which has poured $13 billion in ChatGPT maker OpenAI.

Mundt said his team is weighing Microsoft’s AI efforts as part of the pending probe.

Mundt’s remarks echoed similar comments from antitrust officials in the US and Europe in recent weeks.

In the US, the Justice Department is reportedly set to probe Nvidia and whether it has violated competition laws, while the Federal Trade Commission is taking aim at Microsoft and OpenAI.

Nvidia supplies the chips used to train AI models. REUTERS

DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter recently told the Financial Times that his team was examining actively “monopoly choke points and the competitive landscape” in AI.

The DOJ currently has two major pending antitrust lawsuits targeting Google’s online search and digital advertising empires.

As The Post reported, news publishers have pushed the feds to crack down on Google after it rolled out an “AI Overviews” feature that demotes traditional search results in favor of AI-generated summaries.

Microsoft is a key investor in OpenAI. NurPhoto via Getty Images

Elsewhere, the European Union’s antitrust agency charged Apple and Microsoft in separate cases for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

Apple is accused of violating Europe’s sweeping Digital Markets Act through its App Store practices, including making it difficult for rival app developers to “steer” customers to cheaper offers outside its ecosystem.

The iPhone maker could face billions in fines.

Microsoft is accused of potentially violating the law by bundling its Teams software with office productivity apps such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365.



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