Artificial Intelligence (AI) has ushered in a profound transformation across industries, fundamentally altering competition dynamics. However, alongside its immense potential, AI presents intricate regulatory challenges, particularly in the realm of competition.

As AI systems advance, concerns about market dominance, consumer welfare, and fair competition have sparked global regulatory scrutiny. A primary issue is the consolidation of power among tech giants leveraging AI. These companies enjoy substantial advantages in data access, processing capabilities, and algorithmic insights, enabling them to dominate markets and potentially stifle competition through tactics like predatory pricing and exclusionary practices.

Various jurisdictions have taken divergent approaches to tackle these challenges. In the EU, regulators have been proactive in overseeing AI-driven markets, with initiatives like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) aimed at fostering competition, preventing market abuse, and safeguarding consumer rights. Similarly, US authorities have intensified scrutiny on tech giants wielding AI, launching investigations into potential anti-competitive behavior and pursuing antitrust enforcement actions.

Conversely, some Asian jurisdictions, notably China, have embraced a more lenient regulatory stance, prioritizing innovation and economic growth over competition concerns. While this approach has facilitated AI development, it has also raised apprehensions about transparency, accountability, and fair competition, prompting calls for heightened regulatory oversight.

The regulatory landscape surrounding AI and competition is complex and evolving, shaped by diverse legal frameworks, market dynamics, and geopolitical factors. While some jurisdictions prioritize stringent antitrust enforcement and consumer protection, others emphasize innovation and market liberalization.

In the context of India, the approach to AI regulation within the competition framework warrants examination. Has there been a concerted effort to align with regulatory practices observed in developed nations? Should India focus on curbing anti-competitive behavior in the AI sector or adopt a more permissive approach, prioritizing innovation and economic growth?

Does the recent draft digital Competition Bill proposed by the Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) cover regulation of AI?

These questions underscore the paramount challenge for policymakers worldwide: striking a delicate balance between fostering innovation and preserving competition as AI continues to permeate various sectors of the economy.

Listen in to the BL Podcast with Dinoo Muthappa, Partner in the New Delhi office of TT&A (Talwar, Thakore & Associates), to get insights on ‘CCI in an AI era’.