Antimonopoly in the Age of AI: A Conversation with Chris Hughes and Ganesh Sitaraman

10. 25. 2023

With widespread concern about the entrenched power of big tech companies, the need for an antimonopoly approach to AI has never been more urgent.

Economic Security Project (ESP) Co-founder Chris Hughes and Ganesh Sitaraman, director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator (VPA) tackled the pressing issue of “Antimonopoly in the Age of AI” on Wednesday evening. The conversation, attended by influential figures including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Ken Buck, explored strategies to prevent AI companies from “the Big Tech monopolies of the future.” Drawing on historical contexts, the dialogue emphasized the importance of preemptive measures in the face of rapidly advancing technology. Given the backdrop of Senator Schumer’s closed-door AI forum and an imminent AI executive order, this conversation was one many were hungry for.

The conversation highlighted crucial strategies for policymakers, including structural separation, which ensures no single corporation controls various stages of AI development, from chip manufacturing to app development. Nondiscrimination rules were emphasized to create a level playing field, preventing platforms from favoring one provider over others. Additionally, the concept of a public option for AI was introduced, promoting a publicly provided service that coexists with private options, ensuring access for scientific and research purposes. Both speakers emphasized the necessity of in-depth education and expertise among policymakers, emphasizing the importance of independent research to shape policies effectively.

“Now due in part to a lot of the work that Chris and ESP have been doing over a number of years, we actually have a lot of people who understand anti-monopoly as a set of tools, a set of ideas, and who are committed to seeing how that can be used in a pro-competition, pro-innovation kind of way.”

– Ganesh Sitaraman, director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator

Hughes and Sitaraman noted the evolution of public understanding regarding antimonopoly strategies and their potential to foster competition and innovation in the tech sphere. This event marked a significant stride toward proactive solutions, underlining the urgency of establishing comprehensive policies to curb the emergence of monopolies in the AI landscape.