This short article serves as an introduction to Thibault Schrepel’s latest working paper, “Decoding the AI Act: A Critical Guide for Competition Experts” (open-access)
Europe is experiencing a legislative frenzy. In recent months, European institutions have adopted or debated the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), the Digital Services Act (“DSA”), the Data Act, the Data Governance Act, and the Artificial Intelligence Act (“AI Act”). They run hundreds of pages, making the navigation of the new regulatory landscape a real craft.
Faced with regulatory complexity, experts in competition law may find comfort in the notion that possessing a great command of the DMA alongside familiarity with other relevant statutes is sufficient. It is not. A careful examination of the draft AI Act reveals the necessity for competition experts to acquire in-depth knowledge of the forthcoming rules on artificial intelligence. There are two reasons for this.
First, the AI Act will have significant implications for competition law. The current draft provides supervisory agencies with new procedural powers that will transfer to competition agencies. The AI Act is transforming computational antitrust, and could alter the approach courts and agencies may take towards analyzing several competition infringements.
Second, the AI Act is expected to have an impact on competitive dynamics. The scope of the AI Act is broad and flexible, indicating that its importance will continue to grow in the coming years. Article 2 explicitly states that the AI Act applies to all organizations involved in the introduction or deployment of AI systems within the Union, users of AI systems located within the Union, and providers and users of AI systems situated in third countries, provided that the generated output is used within the Union. Given the digitalization of the economy, one can expect a large number of companies to rely or offer products and services incorporating AI systems.
Against this background, the present article endeavors to provide antitrust experts with a practical yet critical guide of the AI Act. The article aims to bridge an existing gap in literature by merging a “law and economics” analysis with a “law and technology” approach to underscore crucial considerations of the impending AI Act for competition (law).