The UK is to review the artificial intelligence (AI) market to make sure its benefits are available for everyone and that no single firm will dominate.

The investigation by the competition watchdog will look at the software behind chatbots like ChatGPT.

The BBC says the industry is facing scrutiny over the pace at which it is developing technology to mimic human behaviour.

AI's rapid take-up has sparked fears about job losses, privacy and the potential to circulate misleading information.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority, said so-called foundation models such as the software behind ChatGPT had the potential to "transform the way businesses compete as well as drive substantial economic growth".

But she added that it was crucial that the potential benefits were "readily accessible to UK businesses and consumers while people remain protected from issues like false or misleading information".

Growing dangers

The move comes only days after Geoffrey Hinton - a man widely seen as the godfather of artificial intelligence - quit his job, warning about the growing dangers from developments in the field, which enables technology to create images or text that are barely distinguishable from the work of humans.

Sir Martin Sorrell, founder of the advertising companies WPP and S4, told the BBC that AI would be an "industrial revolution" and "another major shift in technology rivalling, maybe even more significant than, the iPhone and similar developments".

The digital advertising industry is already seeing the impact, he added, with firms using AI to "hyper personalise" ads for consumers.

"Obviously that raises all sorts of issues around regulation as well," said Sir Martin.

He added that currently two companies dominate the AI space - Microsoft, which owns ChatGPT, and Google which has launched a rival chatbot called Bard.

Sir Martin said the CMA had shown its willingness to stop tech firms having too much power, for example by blocking Microsoft's planned takeover of UK gaming giant Activision Blizzard last week which sparked a furious reaction from the tech giant.

Call for tougher regulation

The US competition watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission, has also called for tougher regulation of AI.

"The UK's regulator is saying bigger is bad," Sir Martin said. "But the cost of developing AI technologies is so huge and thereby hangs the dilemma...if you restrict it you will restrict progress."

Some have warned that tools such as Bard and ChatGPT - which can write essays, do computer coding and even have conversations in a human-like way - could end up displacing hundreds of millions of jobs.

Mr Hinton told the BBC that some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary", and that they could soon overtake the level of information that a human brain holds.

"Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be."

In March, key figures in artificial intelligence called for powerful AI systems to halted for at least six months amid concerns about the threats they posed.

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