The 15th CCP Annual Conference took place on 6-7 June 2019 in London on the topic of ‘Machine Learning and AI as Business Tools: Threat or blessing for competition?’. With around 150 delegates in attendance, the conference explored the potential threats and benefits that AI might imply for competition whilst looking at AI as a tool for enforcement and for academic research, and its potential role in improving how we monitor and evaluate markets. The programme offered insights from both social and computer sciences, bringing together a wide range of perspectives from leading academics, policy makers, regulators, consultancies and business discussing the themes of algorithmic pricing, targeted advertising and consumer protection, as well as the use of AI to enhance the position of the consumer.
The competition and consumer policy questions surrounding the increasing digitisation in economic activity are reaching a new height of policy focus as suggested by recent reports in the UK such as HM Treasury’s Digital Competition Expert Panel report as well as policy reviews in other jurisdictions, for example Australia, France, Germany and the EU. Whatever policy changes may occur in the future they should be informed by researchers, policymakers and business with companies in all sectors needing to stay informed to ensure that they are aware of the future risks and can comply with the law, and we hope that this conference contributed in some way to the emerging debate at this interface of social and computer sciences - ultimately helping us to better understand the potential blessings and threats that AI might imply for competition.
SPEAKERS INCLUDED: Paul Bernal, University of East Anglia; Oliver Bethell, Google; Sally Broughton Micova, University of East Anglia & CCP; Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates; Andrea Coscelli, Competition and Markets Authority; Sarah Court, Australian Competition and Consumer Organisation; Vincenzo Denicolò, University of Bologna; Elias Deutscher, University of East Anglia & CCP; Sean Ennis, University of East Anglia & CCP; Ariel Ezrachi, University of Oxford; Amelia Fletcher, University of East Anglia & CCP; Michal Gal, University of Haifa, Israel; Imran Gulamhuseinwala OBE, Open Banking Implementation Entity; Stefan Hunt, Competition and Markets Authority; Timo Klein, University of Amsterdam; Jonathan Kewley, Clifford Chance; Kai-Uwe Kühn, University of East Anglia & CCP; Michael Kummer, University of East Anglia & CCP; Wynne Lam, University of East Anglia & CCP; Gregor Langus, Compass Lexecon; Philip Marsden, Bank of England; Franco Mariuzzo, University of East Anglia & CCP; Derek McAuley, University of Nottingham; Danilo Montesi, University of Bologna; Peter Ormosi, University of East Anglia & CCP; Paolo Palmigiano, Association of In-House Competition Lawyers; Anne Riley, Independent Antitrust Compliance Consultant; Gabriele Rovigatti, Bank of Italy; Thomas Sharpe QC, One Essex Court; Howard Shelanski, Georgetown University Law Centre; Tommaso Valletti, European Commission; Peter Wells, Open Data Institute
Sebastian Wismer, Bundeskartellamt
A full review of the conference can be found on our Competition Policy blog.
Programme, asbtracts and speaker biographies can be found in the full Conference Brochure.
SESSION 1: ALGORITHMS, AI & CARTEL RISKS [Chair: Michal Gal]
Ariel Ezrachi, University of Oxford: 'Sustainable and Unchallenged Algorithmic Tacit Collusion'
Vincenzo Denicolò, University of Bologna: 'Artifical Intelligence, Algorithmic Pricing and Collusion'
Kai-Uwe Kühn, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Algorithmic Price Setting: Does the threat of collusion increase?'
Timo Klein, Tinbergen Institute, University of Amsterdam: 'Autonomous Algorithmic Collusion: Q-Learning under sequential competition'
SESSION 2: ALGORITHMIC PERSONALISATION [Chair: Bruce Lyons]
Michal Gal, University of Haifa Israel: 'Personalisation of Prices, Products and Laws' The Chilling Effect of Governance-by-Data on Innovation
Amelia Fletcher, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Ranking Rankings: Or how to protect consumers from being missled when searching online'
Wynne Lam, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Competitive Imperfect Price Discrimination and Market Power'
SESSION 3: PRIVACY & COMPETITION [Chair: Morten Hviid]
Paul Bernal, UEA Law School: 'Underestimating the Value of Privacy'
Gregor Langus, Compass Lexecon: 'Privacy, Targeted Advertising and Competition Policy'
Elias Deutscher, UEA Law School & Centre for Competition Policy: 'How to Integrate Privacy Concerns into Merger Control?' Read Elias' paper here.
SESSION 4: AI FOR ENFORCEMENT, MONITORING & EVALUATION [Chair: Joe Perkins]
Stefan Hunt, Competition and Markets Authority: 'Advanced Analytics for Agencies and Authorities: What’s changed and what’s changing?'
Peter Ormosi, Norwich Business School & Centre for Competition Policy: 'Machine Learning in Social Science Research'
SESSION 5: APPS [Chair: Sally Broughton Micova]
Michael Kummer, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Market Concentration and Privacy in Online Markets: Evidence from the Mobile App Industry'
Franco Mariuzzo, School of Economics & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA: 'Platform Competition in the Table PC Market: The role of application quality'
Tommaso Valletti European Commission: 'Competition Policy in a Digital Era: A view from Europe'
SESSION 6: PANEL - AI IN PRACTICE [Chair: Amelia Fletcher]
Imran Gulamhuseinwala Open Banking Implementation Entity
SESSION 7: ONLINE ADVERTISING [Chair: David Currie]
Gabriele Rovigatti, Bank of Italy: 'From Mad Men to Maths Men: Concentration and buyer power in online advertising'
Tommaso Valletti, European Commission: 'Attention Oligopoly'
Sally Broughton Micova, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, & Centre for Competition Policy, UEA, and CERRE Research Fellow: 'The Playing Field for Relationships and Data'
SESSION 8: PANEL - HOW TO UNLOCK DIGITAL COMPETITION [Chair: Sean Ennis]
Cristina Caffarra, Charles River Associates
Andrea Coscelli, Competition & Markets Authority
Sarah Court, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Philip Marsden, Bank of England, Enforcement Division
Tommaso Valletti, European Commission
SESSION 9: PANEL - REGULATORY COMPLIANCE OVER AI [Chair: Andreas Stephan]
Jonathan Kewley, Clifford Chance
Paolo Palmigiano, Association of In-House Competition Lawyers (ICLA)
Anne Riley, Independent Antitrust Compliance Consultant
Thomas Sharpe QC, One Essex Court