What happens when an inevitable moving force collides with an immovable object? Either the force finds a way around the object or the object must adapt to contain the force. Over a century has passed since the federal government passed the Sherman Act, Clayton Act, and Federal Trade Commission Act. As times change, the three reigning laws have had very little reform. Federal antitrust laws remain immovable through the past century as civilization has made astounding advancements. The advancement of technology in business is inevitably becoming a large part of how corporations are securing advantages against their competition. Artificial intelligence and algorithms can make real-time business decisions while weighing thousands of factors. Self-learning artificial intelligence can make real-time decisions and learn from every mistake they have ever made. However, these "robo-sellers" call into question whether federal antitrust laws can properly regulate and punish a decision made by an inanimate object. Because artificial intelligence is so beneficial to businesses (and society), should antitrust laws worry about them? Real-time pricing decisions have become especially important in the aviation industry. Airlines are dependent on pricing algorithms to remain profitable-perhaps even at the expense of consumers. The airline industry's oligopoly market increases the risk of consumer harm. Airlines have a long-standing history with federal antitrust laws and the addition of pricing algorithms in their businesses has not appeared to decrease the momentum of antitrust litigation. In 2010, the financial market suffered the "Flash Crash." Algorithmic trade activity caused a chain reaction which led to the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and Dow Jones temporarily dropping. The financial industry panicked before prices eventually bounced back. A Flash Crash in the airline industry would be disastrous because of society's reliance on air transportation. Regulators need to learn from the financial market's Flash Crash mistake. In this Article, I argue that the airline industry is in a position where it can leverage its oligopoly market and pricing-algorithm technology in a manner that is harmful to consumers. I argue that it would be in the best interest of both airlines and the government to develop a new method of regulating the pricing algorithms that are used in the airline industry.
Algorithms Take Flight: Modern Pricing Algorithms' Effect On Antitrust Laws in the Aviation Industry,
Loy. Consumer L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/lclr/vol32/iss2/5