Who Is Liable for A.I. Creations?

Tools like ChatGPT could open a new line of questions around tech products and harmful content.
Who Is Liable for A.I. Creations?

“Ketatations” in the workplace. Some executives have embraced the anesthetic ketamine to improve professional performance or foster team bonding. “We put them on yoga mats in the room, we have a prescription from a doctor, and we have a 45-minute experience together,” Kaia Roman, who has led “ketatations” (ketamine + meditation) since the pandemic, told Bloomberg. Others prefer a more aggressive way to relax: Mark Zuckerberg recently completed “the Murph Challenge,” which consists of a mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and another mile run — all while wearing a 20-pound vest. He said he had done it in 40 minutes.

General inflation slowed for the 10th straight month in April, but many companies are still raising prices. Why? Some economists blame “greedflation,” “excuseflation” or a “price-price spiral,” whereby businesses use inflationary events like the pandemic, the Ukraine war and soaring energy prices as an excuse to make big price increases that more than cover their higher costs. The idea is that customers are more accepting of price increases when they know inflation is historically high, so companies are taking the opportunity to raise prices as much as they can. But not everyone is convinced, and some point to a host of other postpandemic economic trends as the real culprit. Here are two views.

Greedflation is to blame. Despite expectations that net profit margins would decline this year, they have increased at the average company in the S&P 500, according to data from FactSet.

What we see in many cases is that volumes are going down, while prices are going up and profit margins are going up,” said Isabella Weber, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who pioneered the theory.

She pointed to Starbucks as an extreme example of what she calls “sellers’ inflation.” In 2020, when the pandemic shut down demand for coffee shops, basic supply-and-demand laws suggested that Starbucks would lower the price of coffee to entice people back to its stores. Instead, Weber said, “prices actually were going up.”

Last month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said corporate profits had contributed to inflation in 2021, though their contribution fell in 2022, which is consistent with what happened in previous economic recoveries.

Greedflation is not to blame. Customers who benefited from stimulus checks, low interest rates, investment gains and other factors were in a good financial position coming out of the pandemic. Their willingness to spend more is what’s mostly fueling inflation, some analysts say.