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Survey finds widespread suspicion about artificial intelligence

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Survey finds widespread suspicion about artificial intelligence

Even as the world’s biggest tech companies scramble to deploy new artificial intelligence systems, a new survey from Bedford-based Mitre Corp. shows that people in the United States harbor deep suspicions about AI technology. The survey, conducted in cooperation with the Harris Poll, finds that only 48 percent believe AI is safe and secure. In addition, 78 percent are somewhat concerned that AI can be used for malicious intent, and only 37 percent are comfortable with government agencies using AI systems to make decisions that will affect them personally. AI systems are already used by governments throughout the United States, to help make decisions about granting bail, parole, and probation, and also about child custody. The survey also found overwhelming support for tighter government regulation of AI systems. — HIAWATHA BRAY



Two incidents of college bets being taken, in violation of state law

Encore Boston Harbor took bets on a Boston College women’s basketball game and Plainridge Park Casino accepted wagers on a Merrimack College men’s basketball game during the first week of legal sports betting, both in violation of the Massachusetts betting law that prohibits betting on in-state collegiate events in nearly all circumstances. A Gaming Commission lawyer briefed commissioners Thursday on the non-compliance events,” and Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein said she has asked the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau and legal staff to be prepared for a more in-depth discussion Tuesday. Chief Enforcement Counsel Heather Hall said that Encore took bets for about five hours on a BC women’s basketball game and that Plainridge took bets for about seven hours on a Merrimack men’s basketball game. Both incidents were reported to the commission by the operators themselves. “Due to a data input error by one of our vendors, we notified and self-reported a violation to the MGC. We regret that this mistake happened, take full responsibility, and have added several remedial steps to our compliance process to help prevent this from happening again,” Plainridge Park General Manager North Grounsell said. A spokesperson for Encore Boston Harbor did not immediately respond to a request for more information. When Massachusetts lawmakers legalized sports wagering in August, after months of debate and discussion, they specifically excluded betting on most events involving Massachusetts colleges and universities. During the build-up to approval of sports betting, Boston College led a charge among athletic directors and university presidents asking that Beacon Hill not allow any wagering on college sports. — STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE



PepsiCo revenue up on higher prices

PepsiCo reported better-than-expected sales in the fourth quarter after hiking prices for its drinks and snacks, but it warned that consumers may be less willing to accept those increases as this year progresses. Revenue rose more than 10 percent to $28 billion. Pepsi raised prices 16 percent in the October-December period — and 14 percent overall in 2022 — as it battled double-digit percentage cost increases for ingredients like cooking oil, potatoes, and seasonings. The price increases boosted results; Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker products booked double-digit revenue gains in North America even though sales volumes were down 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Rates up after four weeks of declines

The average long-term mortgage rate ticked up slightly this week after four weeks of declines, a possible sign of stability that could draw in home shoppers with spring buying season weeks away. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate inched up to 6.12 percent this week from 6.09 percent last week. The average rate a year ago was 3.69 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Gregory Megner, general manager and mixologist at Baltimore Spirits Company, pours two mixed drinks on Feb. 8, 2023, in Baltimore. Julio Cortez/Associated Press


Cocktails edge out beer at the bar

Producers of spirits have new bragging rights in the age-old whiskey vs. beer barroom debate. New figures show that spirits surpassed beer for US market-share supremacy, based on supplier revenues, a spirit industry group announced Thursday. The rise to the top for spirit-makers was fueled in part by the resurgent cocktail culture — including the growing popularity of ready-to-drink concoctions — as well as strong growth in the tequila and American whiskey segments, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Warnings about false posts largely ignored

The warnings that pop up when someone tries to share potentially false or misleading posts on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are ignored most of the time. TikTok’s users in the European Union continue to share posts after getting a pop-up notice marking the content as “unverified” in 71 percent of cases, according to the company’s report to the EU on Thursday. On average, Facebook’s warning stopped users from sharing just 25 percent of flagged posts, according to a similar filing from Meta Platforms Inc. On Instagram, the number increases to 38 percent. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Shell board sued over climate action

Shell faces a new front in climate litigation as lawyers, supported by a group of shareholders, sue the oil giant’s board in the United Kingdom. Two years after a Dutch court ordered Shell to slash its emissions, ClientEarth are filing the first lawsuit of its kind anywhere in the world against 11 members of the board, accusing them of failing to manage the company’s climate risks. The environmental law firm is bringing the suit under the UK’s Company Act against Shell’s board at London’s High Court, arguing that their failure to approve an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement amounts to a breach of a director’s legal duties. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Hens belonging to Casim Abbas, a mathematics professor at Michigan State University, roam the property of his small egg farm at his home in Williamston, Michigan, on February 8, 2023. Due to the ongoing egg shortage and the rise in prices due to avian flu, some people in the US are turning to local farms and backyard operations to purchase their eggs. MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP via Getty Images


Bird flu outbreak getting worse

The global bird flu outbreak is worsening, highlighting the challenge farmers and officials face in reining in the deadly virus. Just over 100 million poultry died or were culled due to avian influenza between the start of October and Feb. 3, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. That’s more than triple the number in the same period in the previous season, which ended with record losses from the disease. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Nissan profit soars as it begins revamped alliance with Renault

Nissan reported a 55 percent jump in its October-December profit Thursday, as the Japanese automaker gears up for a less bumpy journey with its French alliance partner Renault. Profit for the quarter at Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co. totaled 50.6 billion yen ($386 million), up from 32.7 billion yen in the previous year. Quarterly sales surged 29 percent to 2.8 trillion yen ($21 billion), as a shortage of computer chips that has bedeviled the world’s automakers gradually eased, according to Nissan. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Bank of America to roll cost of at-home charging stations into auto loans

Bank of America is offering consumers the option of financing at-home electric-vehicle chargers as part of their auto loans, anticipating demand for the products will increase as buyers turn away from gas-powered cars. The offer begins Wednesday. Fabien Thierry, head of consumer vehicle products, said the bank believes it is among the first firms to provide such a service for consumers. Charging stations can cost $200 to $2,000, the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said in a statement. — BLOOMBERG NEWS