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Authors' lawsuit against OpenAI could 'fundamentally reshape' artificial intelligence, according to experts

Jason Marz/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A group of prominent authors joined a proposed class action lawsuit filed against OpenAI over allegations that products like ChatGPT make illegal use of their copyrighted work, setting off a high-profile legal clash.

While the lawsuit follows a series of similar legal challenges, it features a roster of well-known plaintiffs including authors George R.R. Martin and Jodi Picoult. The case targets a company at the center of a wave of artificial intelligence-driven programs that can instantaneously suggest recipes, compose poems and muse over existentialism.

"At the heart of these algorithms is systemic theft on a massive scale," the lawsuit claims.

The case could fundamentally shape the direction and capabilities of generative AI, either imposing a new set of limits on a mechanism at the core of the technology or cementing an expansive approach to online material that has fueled the rise of products currently offered, legal analysts told ABC News.

"If anyone is going to win on the straight-up copyright infringement claims against OpenAI, this is probably the lawsuit that has the best chance of it," James Grimmelmann, professor of digital and information law at Cornell University Law School, told ABC News.

Grimmelmann described the legal filing as a "well-drafted complaint" that presents compelling arguments over copyright infringement while avoiding murkier concerns over trademark issues or privacy.

In a statement to ABC News, an OpenAI spokesperson said the company has held constructive discussions in general with creators and remains confident its technology will prove beneficial to them.

"Creative professionals around the world use ChatGPT as a part of their creative process. We respect the rights of writers and authors, and believe they should benefit from AI technology," the spokesperson said.

"We're having productive conversations with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild, and have been working cooperatively to understand and discuss their concerns about AI. We're optimistic we will continue to find mutually beneficial ways to work together to help people utilize new technology in a rich content ecosystem," the spokesperson said.

Here's what to know about the class action lawsuit brought by authors against OpenAI, and what it may mean for the future of artificial intelligence.

What are the authors claiming in the lawsuit?

Generative AI programs, such as ChatGPT, respond to user prompts through an algorithm that selects words based on lessons learned from scanning billions of pieces of text across the internet.

The primary argument made in the lawsuit brought by the authors, in turn, centers on the alleged illegal use of copyrighted material for the training of the AI models, Pamela Samuelson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley Law School who specializes in the overlap between technology and copyright, told ABC News.

"The big claim is that the ingestion of works of authorship as training data is itself a reproduction of the works," Samuelson said.

Lacking permission to use the copyrighted work, OpenAI scans and makes use of the writing, which helps foster work that publishers would otherwise pay authors to create, the lawsuit alleges.

Questions remain over the exact set of data that OpenAI uses to train its products, including whether and to what extent the company draws on copyrighted material, Brian Buckmire, an ABC News legal contributor and former public defender with the Legal Aid Society, told ABC News.

“We know how copyright infringements operate but we don’t know how these data sets work. We don’t even have the ability to look under the hood to see what type of information they are and are not using,” Buckmire said. “This lawsuit could open the pandora’s box, so to speak, to give light to what’s going on."

OpenAI did not respond to ABC News' request for comment about the datasets.

A similar lawsuit brought against OpenAI by comedian and actress Sarah Silverman and other authors, in July, alleged that the company scanned her 2010 memoir "The Bedwetter" without her permission. Silverman filed a similar suit over an AI product released by Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

In response to the claim alleging the illegal use of copyrighted material, OpenAI may argue that any alleged copying of protected works falls within an exception to copyright protection known as "fair use," which allows for the limited reproduction of text for uses like commentary or criticism, Grimmelmann said.

In this vein, Grimmelmann added, OpenAI may defend its alleged use of authors' work as part of an effort to create separate, original writing rather than to regurgitate identical text.

"Fair use is famously open-ended," Grimmelmann said.

Last week, Meta and OpenAI each filed separate motions to dismiss the cases brought by Silverman. Both filings citied "fair use" in defense of company conduct.

Arguing in defense of Meta, attorneys argued that "fair use" protections apply to the company's use of material for the training of its AI product, Llama.

"Copyright law does not protect facts or the syntactical, structural, and linguistic information that may have been extracted from books like Plaintiffs’ during training," the attorneys said. "Use of texts to train Llama to statistically model language and generate original expression is transformative by nature and quintessential fair use."

Similarly, attorneys arguing on behalf of OpenAI said that AI-driven chatbots such as ChatGPT, also known as large language models, amount to a novel technological use of copyrighted material that does not violate the law.

"At the heart of Plaintiffs’ Complaints are copyright claims," attorneys for OpenAI said. "Those claims, however, misconceive the scope of copyright, failing to take into account the limitations and exceptions (including fair use) that properly leave room for innovations like the large language models now at the forefront of artificial intelligence."

What are the potential implications of the lawsuit?

The implications of the lawsuit will depend on how broadly the court chooses to interpret the challenge brought by the authors, as well as the outcomes of other similar cases, Samuelson and Grimmelmann said.

However, the impact of this case could also hold profound implications for the language-training mechanism on which text bots across the industry rely, they added.

"If the plaintiffs' claims and their arguments get upheld in full generality then it really does fundamentally reshape the industry," Grimmelmann said. "If the plaintiffs in this case are right and they get everything they want, then you can't just scrape the entire web, use all of the existing big data sets and train a model."

The decision could force AI companies to gain permission from authors and publishers for the use of their work, giving way to potential negotiations over licensing deals between the two sides, Grimmelmann said.

If OpenAI prevails, on the other hand, it could pave the way for private individuals or firms to widely scan the internet and establish AI models based on the results, Grimmelmann added.

"If the AI companies win really broadly and all of the claims get dismissed, it basically means anybody can create an AI model by training it on almost any data they can find," Grimmelmann said.

The decision could shape the information marketplace, Grimmelmann added.

"This is the biggest challenge to the assumptions that the copyright system makes since the rise of the internet or maybe the rise of mass media," he said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hollywood writers reached a tentative deal to end strike. What happens next?

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(LOS ANGELES) -- The Writers Guild of America reached a tentative deal with the major film and TV studios on Sunday, effectively ending a strike that had lasted 146 days.

Though details of the agreement remain scant, the negotiating committee for the writers' union lauded the tentative contract as "exceptional," promising "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."

The tentative agreement was confirmed by The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, the group negotiating on behalf of the studios. Disney, one of the studios represented by AMPTP, is the parent company of ABC News.

Despite the major breakthrough, key hurdles stand in the way of a return to normal business for Hollywood. The tentative deal must gain a series of union approvals before it takes effect and an ongoing actors' strike could keep Hollywood at a standstill for weeks or even months.

Here's what happens next following the tentative agreement between the writers and studios:

Top boards at the union are set to vote on approval of the tentative agreement on Tuesday. If the deal makes it past this step, the contract will be put to a ratification vote among roughly 11,000 Hollywood writers who belong to the union.

The contract will only take effect if it gains majority support from the union members. If the members vote to reject the contract, the two sides will have to return to the bargaining table.

For now, the union is asking writers to stay off the picket lines but continue to withhold their work.

If the senior boards approve the tentative agreement on Tuesday, they may also enact a resolution that allows union members to go back to work as the process for a ratification vote unfolds, the negotiating committee said on Sunday.

"This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote but would not affect the membership's right to make a final determination on contract approval," the negotiating committee said.

In turn, late-night TV shows and other talk shows could return to air within days, even before the writers vote to finalize the deal struck on Sunday.

The actors' strike

The majority of output from Hollywood is made up of TV shows and movies that require actors. Since July, a union representing roughly 160,000 actors has been out on strike as they seek a new contract of their own, bringing Tinsel town to a halt.

The end of the writers' strike could hasten a resolution for the actors, since both sets of workers share similar issues of concern over artificial intelligence and residual payments.

But the two professions also hold different demands in some key areas. The actors, for instance, have faced strong opposition from the studios over a demand that they receive 2% of the total revenue generated by streaming shows.

In the meantime, a prolonged work stoppage among the actors could delay the return to work for writers. In a message to union members announcing the agreement on Sunday, the WGA encouraged writers to join actors on their picket lines.


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

James Bond isn't the only one who wants to drive an Aston Martin

Aston Martin

(NEW YORK) -- For decades, the fictional spy James Bond helped boost sales of Aston Martin's beautifully designed sports cars and grand tourers.

Now, the 110-year-old British marque has found a new star to attract customers: Fernando Alonso.

The two-time world Formula One champion has racked up six podium finishes so far in 2023, putting Aston Martin in fourth place in the Constructor standings. Last year, the 42-year-old driver signed a multi-year contract with Aston Martin, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll has invested millions of his own money to shore up Aston Martin, which has languished compared to rivals Porsche and Ferrari. He brought Aston Martin back to Formula 1 after a 61-year absence, introduced a new lineup of vehicles and is in the process of opening glitzy flagship stores around the globe.

Stroll, who also owns the F1 team, acknowledged in a press release that Alonso's strong finishes have a "trickle-down effect" on sales. He told investors that the F1 team would become a "global showcase for the brand’s engineering and performance capabilities," adding that competing in the series has been "transformative for the brand and our product image."

The strategy seems to be scoring points on and off the grid. Ninety-five percent of Aston's U.S. customers say the company's presence in F1 has "made them more likely to consider the brand," according to Aston's latest annual report. Moreover, 21% of customers hosted at Aston's F1 Paddock Club in 2022 purchased an Aston Martin and 60% of luxury car buyers "strongly agree" they are more likely to buy an Aston because of the involvement in Formula 1.

"Aston has struggled for decades. The cars have been lackluster. What Stroll is trying to do is reset the brand in a much more positive way," Larry Webster, senior vice president of media at Hagerty, told ABC News. "Fernando is a great driver and a huge celebrity. It's almost like Brad Pitt driving an F1 car."

Alonso and teammate Lance Stroll, Lawrence's son, are front and center of the company's advertising and marketing campaigns, unofficial ambassadors for their brand. They're photographed at swanky parties and appear in glossy Aston photo shoots. The drivers are filmed as they test the limits of Aston's new DB12 on a racetrack. The men make the brand look fun, exciting and alluring. Why buy a Ferrari when you can have an Aston?

Fernando and Lance "actively want to jump in the product. It's been a really nice thing to see," Miles Nurnberger, Aston's design director, told ABC News. "They actively care and are interested in where the brand is going."

Nurnberger said he witnessed firsthand how the Formula 1 team has revived interest in the company at the Miami Grand Prix in May.

"I could see the engagement from the American fans who I was speaking to," he said. "I don't think we've lost the James Bond connection, but obviously there's a new side to the company with Formula 1 ... I do feel like there's fresh blood coming into the brand."

The company sold 6,412 cars last year including 3,200 units of the DBX SUV, Aston's bestselling model. This summer Aston started deliveries of its next generation DB12 "Super Tourer," a sporty GT hat competes with the Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari Roma. The DB12 Volante convertible debuted in August.

"We want to be the world's most desirable ultra-luxury British performance brand," said Nurnberger. "The DB12 goes back to our roots. It's more assertive, more commanding and we've increased the power. GTs are highly emotional products and there is a huge demand for that in people's lives."

Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power, said the DB12 represents a major improvement from the DB11 model it replaces.

"It's a night and day advancement for Aston. It's really well done," he told ABC News. "DB12 customers are not giving up much to Ferrari."

Jominy agrees that podium finishes -- and superlative sports cars like the DB12 -- will positively impact the company's bottom line.

"Having one of the best drivers in Formula 1 and being involved in the series will help Aston," he said.

McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo also leverage their Formula 1 drivers to pump sales of their road cars. Many drivers have become household names in the U.S. as the sport grows and drivers become more accessible to fans at races and on TV, especially in the Netflix docuseries "Drive to Survive."

"Formula 1 has a perception of glamour and exclusivity," said Webster. "Ferrari unquestionably leans on its F1 heritage. Audi is now joining F1. It's the most exclusive series in the world."

Simon Middleton, a partner and analyst at McKinsey & Company, said the 1950s NASCAR catchphrase "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" also applies to Formula 1. He pointed to Ferrari, a brand heralded for its racing pedigree.

"Ferrari's customer-facing driver programs are tightly linked to motorsport offerings," he told ABC News. "It is difficult to imagine [Ferrari's] road car sales existing independently of the F1 team."

He said Aston cleverly took advantage of its F1 podium streak to showcase a limited edition Vantage that was modeled on the sport's safety car. Nearly 400 Vantage F1 edition cars were bought as a result of customers seeing the vehicle in races, according to Lawrence Stroll.

"The idea of 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday' has never been more true," Stroll told The New York Times.

Aston owners will be among the throngs of fans at the F1 races in Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas later this fall, Webster said.

"Aston customers care about Formula 1. A successful team would do great things and sell more cars for the company," he said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden says he will join picket line as UAW strike expands


(DETROIT) -- President Joe Biden said he will join the picket line, as a labor strike against the three largest motor vehicle manufacturers in the United States expanded on Friday.

United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain announced 38 new strike locations targeting Stellantis and General Motors., saying all parts distribution locations for Stellantis and GM at cities across 20 states will now join the strike.

Ford is coming closer to a deal with the UAW, unlike GM and Stellantis, according to Fain. "But to be clear, we are not done negotiating with Ford yet," he said Friday. No Ford plants were affected by Fain's announcement Friday.

UAW had already been striking at three plants since Sept. 15. Approximately 5,625 additional UAW members will strike at noon Friday, bringing the overall total to more than 18,000.

He had warned earlier this week that the deadline for "serious progress" to be made in the union's talks with GM, Ford and Stellantis -- often called the "big three" -- was Friday at noon.

"That will mark more than a week since our first members walked out. And that will mark more than a week of the 'big three' failing to make progress in negotiations toward reaching a deal that does right by our members," Fain said in a video message posted on social media on Monday evening. "Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the 'big three.' We're not waiting around, and we're not messing around."

Biden said he would travel to Michigan on Tuesday and join the picket line "and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create."

The announcement came hours after Fain invited Biden to join the picket line.

"We invite and encourage everyone who supports our cause to join us on the picket line. From our friends and families all the way up to the president of the United States, we invite you to join us in our fight," Fain said. "The way you can help is to build our movement and show the companies that the public stands with us, and stands with our elected national negotiators.

The UAW, which represents nearly 150,000 American autoworkers, launched a strike against GM, Ford and Stellantis on Sept. 15. Almost 13,000 workers walked out of three auto plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio that day. The union is utilizing a "stand-up" strike method to target specific plants and add to the list if a deal isn't reached.

The UAW held talks with Ford on Sept. 16, GM on Sept. 17 and Stellantis on Sept. 18, a union source told ABC News. The conversations with Ford were "reasonably productive," the source said.

"Ford is working diligently with the UAW to reach a deal that rewards our workforce and enables Ford to invest in a vibrant and growing future," Ford said in a statement Friday. "Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues. In the end, the issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success."

Stellantis said on Friday that it made a "very competitive offer" to the union on Thursday but "we still have not received a response." The offer included current full-time hourly employees earning between $80,000 and $96,000 annually by the end of the contract, the company said.

"[We] question whether the union's leadership has ever had an interest in reaching an agreement in a timely manner," Stellantis said in a statement. "They seem more concerned about pursuing their own political agendas than negotiating in the best interests of our employees and the sustainability of our U.S. operations given the market's fierce competition."

Sticking points in negotiations were wage increases and the length of the workweek. The union is demanding a 46% pay increase combined over the four-year duration of a new contract, as well as a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay. So far, all three of the Detroit-based companies have each put forward proposals that offered workers a 20% pay increase over the life of the agreement but preserved a 40-hour workweek.

After the unprecedented strike began, Ford laid off 600 workers who assemble cars at a plant in Michigan on Sept. 15. Workers in the paint department at a nearby plant are out on strike, leaving the assembly workers without adequate parts since the parts require paint before they can be put together into cars, a company spokesperson told ABC News.

Biden has deployed acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House senior adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit to offer their support for the parties in reaching an agreement.

Economists previously told ABC News that a strike could result in billions of dollars in losses, disruption to the supply chain and other financial consequences.

ABC News' Fritz Farrow, Jolie Lash and Max Zahn contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Commerce Department finalizes rule on national security 'guardrails' for CHIPS funding

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Commerce Department finalized the national security "guardrails" in which recipients who receive CHIPS and Science Act funding must abide by.

The CHIPS and Science Act was passed last year to address the manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States and the Commerce Department is responsible for dolling out billions of dollars to those who apply for the federal funding.

The rule filed on Friday explicitly states that companies who receive CHIPS money cannot expand semiconductor manufacturing in "countries of concern."

"The statute prohibits the material expansion of semiconductor manufacturing capacity for leading-edge and advanced facilities in foreign countries of concern for 10 years from the date of award," according to a press release from the Department of Commerce.

Companies that receive money and are already operating in "countries of concern" may not expand in that country for at least 10 years according to the rule.

The rule also classifies semiconductors as "critical" to national security.

"While the statute allows companies to expand production of legacy chips in foreign countries of concern in limited circumstances, today's rule classifies a list of semiconductors as critical to national security, thereby subjecting them to tighter restrictions," the release says.

"This designation covers chips that have unique properties that are critical to U.S. national security needs, including current-generation and mature-node chips used for quantum computing, in radiation-intensive environments, and for other specialized military capabilities."

The list of those CHIPS were done in consultation with the Department of Defense and Intelligence community.

Companies that receive money and violate the rule will be subject to having the federal funding pulled, according to the Commerce Department.

"One of the Biden-Harris Administration's top priorities – made possible by the CHIPS and Science Act – is to expand the technological leadership of the U.S. and our allies and partners. These guardrails will protect our national security and help the United States stay ahead for decades to come," said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

"CHIPS for America is fundamentally a national security initiative and these guardrails will help ensure companies receiving U.S. Government funds do not undermine our national security as we continue to coordinate with our allies and partners to strengthen global supply chains and enhance our collective security" Raimondo continued.

The Commerce Department received more than 500 statements of interest for CHIPS projects across 42 states, according to a Commerce Department official.

The Department has also received 100 pre-applications and full applications, according to a DOC official.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Rupert Murdoch stepping down as chairman from Fox, News Corp.

Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Rupert Murdoch is stepping down as chairman of Fox Corporation and News Corp., Fox has announced.

His son, Lachlan Murdoch, will become the chair of News Corp. and continue as executive chair and chief executive officer of Fox Corporation.

"On behalf of the FOX and News Corp boards of directors, leadership teams, and all the shareholders who have benefited from his hard work, I congratulate my father on his remarkable 70-year career," Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement on Thursday.

"We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves to the companies he founded and countless people he has impacted," the statement added.

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born media magnate, worked in the industry for nearly seven decades, according to the statement from News Corp. The global company owns an array of media properties, including The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and HarperCollins Publishers.

He will be appointed chairman emeritus when the move is made official in November.

Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, has faced a series of public controversies in recent months.

In April, Fox News agreed to pay $787.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems alleging defamation centered on the broadcaster's coverage of the 2020 election.

Days later, Fox News parted ways with host Tucker Carlson, who at the time was the nation's most-watched prime-time cable news host.

In deposition for the trial, in January, Murdoch had rejected the baseless theories about the 2020 election being stolen that hosts had shared on air. "I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight," he said.

Murdoch, who inherited an Adelaide, Australia-based local newspaper from his father in 1952, established that country’s first national newspaper roughly a decade later, according to the Fox Corporation.

He went on to acquire the United Kingdom-based News of the World and The Sun in the late 1960s, and soon after expanded his media empire to the U.S. with acquisitions of the New York Post, New York Magazine and The Village Voice.

In 1985, he made a major investment in film and television with the purchase of 21st Century Fox as well as a host of regional TV stations in the U.S. The following year, the Fox Television Group was created, and a decade later the company launched Fox News, the Fox Corporation said.

Fox Corporation became a publicly traded company in 2019. The move followed the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney, the parent company of ABC News, the same year.


Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Exclusive: Oscar Mayer reintroduces Wienermobile to the road

Oscar Mayer

(NEW YORK) -- Nostalgia wins in the court of cars and cold cuts.

After the iconic hot dog on wheels for Oscar Mayer was rebranded as the Frankmobile earlier this summer -- specifically to celebrate its all-beef frankfurter recipe -- the American food manufacturer is reverting back to its original namesake glory: the Wienermobile.

Oscar Mayer announced exclusively with ABC News' Good Morning America on Wednesday that the 27-foot-long hot dog-shaped vehicle will resume road operations under its original designation that first debuted on the streets of Chicago in 1936 and emphasized the unique automobile brings with it, "a lot of connection" because "everybody loves the Wienermobile."

"We had never changed the name of the Wienermobile before and to celebrate our new 100% beef franks we were all on board in doing that, but we missed the name internally and we're excited to bring it back," Edwin Roland, who sits at "Wienermobile headquarters" outside of Madison, Wisconsin, told GMA. "It didn't cut the mustard -- it's the same mission but it's comin' back to Wienermobile."

Roland has been behind the wheel of Kraft Heinz's Wienerbmobile program for 20 years and said a day in the life as a hot-dogger -- the drivers and ambassadors he trains for the open road -- can be "very different" as the six drivers at the helm of half a dozen dog mobiles span fairs, festivals and parades at over 1,200 events per year "bringing the big dog across the country."

"The words I hear most often are 'I remember when' -- it just brings back a lot of nostalgia," Roland said of the clientele climbing up the silver steps of the former Frankmobile.

"The mission never changed," he emphasized. "Our team was out there just bring smiles to everybody."

Kelsey Rice, the associate director for Oscar Mayer, hailed it as a "franktastic summer," but admitted, "like many of you, we miss our original icon -- the Wienermobile."

In his decades overseeing the fleet of frankfurters, Roland said his favorite moment as part of the program -- which has spanned the globe and come into close quarters with celebrities -- was visiting a remote town in Whittier, Alaska.

"It was such a fun experience to see this brightly colored hot dog on wheels driving into this remote location that's full of snow -- the people loved it. It was such a neat experience," Roland told GMA.

But in all of Roland's experience, whether at the wheel or training the next generation of hot dog drivers set to become consumer-facing frontpersons for the brand, he said the "entire mission is to bring joy to people."

"It's just to spark smiles and to go out there and have fun," he said. "You're creating new and positive 'I remember whens,' and that's what it's all about."

The fleet of hot-doggers has included Harvard graduates to marketing mavens and advertising authorities alike. Roland said the drivers who apply and train for the cross-country gig have come from a wide-ranging pool of accomplished candidates looking to add their stories to the brand's continually evolving lineage.

While Roland considers himself more of a tried and true fan of Oscar Mayer's hardwood smoked bacon for breakfast and BLT sandwiches, he remained steadfast in his adoration of "the provocateur of joy" that has evolved as the Wienermobile over the years.

"It's neat to see how this old-school idea can continue to morph and be successful no matter what the environment is," he said, nodding to the graduation from the use of an atlas to navigation apps.

"We'll be looking for our next team of hot-doggers, open casting call, coming January -- it's a one-year assignment," Roland added, noting that "statistically it's easier to get into an Ivy League school than it is to be a hot-dogger."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Detroit Auto Show underway amid historic UAW strike

Mike Dobuski/ABC News

(DETROIT) -- The Detroit Auto Show is underway this week, against the backdrop of an historic strike effort from unionized auto workers.

Almost every year since 1907, Detroit has played host to a trade show that attracts executives, celebrities, politicians, journalists, and everyday enthusiasts from around the car world, all of whom descend on the city’s Huntington Place convention center to check out the latest the automotive industry has to offer. At this year’s show, Ford pulled the wraps off an updated F-150 pickup truck, and GMC showed off a new Acadia SUV.

Last year, Ford’s latest Mustang made its debut at the show, and President Biden was one of several high-profile attendees.

While other cities regularly host big auto shows, experts say Detroit has long been the most influential in the American car industry.

“It was the biggest, it had the most people, it had just the most excitement,” Jessica Caldwell, Director of Insights at Edmunds, says of past Detroit Auto Shows.

But this year, the event is confronting a UAW strike that has sent shockwaves through the automotive industry.

For the first time in its history, union auto workers are striking all “Big Three” American automakers simultaneously. The strike could see up to 146,000 unionized auto workers walk off the job at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. And for a show that’s estimated to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the local economy, it comes at a critical moment.

Caldwell says the strike will likely have an impact on attendance at the 2023 Detroit Auto Show, especially considering the city’s close ties to the auto industry.

“Here in Detroit, [most people] know the intricacies of the auto industry and realize what some of the issues are with these workers - perhaps even know someone in the auto industry themselves.”

UAW workers are striking for increased wages and the restoration of certain benefits. They argue their proposals are fair given the profits Big Three automakers have seen in recent years, and are proportional to the wage and benefit increases the executives at their respective companies have seen. The automakers have argued they need that money to aid the transition to electric vehicles, and to be competitive against carmakers that don't have unionized workforces.

“Strikes are generally not happy events and auto shows are happy events.” says Caldwell, “So it is kind of a push-pull here.”

The UAW strike isn’t the only challenge the Detroit Auto Show is facing.

“The Detroit Auto Show is still reeling and trying to recover from the pandemic,” says Mike Martinez, a reporter with Automotive News.

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel the 2020 and 2021 iterations of the show, the event returned in 2022 with a new, smaller footprint that added outdoor activities. That shows failed to attract crowds seen at earlier Detroit Auto Shows. Thad Szott, the President of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, estimated that the 2022 show drew in between 300,000 and 500,000 attendees. That’s a far cry from the nearly 775,000 people it attracted in 2019.

Regardless, the updated format is in place again for 2023. Ford, this year, unveiled the latest F-150 outdoors at the nearby Hart Plaza. The event featured live music, food trucks, and a lineup of antique Ford pickup trucks.

“It's smaller scale than it used to be,” says Martinez. “So it's still trying to gain some publicity and draw in attendees, draw in media.”

Jessica Caldwell says the show’s smaller stature was evident even during the media preview days, which made the event feel “almost like a regional show.”

“We're really only seeing news from the Detroit automakers: from Ford, from General Motors, from Stellantis,” says Caldwell.

“Normally you would see news from, you know, maybe a Honda or a Hyundai … we’re not seeing that this year,” says Caldwell.

In addition to Ford’s updated F-150 and GMC’s new Acadia, Cadillac unveiled a facelifted CT5 sedan, and Jeep similarly refreshed its Gladiator pickup. Most of the announcements are considered subtle updates to existing products. No foreign automakers debuted new vehicles at the show.

In an emailed statement, Rod Alberts, the Executive Director of the Detroit Auto Show, told ABC News his organization is "invested in and wholeheartedly support[s] the auto industry."

"At the Detroit Auto Show, we’re focused on public days and creating an amazing and unique show experience for attendees that demonstrates our unwavering commitment to Detroit and our love of cars," Alberts says.

General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis declined to comment on the strike's impact on the Detroit Auto Show.

Caldwell says the Detroit Auto Show’s shrinking role is part of a larger trend in the car industry, which has seen automakers scale back appearances at trade shows in favor of highly-produced events that are live streamed online.

“All auto shows have changed to be much quieter affairs,” says Caldwell. “Automakers … they do their big reveals in their own spaces, on their own time. A lot of times over social media, so that has really changed things.”

Ford, in 2020, unveiled the new Bronco online. Nissan hosted a similar online event for the launch of the latest “Z” sports car the following year.

Even still, some UAW members are finding the Detroit Auto Show beneficial to their cause, even at its reduced scale.

"We're getting visibility because of the auto show," says Kenneth Bland, a BlueCross BlueShield employee who is represented by the UAW and also on strike in Detroit.

"I like autos, I love cars," he says.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Fed leaves interest rates unchanged amid optimism US can avert recession

Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Wednesday, pausing an aggressive inflation fight amid growing optimism that the United States can achieve normal price levels without falling into a recession.

The central bank expects to raise rates one more time this year, according to projections included alongside a statement on Wednesday from the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, the Fed's decision-making body on interest rates. Interest rates will begin to come down next year, the projections said.

The projections also reflected a sunnier outlook for U.S. economic performance, setting expectations for economic growth next year at 2.1%. In June, the FOMC had predicted that the economy would grow just 1% in 2024.

Meanwhile, inflation stands well below its peak last year of over 9%, but remains more than a percentage point higher than the Federal Reserve's target rate.

"Given how far we have come, we’re in a position to proceed carefully as we assess the incoming data and the evolving outlook and risks," Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

Even so, the Fed remains far from achieving its target inflation rate of 2%, Powell added. "The process of getting inflation sustainably down to 2% has a long way to go," Powell said.

The decision to hold interest rates steady affords policymakers time to weigh their next move as a rapid series of previous rate hikes takes full effect.

"The Fed wants to get more information to calibrate when exactly they want to stop raising rates," William English, a professor of finance at Yale University and a former Fed official, told ABC News. "There's a lot of uncertainty."

The Fed achieved the cooldown with its most aggressive set of rate hikes in more than two decades, making borrowing costs more expensive for everything from homes to boats in an effort to choke off demand and ease price hikes.

Still, resilient economic performance has elicited a surge of optimism about the possibility that the U.S. can reduce inflation without falling into a recession.

"Economic activity has been stronger than we expected -- stronger than just about anybody expected," Powell said on Wednesday.

In July, Powell said the central bank's staff had abandoned its forecast of a downturn. Staff at the Fed, in other words, now expect the central bank to achieve a "soft landing."

In recent months, however, that glide path has run into turbulence.

Inflation has ticked up for two consecutive months, reversing some of the progress made in the effort to bring price increases down to normal levels. Meanwhile, oil prices have soared, threatening to push inflation even higher.

On top of that, a strike launched by thousands of autoworkers on Friday risks choking off the supply of cars and elevating prices, further endangering the inflation fight, economists previously told ABC News.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the Fed to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

While the economy has slowed in recent months, it has appeared to resist the type of dramatic cooldown that would risk a recession.

Hiring held steady in August with the U.S. economy adding 187,000 jobs, despite a sharp downward revision of job growth estimates in June and July lowered those totals by a combined 110,000 jobs, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed.

The unemployment rate inched up to 3.8% in August but remains near a 50-year low, the data showed.

A major upward revision of government data showed that gross domestic product increased at a 2% annualized rate for a three-month period ending in March -- a sizable jump from the previous estimate of 1.3%.

Still, U.S. economic growth over the first three months of this year was slower than the 2.6% growth in the previous quarter. In turn, that performance was down from 3.2% growth in the quarter before that.

An economy demonstrating more strength than expected bodes well for workers seeking to extract higher wages from employers to offset losses incurred by the recent bout of inflation, Andrew Levin, an economics professor at Dartmouth College and a former Fed economist, told ABC News.

But the demand for pay increases could put pressure on companies that may feel the need to charge higher prices as a means of addressing ballooning labor costs. In turn, that dynamic could keep inflation stubbornly high and undercut the positive outlook at the Fed, Levin added.

"The problem here is that if the Fed is too optimistic about a soft landing and the plane doesn't land, they're going to have to change course and that could be painful," Levin said. "These are difficult decisions for the Fed."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kraft recalling American cheese slices due to possible choking hazard

Kraft Heinz

(NEW YORK) -- Food company Kraft Heinz has issued a voluntary recall after nearly 84,000 slices of processed individually-wrapped American cheese were deemed to potentially contain choking hazards.

“The voluntary recall comes as a precaution after a temporary issue developed on one of our wrapping machines, making it possible that a thin strip of the individual film may remain on the slice after the wrapper has been removed,” Kraft Heinz said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. “If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could be unpleasant and potentially cause a gagging or choking hazard.”

No other Kraft products are affected by the company’s voluntary recall.

The issue was discovered after Kraft Heinz received several complaints from consumers saying they found “plastic stuck to a slice, including six complaints of consumers saying they choked or gagged in connection with the issue,” Kraft said in their statement.

No injuries or serious health issues have been reported.

Kraft Heinz confirmed that they have now fixed the machine that wrapped the affected slices and thoroughly inspected all other processing machines to ensure the contamination does not happen again.

Only Kraft Singles American processed cheese slices with the case/package information listed here are affected. No other varieties or sizes are included in the recall.

“Kraft Heinz is committed to upholding the highest safety and quality standards and apologizes for this inconvenience,” Kraft said in their apology announcing the recall.

Kraft said that consumers who purchased these products should not consume them and can return them to where they were purchased for an exchange or refund.

Consumers can also contact Kraft Heinz from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST on Monday through Friday at 1-800-280-8252 to see if a product is part of the recall and receive reimbursement.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Latin-owned businesses to support during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond

BojanMirkovic/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are close to five million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States that contribute over $800 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, ABC News' Good Morning America is spotlighting Latin-owned businesses.

Scroll down to support five Latina and Latino entrepreneurs.

It's A 10 Haircare

Carolyn Aronson is the founder and CEO of It's A 10 Haircare.

"Discovering my Puerto Rican heritage unlocked a hidden part of my identity, making me feel at home. The traditions I encountered filled me with joy and influenced my personal beauty style," Aronson told Good Morning America.

"These unique qualities set me apart and led me to create It's A 10, a brand that champions inclusion, celebrates beauty's richness, maintains quality, and supports Latin-owned businesses in our mission to empower the community," Aronson added.


Founded in 2010 by Clara Lago Rashidian, Pītusa produces apparel with a focus on sustainability.

"Each design is steeped in Peruvian authenticity, a reflection of the vibrant world I've come to adore. I also hold commitment to supporting Latin-owned businesses," Lago Rashidian told GMA. "By choosing my brand and others like it, you're not only embracing unique Peruvian influences co-designed by Peruvian designers and produced in Peru, but also contributing to the strength and prosperity of our Hispanic and Latin communities."

Guayakí Yerba Mate

Argentinian entrepreneur Alex Pryor co-founded Guayakí Yerba Mate in 1996 with the goal of bringing yerba mate to more people.

Since then, the caffeinated drink has been spotted in refrigerators all over social media.


Founded in Chile, NotCo is a plant-based food tech company.

"As a Chilean native, NotCo's Latin identity will always be present in everything we do. It is what makes us who we are," co-founder and CEO Matias Muchnick told GMA.

NotCo's vegan milk and chocolate milk are both available on Amazon.


Daybird is a women-owned brand that combines makeup with skin care.

First-generation Mexicana Whitney McElwain co-founded the brand to rewrite traditional beauty standards.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Walmart, Amazon and Target kick off holiday deals early: Here's what to know

Nipitpon Singad / EyeEm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- You can now plan to kick off your holiday shopping as early as October!

Following Amazon's announcement of Prime Big Deal Days, Walmart and Target have released information on their adjacent sales, all kicking off the week of Oct. 1.

To help make your shopping life easier, we complied everything we know about each sale below:


Walmart has announced its Walmart Deals - Holiday Kickoff savings event will offer deals on the bestselling holiday gifts across electronics, home, fashion, toys and more.

When is Walmart Deals - Holiday Kickoff event running?

The shopping extravaganza starts Monday, Oct. 9 with deals running through Thursday, Oct. 12.

Where can customers shop deals?

According to a press release, "Customers can shop the 'Walmart Deals - Holiday Kickoff' savings event on, where Walmart is making it easier than ever to find the perfect gifts and discover new items with hyper-personalized content and a curated shopping experience that makes the hunt for the perfect item fast and fun."


This year, Target is bringing back Target Circle Week.

When is Target Circle Week running?

Target's holiday shopping sale event is happening Oct.1-7.

What deals can you plan to see?

Target will be offering discounts on thousands of items, including trending gifts, seasonal items and everyday essentials. Also, Target Circle members can score up to 40% off in savings on select items.


As mentioned, Amazon recently announced its Prime Big Deal Days event.

What is Prime Big Deal Days?

Prime Big Deal Days is a shopping event that will give Prime members exclusive access to deals on across all categories, including fashion, home, kitchen products and more.

When is Prime Big Deal Days?

Amazon announced Monday that Prime Big Deal Days will take place Oct. 10-11.

What should I shop during the event?

Amazon shared that during past sale events, its top-selling categories in the U.S. were home goods, fashion, beauty and Amazon-branded devices. Like Prime Day, products will be broken down into categories such as Top Fashion Deals, Top Creator Picks and more.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

These states are where it will cost you the most and the least to raise kids

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- While the joy of raising a child is priceless, the actual dollars and cents cost of it all is sharply on the rise, a new study shows.

The average cost of raising a child rose nearly 20% in the United States from 2016 to 2021, according to a study released this month by LendingTree, an online loan company.

In 2021, the most recent data available, the average cost of essential expenses for a child -- things like child care, clothing and food -- totaled $21,681, according to Lending Tree.

Five years earlier, in 2016, that cost was $18,167.

In today's market, the estimated cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 in the U.S. is $237,482, according to Lending Tree.

The company's study took into account seven factors when it came to calculating the cost of a child: food, rent, child care, apparel, transportation, health care premiums and tax exemptions.

They did not include non-essential things like sports, after-school classes and other enrichment activities.

In no surprise to many parents, child care remains the biggest driver of rising costs, costing U.S. families $11,752 per year, on average, an increase of 7% from five years ago.

Another sharply rising cost for parents is transportation, which ballooned 276% over the past five years, according to Lending Tree, likely due to the rising cost of gas.

Food and health insurance are also in the top five costs for raising kids, with both also having increased over the past five years.

The most and least expensive places to raise kids

As with most costs, where you live in the United States impacts how much it costs to raise a child.

Mississippi is the least expensive state in which to raise kids, according to Lending Tree, coming in at an average of $15,555 per year.

Two other states in the South -- Alabama and Arkansas -- follow Mississippi closely in being the cheapest places to parent in the U.S, with an average cost of $16,192 and $16,284, respectively.

Lending Tree noted that the least expensive states to have kids each also had the lowest day care costs for infants, averaging at less than $8,000 per year.

While Hawaii is considered paradise for its beauty and weather, it ranked as the most expensive state to raise a child, at an average cost of $30,506 per year, and a total of $314,529 over 18 years, according to Lending Tree.

Washington, D.C., ranked as the second most expensive place for parents, with an average cost of $30,097 per child per year.

The state of Washington came in third most expensive with an average cost of $28,116 per year, according to Lending Tree.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

UAW president sets Friday deadline for more strike action unless ‘serious progress’ made

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

(DETROIT) -- United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said the union’s strike will expand if “serious progress” isn’t made in the contract negotiations with automakers by Friday.

Fain said in a Monday evening update posted on social media that the deadline for greater progress in the union’s talks with Ford, GM and Stellantis is Friday, Sept. 22, at noon.

“That will mark more than a week since our first members walked out. And that will mark more than a week of the ‘big three’ failing to make progress in negotiations toward reaching a deal that does right by our members,” he said in his video message.

“Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the ‘big three.’ We’re not waiting around, and we’re not messing around,” he added.

On Monday, the labor strike against the three largest motor vehicle manufacturers in the United States carried into a fourth day amid ongoing negotiations to reach a deal.

The UAW, which represents nearly 150,000 American autoworkers, launched a strike early Friday against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis -- often called the “big three.” Almost 13,000 workers walked out of three auto plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. The union is utilizing a "stand-up" strike method to target specific plants and add to the list if a deal isn't reached.

The UAW held talks with Ford on Saturday, GM on Sunday and planned to meet with Stellantis on Monday, a union source told ABC News. The conversations with Ford were "reasonably productive," the source said.

Sticking points in negotiations were wage increases and the length of the workweek. The union is demanding a 46% pay increase combined over the four-year duration of a new contract, as well as a 32-hour workweek at 40-hour pay. So far, all three of the Detroit-based companies have each put forward proposals that offered workers a 20% pay increase over the life of the agreement but preserved a 40-hour workweek.

After the unprecedented strike began on Friday, Ford laid off 600 workers who assemble cars at a plant in Michigan. Workers in the paint department at a nearby plant are out on strike, leaving the assembly workers without adequate parts since the parts require paint before they can be put together into cars, a company spokesperson told ABC News.

President Joe Biden said Friday he is deploying acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and White House senior adviser Gene Sperling to Detroit to offer their support for the parties in reaching an agreement.

Economists previously told ABC News that a strike could result in billions of dollars in losses, disruption to the supply chain and other financial consequences.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hundreds of flying taxis to be built in Ohio, governor announces

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Society may be getting one step closer to the flying commuter vehicles made famous in the animated series The Jetsons, as Ohio just announced that hundreds of flying taxis will be built at a facility in the state.

The company Joby Aviation Inc. was selected to build an electric air taxi manufacturing site at Dayton International Airport, Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Development director Lydia Mihalik, and JobsOhio President & CEO J.P. Nauseef announced on Monday.

"Ohio’s legacy in aviation leadership begins with the Wright Brothers and continues now with Joby Aviation, as they launch a new era in advanced aviation manufacturing and aerial mobility in Dayton,” DeWine said in a press release.

Officials said the site facility "will build, test and fly all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxis that will predominantly be used for commercial passenger operations."

The electric air taxi will be intended to carry a pilot and four passengers, and reach speeds of up to 200 mph over a range of 100 miles, officials said.

Joby plans to invest at least $477.5 million and manufacture up to 500 vehicles a year, according to officials. The manufacturing is set to open in 2025, with construction scheduled to begin next year.

"Ohio has a long, rich history in aviation, and we’re proud to bring the next chapter of that story to life in the place where it all started. As one of the top states in the country for aviation manufacturing and innovation, Ohio will play an important role in the future of our industry, and we’re looking forward to growing our team here,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said.

Officials said the project will bring 2,000 jobs to the area.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted Joby Aviation a Special Airworthiness Certificate in June, allowing the company to begin test flying the prototype of its eVTOL aircraft.

Last year, Delta Air Lines announced a partnership with Joby for a "first-of-its-kind arrangement" to provide customers in New York and Los Angeles a "home-to-airport transportation service" using an eVTOL aircraft.

Toyota worked with Joby designing and launching the company's pilot production line in California. The company will advise Joby as it begins to manufacture the air tax in Ohio, Joby announced.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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