December 9, 2022

Today's Topics

Hello! WNBA star Brittney Griner has arrived back on US soil after a one-for-one prisoner swap with Russia. Today we're exploring:

  • ChatGPT. The AI bot taking the tech world by storm.
  • Campbell Soup Co. Soup and snack sellers are having a good year.
  • CEOs. Bosses around the country are feeling less confident.
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On Wednesday the Chartr office party was in full swing, but instead of heading for drinks — as originally planned — we found ourselves still in the office, writing increasingly funny prompts into ChatGPT, a chatbot from OpenAI.

Built on the architecture of GPT-3, with some ~175 billion parameters, the key innovation of ChatGPT relative to other AI breakthroughs is that it’s super easy to interact with. You type something, it spits something back to you. “Tell me a joke”, “write a recipe for pecan pie in the style of a pirate”, “explain long division to a ten-year-old”... ChatGPT has a — pretty convincing — response for all.

That functionality has gone viral, with OpenAI reporting that ChatGPT had hit 1 million users in just 5 days. Searches for ChatGPT rocketed, surpassing those for “lensa”, another AI app making waves this week, but ChatGPT is undoubtedly the much, much bigger story.

The possible uses for ChatGPT, and the future versions of it to come, are equal-parts exciting and daunting. If optimized further, it’s not hard to see a way it could threaten the dominance of search giant Google for certain queries, with the potential to revolutionize some manual tasks in nearly every knowledge-based industry. It is, however, currently pretty expensive. CEO Sam Altman has reported that each individual chat currently costs “single-digit cents” to run — a cost that stacks up pretty quickly.

Ethical concerns and worries over lost jobs due to automation are very real — and although there are guard-rails in place, designed to limit the chance the tool spews hateful content, some have exposed some unfortunate responses.


Campbell Soup Company reported strong growth in its latest quarter, with the company raising their forecasts heading into the new year. All told, revenue jumped 15% compared to last year, despite their sales volumes falling by 1% – implying a substantial number of price rises through the company’s extensive portfolio.

The food firm’s CEO, Mark Clouse, ascribed the strong showing to consumers "cutting back on out of home eating" and moving away from ‘more expensive grocery categories’. A similar narrative has been seen across the rest of "big snack" — companies like Kellogg, Pepsi Co. and Kraft have all outperformed this year.

Indeed, Campbell these days is much more than just soup. Through various acquisitions, over many decades, the company has built a huge snack and meal business with brands including Pepperidge Farm, Pinnacle Foods, Prego pasta sauce and teens' favorite snack Goldfish.

Although the company is having a solid year, Campbell Soup Co. hasn’t exactly been a growth story. In the last 30 years revenue growth has averaged a pretty glacial 1% — meaning that, once adjusted for inflation, Campbell Soup Co.’s revenues have actually been declining in real terms.

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The best laid plans

As the year draws to a close, businesses around the country have been getting taps on their shoulder from senior leadership about plans for 2023. On the whole those plans are probably a bit less expansive than they were 6 months ago (except maybe for OpenAI and CampbellSoup).

The latest data from the Business Roundtable, a quarterly survey of the nations top executives, revealed that the flagship CEO economic outlook index has fallen to its lowest level in more than two years, suggesting CEOs are beginning to feel more nervous about the economy.

Although CEOs are feeling less confident, the key threshold for this index is 50. Anything north of 50 indicates continued expansion — anything below represents CEOs expecting a contraction. In a potentially early signal for the job market, CEOs have dialed back their ambitious hiring plans. Over the next 6 months only 40% are planning to increase employment, down from the 77% that planned to this time last year.

More Data

Stadium 974 is set to be dismantled after hosting just 13 games at the Qatar World Cup. It took 13 months to build.

• The last Boeing 747 has rolled off of the factory floor, after more than 50 years in production.

• Great work from our friends at Stacker, who have compiled the list of top holiday toys from the last 100+ years.

Dyson's $949 air-purifying headphones are here, and they look as weird as they sound.


• One list you do not want your city to be on – the most expensive US cities to live in.

Born earlier in a school year? You may have a better chance of making it as an athlete —fascinating chart showing the "relative age effect" at the World Cup.

Off the charts: The FTC has filed to try and block Microsoft's planned ~$69bn acquisition of which gaming company? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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