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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

South Braces For Storms, Snow Leaves California Residents Trapped; ChatGPT Developer Allowing Companies To Add Chatbot To Apps; UGA's Jalen Carter Faces Criminal Charges Over Fatal Crash. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired March 02, 2023 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds of protesters gathering outside a Tel Aviv hair salon where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara was having her hair done. Demonstrators are angry about the government's plan to curb the judiciary's power.

Finland now one step closer to joining NATO. The country's Parliament passing all necessary legislation Wednesday. Finland could join the alliance without Sweden. Turkey has been blocking Sweden's application.

Prince Harry and Meghan asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, the couple's official U.K. residence. A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed the request. Buckingham Palace has no comment.

Fallout at the University of Georgia. A standout football star now facing criminal charges. And artificial intelligence in the palm of your hand. ChatGTP for your cell phone.


ROMANS: All right, here is today's fast-forward lookahead.

A Pennsylvania man arrested for allegedly trying to check explosives on a flight to Florida will appear in court today. TSA agents found a device containing commercial-grade fireworks powder in his luggage.


Hours from now closing arguments from the defense in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial. The prosecution wrapping up yesterday. The defense expected to emphasize the lack of any direct evidence.

President Biden speaking at a Senate Democratic caucus lunch in Washington today. He plans to highlight the achievements of Democrats and GOP policies that he believes will hurt working Americans.

All right, 40 million Americans across the south bracing for severe storms packing damaging winds and even tornadoes.

It's part of the eastward-moving storm system that dumped several feet of snow on California. Mountain communities grappling with so much snow they're running out of space to put it. And emergency crews are scrambling to deliver food and medicine to residents trapped in their homes. Officials say it could take more than a week to reach some areas.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has the forecast for us. Chad, is more snow headed to California, and how damaging are these tornadoes looking to be?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know, there could be some very big tornadoes today and I'm really concerned about the Dallas area on up toward Little Rock, on up toward Texarkana. Maybe late, late tonight, almost by tomorrow morning this time, something rolling through northern Louisiana. But snow in the Four Corners, storms in the middle, and snow still in New England.

So let's get to it right now.

Most of the storms from overnight have calmed down. There was quite a bit of activity overnight from Arkansas into Tennessee, and even northern Alabama and northern Georgia. But we're watching the next storm system that will develop west of there -- the next one that will bring the potential for severe weather today. Dallas, Shreveport -- maybe to your north on up toward Little Rock, Hot Springs.

Here's how we go. Here's how it plays out.

We work our way into noon. Storms beginning to fire west of Dallas. Then all of a sudden, Stephenville. And then on up into Dallas, Texas. Some of these could be very, very large.

I know you see the area here of the biggest threat to the east of Dallas but I think that could push to the back. I think in a few hours we're going to say hey, wait a minute -- Dallas, Tarrant County, you are in it to win it today. You're going to have to watch this, especially on up toward Hugo, on up toward Denton. These are the areas that are going to see the initial rotation with these storms.

And then later on this afternoon it moves a little bit farther to the north and a line -- a squall line rolls toward Shreveport about midnight tonight.

Then the big storms here overnight on up toward St. Louis and maybe even to southern Indiana, Illinois, all the way through Kentucky. Tornado threat today. Yes, there's a hail threat. There's a wind threat. All of the above are possible for today in that same area.

But also widespread rain. Even if you don't get severe weather you could see four to six inches of rainfall here and that could cause some flash flooding.

We're going to watch this for you today. It's going to really start to ramp up around 2:00 or 3:00 this afternoon. Keep your weather radio on or make sure that your apps on your phone are working because there will be quite a few warnings today.

ROMANS: Yes, a dangerous situation potentially there. OK, nice to see you, Chad Myers. Thanks for the report.

MYERS: You're welcome.

ROMANS: All right, if you are not one of the nearly 100 million users of ChatGTP you might soon be one. The developers expanding by allowing companies like Instacart and Quizlet to add the chatbot to their applications.

I want to bring in senior CNN Business writer Samantha Murphy Kelly. And I know you've been doing a lot of work using this and seeing all the ways it is changing how we are writing and doing our own jobs. Now, this -- all of this -- this expansion comes after so many concerns over chatbot's biases, right, and misinformation. So why are so many companies motivated to integrate it into their -- into their services?

SAMANTHA MURPHY KELLY, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Yes, it is a major vote of confidence for these businesses -- major brands to be incorporating this relatively new, always changing, sort of problematic technology right in the forefront of their apps and services.

Snapchat is allowing people to use it almost like an interaction chatbot with other people or get recommendations. Instacart, to get shoppable lists, using more casual language and finding what they want.

But to your point -- so why do companies want to do this? Well, for one, it's a really fun, interactive, new technology. It's a way to get people excited to come back, user engagement. And from that user engagement, of course, companies are collecting data that they can share with advertisers or market more directly. So there's a lot of incentives for businesses to get involved here.

ROMANS: Microsoft is making its AI tool even more accessible in their newest update even though the company faced scrutiny over inaccurate and emotionally reactive responses. I mean, I guess, will there be improvements?

KELLY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, there has to be, especially for a company like Microsoft and Bing with the search engine where people go to these search engines for reliable, trusted information. So when there's information that isn't accurate -- and we're seeing some biases. We're seeing some tone challenges as well. These systems are always learning and so they need people to continue to interact with it so it will get better and change over time.

ROMANS: I mean, what have you seen? I know you've used it a lot. I mean, has it -- does it get creepy? Is it sometimes -- you said the tone can be weird.


KELLY: Yes. What's funny is I was using Bing maybe about a week or two ago and I was asking it for some help. And it was very nice in the beginning. I felt very supported and seen. And then over time, I started to push it a little bit more and it eventually called me rude and disrespectful. It shared a story about a colleague that was very concerning and inaccurate.

So there's a lot of problems that these -- that these systems have to work out.

ROMANS: I'll say.

You know -- so the CEO of a media group that owns Politico and Insider wrote to his employees this. "Artificial Intelligence has the potential to make independent journalism better than it was ever -- or simply replace it. Only those who create the best original content will survive."

For those of us who write and report for a living how stark of a warning is this that AI may replace jobs, including journalists?

KELLY: Yes, that's not a company memo I would want to get as a journalist, for sure.

But these companies are saying that it can help free up journalists to do more exclusives or get in touch with sources more, or do perspectives, commentary, more investigations. So many media companies right now are aggregating the news. So in theory, by freeing people up to do deeper-dive reporting might not necessarily be a bad thing.

But the inaccuracy issue is, of course, a problem so a lot of kinks have to be worked out and make sure that's streamlined before any of this.


KELLY: And the fact-checking has to come in as well.

ROMANS: Yes. The misinformation and the -- just sort of the internal biases is something -- I mean, it's only as good as, I guess, what goes into it at the beginning. You know what I mean?

KELLY: Yes, exactly.

ROMANS: All right, Samantha Murphy Kelly, nice to see you. Thank you so much.

KELLY: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. One of the top prospects in next month's NFL draft faces criminal charges in connection with a crash that killed a teammate and a football staff member.

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. What's this about, Andy?


So former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter was booked and released from Athens-Clarke County Jail late last night on charges of reckless driving and racing. So the wreck was initially reported as a single-vehicle accident but now police say Carter, who is projected to be picked in the top five of the NFL draft, was racing against another SUV just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their national championship in January.

Now, the driver of the other vehicle, recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy, reportedly had a blood alcohol content level that was more than twice the legal limit. The SUV was traveling at 104 miles per hour when it slammed into power poles and trees, killing her and offensive lineman Devin Willock.

Now, Carter released this statement on his social media saying, "There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing."

All right, in the NBA last night, Kevin Durant making his long- anticipated debut with the Suns. K.D. playing for the first time since hurting his knee back in early January. And he looked great, making 10 of his 15 shots for 23 points.

His new running mate, Devin Booker, had a game-high 37 points as the Suns beat the Hornets easily 105-91.

And here was Durant after the game on his debut.


KEVIN DURANT, FORWARD, PHOENIX SUNS: Today I was nervous, you know. It's a new team, new group. I want to do well. I want to play hard for them and be coachable. So I was thinking about all of that today. But once the ball was tipped, my teammates were incredible and making me comfortable, and I just tried to go out there and play my game.


SCHOLES: The Bucks, meanwhile, just keep on winning. Milwaukee hitting a season-high 26 threes against the Magic on their way to their 16th straight win last night. Giannis scoring a game-high 31 points. The Bucks' best win streak ever, 20 in a row back in 1971. They've got a big matchup against the 76ers on Saturday.

All right, and finally, the jersey worn by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana in not one but two Super Bowl victories has sold for more than $1.2 million at auction, just obliterating the record for a football jersey.

Montana first wore this jersey in Super Bowl XIX, but then he wore it again four years later in Super Bowl XXIII, which is best known for "The Drive" -- a 92-yard march down the field for the late game- winning score against the Bengals.

So the previous record of a jersey was $480,000 paid for a 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey worn by Tom Brady.

But this story is fascinating, Christine, for many reasons. One, because of the amount that it sold for, but two, he wore the jersey in two different --

ROMANS: I know.

SCHOLES: -- Super Bowls four years apart. It was actually his wife got it out and was like hey, this jersey worked for you before -- use it again. That's why he did it. But just incredible. Players don't even wear jerseys for two halves anymore and this guy wore it --

ROMANS: I know. That's so cool.

SCHOLES: -- in two Super Bowls.

ROMANS: Look, if it worked for him in Super Bowl XIX you've got to pull it -- pull it out of the mothballs and it worked again for "The Drive."


ROMANS: All right, nice to see you, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right, coming up on "CNN THIS MORNING" a new revelation in the Ohio train disaster. Rail workers now getting sick.

And next right here, why a lot of Americans say they're worried about their tax refunds.



ROMANS: All right. Your Romans' Numeral this morning, 82, as in 82 cents. Women, on average, earned 82 cents for every dollar a man earned last year. It was 80 cents two decades ago so two cents in 20 years, is that progress?

Pew Research does find women are more likely to achieve almost pay parity -- 90 cents on the dollar -- when they're younger, but then that number slips.

Looking at markets around the world, Asian markets closed down. European markets are lower this morning.

On Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour also mixed here I would call that. Stocks fell as bond yield rose. The 10-year Treasury note up four percent for the first time since November.

Economic news coming in strong, meaning inflation and interest rates could stay higher. Mortgage applications fell to 28-year lows are homebuyers are pulling back there.

On inflation watch, gas prices rose a penny overnight to $3.37 a gallon.

And weekly jobless claims are due at 8:30 a.m. eastern. They're excepted to stay below 200,000 for a seventh week in a row -- historically low.


All right, it is tax time and your return might look a little different this year. First, expect a smaller refund. That's because many tax breaks have changed since the last time you filed.

For tax year 2022, the maximum child tax credit is $2,000 per kid if your income is below $200,000, or $400,000 filing jointly. Above those levels, that credit starts to phase out. And that is at least $1,000 less than the COVID-era enhanced child tax credit. That expired at the end of 2021.

And it's not the only pandemic provision to sunset. The child and dependent care credit also smaller for tax year 2022. That's the credit the working parents can use to pay for childcare or for the care of an adult dependent. And the earned income tax credit for those without children has notably shrunk, too.

Now, keep in mind the standard deduction bigger this year -- $12,950 for single filers, $25,900 for married filing jointly. Now that's good news since most taxpayers don't itemize.

But if you do take the standard deduction you can't subtract charitable contributions this tax season. That's a change from the last two years when even people who didn't itemize were allowed to deduct $300 in charitable donations or $600 if you are filing jointly.

You also have a few extra days to file this year. The deadline is April 18 for most taxpayers. That's also the cutoff to file for a six- month extension if you need a little more time.

Let's bring in senior industry analyst at, Ted Rossman. And Ted, you just -- we just laid it out there. You need to expect a smaller tax refund this year because of so many of these sunsetting provisions. You did a survey and that's one of the things that tax filers are worried about.

TED ROSSMAN, SENIOR INDUSTRY ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (via Webex by Cisco): That's right, people are worried. About seven in 10 people expecting refunds are worried about something this year.

They're worried that their money won't stretch as far because of inflation. Unfortunately, that's probably true.

They're worried also that refund might be smaller. And as you outlined that is probably the case. The IRS says that so far this filing season the average refund is down 11 percent from last year. The good news, it's still about $3,100 so it is still a nice chunk of change.

ROMANS: Yes, down about 11 percent and, at the same time, grocery prices are up about 11 percent, so you can see why there are some of those worries here.

We have seen from some of the data that inflation appears to be peaking here. But I'll be honest -- normal people are really not feeling that yet in their bank accounts.

Will these refunds, I guess, help improve finances for Americans? What do they say they're going to do with their refund?

ROSSMAN: I think the refund will help. It won't solve everything, of course, but most people are going to use this very practically.

The top answer was to pay down debt, which I think is a great choice, especially credit card debt. Those rates are approaching 20 percent on average. So using some of your refund money to pay off credit card debt is a great idea.

The second-most common answer is to boost your savings. That's a great choice as well in part because that's your buffer against future credit card debt. The next time you have some big unexpected expense or also just to help with everything that seems to cost more on a day- to-day basis.

ROMANS: Let's talk more about those interest rates on credit cards because you guys there at Bankrate know this better than anybody. Some of those numbers are just bonkers. And the numbers for the store credit cards -- I mean, almost onerous. I mean, you should not anything you can't pay for immediately on a store credit in my view.

ROSSMAN: Some store credit cards have crossed that 30 percent threshold, whereas the national average for all cards is more like 20 percent. It really just calls to mind that it's so important to pay these credit card bills in full if you can. About half of cardholders do.

If you have debt get a zero-percent balance transfer card. Don't worry about rewards for now because you don't want to pay 20 percent in interest just to get two percent cash back or airline miles. If you have debt put that interest rate first.

ROMANS: Yes, interest rates are probably going to keep rising this year. That means those interest rates are going to keep rising, which means it's going to cost more money to borrow. Be careful, everybody, about those credit cards.

Ted Roseman -- Rossman, thank you. Nice to see you.

ROSSMAN: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: All right. Eli Lilly lowering the price of the most commonly used insulin by 70 percent. This will automatically cap out-of-pocket costs at $35.00 for people with private insurance. Insulin is relatively inexpensive to make but the cost has been a problem. The CDC says more than 16 percent of insulin users in the U.S. report rationing it because of cost.

All right, next on "CNN THIS MORNING" a man in custody after explosives are found in a checked bag at a Pennsylvania airport. And last chance for Alex Murdaugh's lawyers to convince the jury he's not guilty of double murder.



ROMANS: Our top of the morning, the top beaches in the United States according to Tripadvisor.

Number one, Ka'Anapali Beach, Maui, Hawaii. One tourist says "Beautiful ocean, beach, and plenty of walking and snorkeling room. Always our place to find our peace."

Siesta Beach in Siesta Key, Florida comes in second. Called "A pristine beach that never seems to end."

And number three, Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia, called "Peaceful, breathtaking, and haunting."

All right, tough news for Justin Bieber fans.




ROMANS: Biebs originally postponed his Justice World Tour back in September saying he needed to make his health a priority. Now Ticketmaster is showing all of his concerts from the U.S. to France, Australia, and Denmark.