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Living standards shape public opinion on genetically modified food

In the journal Food Quality and Preference, Sebastian Levi uses machine learning to analyse attitudes toward GMOs.

Agricultural biotechnology has been a subject of heated public debate in recent years. The development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has raised concerns about food safety and sparked distrust among consumers. At the same time, improving crops and livestock through genetic technology could help solve a major public policy issue: food insecurity in middle-and low-income countries.

New research by Sebastian Levi, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hertie School’s Centre for Sustainability, finds that opinions towards genetically modified food are determined less by individual trust or education, but rather by the societal benefits people receive from agricultural biotechnology.

The research is featured in his paper, “Living standards shape individual attitudes on genetically modified food around the world”, to be published in January 2022 in the journal Food Quality and Preference, and already available online at Science Direct. Levi analyses individual attitudes of more than 150,000 people living in 142 different countries, using “explainable AI” – a branch of methods that estimate machine learning models so their output is understandable for people.

Read the full article here.

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