tv 2018 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books CSPAN April 21, 2018 12:59pm-3:00pm EDT
c-span2. >> welcome to los angeles and the los angeles times festival of books held on the campus of the university of southern california. 150,000 people are expected over the next two days to attend hundreds of other programs being held. booktv on c-span2 will be live all weekend, our discussions and call in programs. today's lineup includes authors talking about the trump administration, labor and biographies and your chance to talk with a tech entrepreneur, tim o'reilly, and law professor adam waveland. our full schedule for the weekend is available and follow us on social media for behind-the-scenes photos and videos at booktv is our address, facebook, twitter and instagram. we are kicking off our coverage
in la with jorge ramos whose most recent book is stranger, the challenge of a latino immigrant in the trump era. in your book you refer to yourself -- what you mean? >> designated a writer. .. >> yesterday i did a newscast in spanish. i realize that i'm going from one world to another and that's precisely how i feel, unfortunately, i'll never be american enough for many
americans. but i'll never be mexican enough to many mexicans either so i'm right in between . >> and in fact you write i will never be american enough for many americans, just as i will never be mexican enough for many mexicans. do you feel at home anymore in mexico? >> i don't think i have a home anymore. when i was an immigrant, the most difficult decision in my life. i think i left home and i don't have a home anymore . what i think of home is a place with my three brothers and sisters. when i go back to mexico i like to pass in front of the house and i think i've been looking for the idea of home and once you are an immigrant, you lose that forever. you're constantly looking for that home and it's simply
impossible to get it back has been worse since november 2016 in your view? >> it's been worse since june 2016. since the launch of his candidacy. i have an accent. i tried everything and it doesn't work. i learned english late in my life and it's difficult, my kids correct me constantly and i appreciate that, they are my best teachers and the picture of the united states changes, it's cyclical. sometimes i faced anti-immigrant sentiment but never as bad as it is right now when a candidate says that mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists as trump said in 2015, you know it's a lie and that he's talking about you and he's not telling the truth. that was difficult and then when that same candidate
publishes on instagram your cell phone number because your order in an interview, that's difficult and when that candidate calls a bodyguard to throw you out of a press conference as he did with me, it's not that as an immigrant i never felt rejection, sometimes i felt it but the hatred, that's the difference. and that hatred is contagious and in this case from my point of view is coming from the top down. >> you think donald trump is racist? >> i don't think donald trump is racist but i know what's coming out of his mouth and what came out of his mouth are racist statements. when he said mexican immigrants were rapists, that's a racist statement and he said that he couldn't do his job because of his mexican heritage, that's a racist statement. when he said people from haiti and african nations, that's a racist treatment is
coming from the president of the united states. we cannot normalize that, it's not normal and it is our responsibility as journalists to question that printing to denounce it. >> stranger: the challenge of an immigrant in the trump era is the name of the book, jorge ramos is the author. is your chance to talk with him. 48 8200, for those of you in the east and central time zone, 202-748-8201 in the mountain or pacific time zone . go ahead and dialed in, we will take your calls in just a minute. mister ramos, your kids feel like foreigners when they go to mexico? >> probably. >> they are americans. >> they were born here in the united states and they feel 100 percent american. and when they goback to mexico with me on vacation or just to visit my mom , i don't think they feel
mexican. i don'tthink they do. although nowadays , we are not monolithic. my son for instance, he's 19. he's human, mexico and american. and that's who we are. you are again going back to this, it's a culture made out of wood and paper which informed by parts of animals. in other words, it's something you people might consider a monster, other people might think of it as incredibly angelic figure. that's who we are. we are made up very different parts from different situations and countries and elements and that's how i feel i am. >> you refer in your book to president obama's support. >> yes, because president obama promised us that he was
going to do immigration reform. he didn't do it. in 2009, before senator kennedy got sick he controlled the white house and the congress and he could have done. he didn't. then president obama supported 12 and a half million immigrants, destroyed thousands of families and he was no other president had done something like that and that is important because i think as a journalist, you'll have to be independent. i've attacked president trump because of his racist remarks but also criticized barack obama for what he gave . there's a chapter in your new book, when to stop being. >> journalists. >> i think we have the responsibility, to report reality as it is, not as we wish it to be in more
important social responsibility that we have is to question those who are in power and when it comes to racism, discrimination, corruption , public lies, violation of human rights, i think we have to take a stance that we shared a holocaust survivor uses to say that neutrality only serve the officers, never the victim and the best examples we have great journalism and journalists. watergate, edward r murrow during the mccarthy area, attacking the established church or the cases of sexual abuse. i think as journalists if we don't do that, who's going to do it? i think of journalism as a public service and our public service is precisely the question those who are in power you think your immigrant experience as you mentioned , having an accent, being first generation, you think it's any different than other immigrants are having? >>. >> it's sadly as any other immigrants. but it is not only me who
feel like a stranger, the title of the book. i think thousands upon millions of immigrants and latinos will be like strangers in their own country. i haven't felt any different for 35 years, as we discussed , this country gave me the opportunities that my country of origin couldn't give me i was a stranger in mexico, that's why i came here and still i feel like a stranger . why is that? i think it has to do with politics but also with the anxiety happening in this country right now. in which many people feel uncomfortable with the revolution that we are living . in 2044 everyone is going to be a minority and many politicians are taking advantage of this anxiety, taking immigrants for crime and for their economic troubles and it is not right. and it is, look, emigrants
are less likely to be created criminals than any other citizen. they are lesslikely to be behind bars . billions of dollars a year in the economy and somehow when we hear president trump talking, it's only that we are being invaded. there are criminals. he's talking about gangs. that's not who we are. i do understand that some immigrants, very few crimes but it is unfair to criticize all the immigrant population like he has done. >> let's hear from some of our colors, from margaret in leavenworth kansas, you're on with jorge ramos. >> what honor to say hello to you and how much i respect you. after all you went through, i would like to tell you we are all strangers in this country. i was an army brat in the 50s and 60s and a ball over and boy, when you go from the north to the south and you get called a yankee and all
kind of terrible names, and then being catholic in the south, when john kennedy was killed, there were some people in myschool were happy . no being an army brat, i don't quite understand you're just feeling like a stranger because i was astranger all over . and i think obama responded to the fact that in chicago there's a lot of companies that import all kinds of illegals so they don't have to pay people and the black population got very angry they were always being displaced by africans like nigerians, filipinos, mexicans and they wanted the jobs and they were always called lazy.i think he did that because of that but corporations use all this to manipulate people. and it's to my knowledge,
mexicans are here first. i don't know everything. i watch a lot of history and it looked like they were here first. >> margaret, a lot there to chew on. let's hear from jorge ramos. >> i appreciate your call, thank you so much and i agree with you that we can feel like strangers in this country. why do i feel like a stranger? when a candidate says, a candidate that became president says go back to univision, he really meant go back to mexico. and one of his supporters tells me outside that press conference where i was subjected, get out of my country. does feel like a stranger and when your community is being attacked constantly.and constantly by the president
of the united states, you do feel like a stranger but at the end, i think he went to them. at the end, the idea of tolerance, multicultural society is going to prevail. at the end, the idea of an america that will prevail is the one that i'm hearing from the dreamers or from the students that survived the massacre in parkland. that's the united states, that's the america i believe and the america that inspires me . >> jorge ramos, what about the balkanization of american politics? the latino immigrants, the black population, women, etc. at what point did we not talk to everybody. >> at a point in which we think that being diverse is a sin, that is exactly the opposite.everyone, this is america, this is the future. these seas are chavez in 1984 gave a wonderful assessment and said we are looking to the future and the future is ours.
this is the future. california is the future. everyone is going to be a minority in 2044. african-americans, native americans, everyone is going to be a minority and when we think of the other as the enemy, that's when division started and i think many politicians are taking advantage of that demographic just to get votes. >> what do you say to somebody who's sincerely afraid of unchecked immigration. >>. >> talk to me, talk to other immigrants. >> this is a very important question because when we see president trump and when we see immigrants talking about this, they are presenting us as criminals. every time an immigrant commits a crime, a generalized. they're criminalizing the whole population and it is trump, as a matter of fact, the more immigrants that you
have, the less prime you have. these are the numbers. in 1990 there were 3.5 million undocumented immigrants in this country. in 2013 that number grew to 11.2 million . so the undocumented population grew incredibly from 3 million to 11 million. in those years, 40 years according to the fbi, violent crimes increase 48 percent. so what is happening? the more immigrants that you have, even undocumented immigrants, the less prime that you have but when you hear politicians and president trump, it's different though i do understand that some people are anxious about that but they have to realize that we are not, that what we are being be portrayed by the trump administration. >> hellofran ? >> caller: i was wondering if
your guest has considered races and is not a form of ignorance but a form of deliberate cruelty. there is something people in nature. it is difficultfor me to believe that racist people don't know any better and they are really that dumb . >> so the question is on racism. well, -- i think that racism happens when you don't know who your neighbor is. and you don't understand what's in front of you. when you are simply afraid of someone just because you don't know him or don't know how to pronounce his name . and i do understand that the country is changing and it's changing very rapidly . and that when everyone is going to be a minority , that you might think that the
other is the enemy, but we are not. i think racism happens when you think of the other as the enemy and the only way you can then breach that is talking to others and understanding that what you are being told in social media is not the truth. >>. >> host: jorge ramos is the host of univision and telephone to which means what? >> going to the point. >> how big is univision's audience, is it nationwide? >> or is it hemisphere wide? >> on univision, this is what happened. when i first came to the united states in california in 1983, there were 50 million latinos. right now there are going to
be 60 million latinos and they live 30 years, the hispanic population will grow to more than 100 million. one in three is going to be a lucky in this country. and many of them are still connected to their countries of origin.many of them speak spanish at home. and that's our audience. it's still growing. many immigrants come to this country will feel more comfortable in spanish and in english and that our audience . it continues to grow but also we have many challenges. there's a huge migration of hives from large screens, and we have to understand that many latinos now feel more comfortable in spanish and that the challenges we're facing right now as any other metals. >> let's hear from brian in, locke wisconsin. >>. >> hello. jorge, i felt horrible when you were removed from the press conference.
and when i was a child, that a while ago, i'm 61. you were told anyone can be president. who would want to be president now? i think a confluence of events, the russians, the anti-integration, this foolishness overemails . has brought this country, i mean, we're going to have supreme court judges for life , not to mention destroying the countries faith and its institutions. like the fbi. taking a guys pension two days before is going to retire. i mean, i'm ashamed. we're ruining this country and it's going to be a hard, hard haul to get back to what we had. >> .
>> i do understand what you're telling me, but i am really optimistic. despite the fact of what i've gone through and despite the fact of what everyone's gone through , i am very optimistic. what donald trump did, using a bodyguard, to reject me from a press conference, is exactly the same thing fidel castro did with me. he prevented me from asking morequestions with a bodyguard. here you have fidel castro and donald trump doing the same thing . >> then youwould say well, we are on the wrong path . yes, in that sense we are on the wrong path but i'm so inspired by what what i'm seeing right now. with the dreamers, and the students from the massacre in parkland school. it is incredible how these millennial's are criticized so much in the past. it's incredible how the
parkland survivors and the dreamers are taking the lead in this country and doing very important issues. done control and immigration so if the future of the united states depends on the dreamers and on the parkland survivors, we are in good hands so i'm inspired by them. i am completely sure that this era and the future of the united states will be completely different. i'm seeing so many movements of resistanceand rebellion . i am not absolutely convinced that having eventually we will be in the right parts of the us will do the right thing. i'm an immigrant. and just one other immigrant throughout have the same opportunities i had . >> august 2015, iowa. getting thrown out of the press conference. what was the result after that. >>. >> nobody paid attention to what we were doing. when i, when we said that it
was dangerous for a candidate to make racist statements about immigrants on june 2015, nobody paid attention. people were saying you know, latinos, you don't know what's happening. donald trump is donald trump and then they didn't take it seriously. then when i got ejected from the press conference in iowa they were saying well, that's donald trump. pay attention to that. people don't realize it wasan attack on the first amendment. it was an attack on freedom of speech, and journalism. they said it's donald trump being donald trump . no, first, that case was racism. the second case was an attack on a journalist and we understood what was happening and when i say we, we immigrants, we latinos we realize what was happening and many people did not pay attention and when they pay
attention was already too late . >> from stranger, a chapter called disobeyed. here's my advice , jorge ramos, disobeyed. when you are standing in front of a racist, disobeyed. when they want to discriminateagainst you, disobeyed. when asked for something unjust, disobeyed. when they can't publicly defend what they say in private, disobey. when they demand the above honesty , disobey. when things have to change and there is no other way to do so, disobey. do it peacefully but disobey, disobey. as for my kids. i wrote that for my kids. >> we are in a time in which violence is not an option. i think you have to stand up, speak up and speak out and if , if we remain silent, then things like this are
happening, i think we are being complicit and i don't want to be complicit and i don't want my kids to be complicit and i want to disobey when something is wrong. i think donald trump is presenting to us a moral dilemma and at this moment, silence is not an option. and if you stay silent, then you are taking a side. >> when my kids ask me, who were the journalists when donald trump was president, what do you do? ican safely say i resisted . and i said no, that i asked the questions. >>. >> host: bradford in parksville tennessee. for. >> caller: my comment is this. it seems strange that north american immigration problems could have been nipped in the bud at plymouth bay in 1620. >>.
>> all right, brett, we're going to leave your comments. unless you want to respond to anything you have to say. >> everyone is an immigrant. everyone is an immigrant. we all came from other countries. as a native american. and 40 percent of the founders of the fortune 500 companies were either immigrants or sons of immigrants. and i think the american experiment has been fantastic . i love this. it's very difficult to see these spaces, these accents, any other country in the world. this has had wonderful consequences and we just have to make sure that we continue fighting. for diversity. and for inclusion and for
tolerance, that's all. >> richard in brentwood maryland, you are on tv, author jorge ramos. >> caller: i want to say to the authors that on many occasions i've heard him take a swipe against president obama because he didn't do what he could have done when they had themajority in the house , but i would submit to mister ramos that things had to be prioritized. the country was in an economic upheaval going over the cliff, so i think for him to insist that the president should have pushed this particular issue to the front at all costs, it's a little bit undeserving. you deserve to have your issue heard but not over the economic wherewithal of the
nation as a whole and lastly, as far as him being here 35 years, i would like to refer to an interview i once saw between the author james baldwin and robert kennedy and robert kennedy made, i think it was from cambridge. he made a comment that i see in a few years we will probably have a black president and james baldwin's reply was the issue is that we've been here for about 400 years and irish had been here for less than 80 and already you're running for president and telling me we have to wait and it's not time for that yet so i wanted to say to mister ramos and i followed him somewhat, that during those periods of time, the country was in a bad way and economically, i think it took president over what your
issues were. lastly, peter, you are thebest interviewer i've ever seen . thanks . >> host: i agree with that. >> guest: you are right. let me say that by the fact that president obama deported more immigrants than any other president, that thanks to president obama, we have the dream act and thanks to him, hundreds of thousands of dreamers are able to be even living in this country with no fear. now, president obama told me in an interview in 2008 as a candidate that he was going to introduce immigration reform in his first year in office. that was his promise. that was not my promise, it was his promise. he didn't have to do that. he promised back. >> and he didn't deliver. i do understand that the country was going through an economic racist in 2008. and that there were priorities but i think there
are things at the same time, he didn't mean that. he just didn't have to promise it. and he did. and i think he didn't take his work, that's the only thing i'm saying mercedes in pennsylvania, 30 seconds left . >> caller: mercedes is no longer with us. all right, final question. >> at what point if people want to come to this country, at what point does it become the responsibility of other countries to maybe alter they are doing things to make people not necessarily want to leave? >> immigration is a complex phenomenon. something pushes you out of that country and something pulls you in and i think that it is the responsibility of
most countries and also a responsibility of the united states. immigrants don't come here because they want to go to disneyland or because they want to kill other americans. they come here for jobs nobody else wants to do. they are taking care of kids, building our homes area is also our responsibility. we are complicit. they're coming here, many of them illegally and we have to do something about it. >> trader is the name of the book, the challenge of a latino immigrant in the trump era. this is what, you're abook? >> guest: 13 . it's all right. >> we look forward to having you back. >> guest: 80 in english, thank you. >> host: we are here on the campus of the university of southern california, "l.a. times" book festival, 23rd year in a row the festival has been held, over 20 years but tv has been covering the festival. coming up, we are authors talking about american culture.
then we're going to have another call in. jim o'reilly, his book is called wtf and after that is another author panel talking about biographies. that includes john farrell talking about new biography on books so that's all coming up but let's go into that and, they can hear the authors on american tv. >>. >> it's great to see you all. we are the first event this morning here at the la times festival of books, it's wonderful and i elizabeth taylor and i'm delighted to be here and to introduce icons. the title of this panel is american cultural icons and i'm thrilled to have four actually wonderful writers with me. >> one book is so big that it obviously needs to people to do it. >> so quick notes, please
silence all cell phones. and postal recordings. the session will not be allowed. we want to make this as conversational as possible so we will talk and then in a little while, take questions and you will be prepared to think i take mike's in the aisles. because this will be recorded and you will need to speak up. so let me sort of get to work. these books are strategically placed, as you can see. and there will be an opportunity to buy the books after. real money to buy real books. support these authors. so we have here to my left, i always like to go left, actually on principle .
mister kraft who wrote the man who made the movies. [applause] there is. and then we have dan and isaac. they are the authors of -- [applause] the ascent of angels in america. and when they are, we have the you lee minted probably in our programs, pulitzer prize winner. >>. >> also i have to give a shout out to the national book criticscircle . we made it the winner of our
biography category in march . so these pulitzers, with prairie fires. the american dreams of laura enables wilder. so here we are, talking about icons and i think so what makes something iconic? i always thought buildings were iconic but what about these people or the people who actually make this amazing theater. >> so i thought we would sort ofstart again , left, talk about what makes mister fox iconic. well, go ahead. >> he's an icon that ironically i think nobody knew was an icon because
through history have pretty much forgotten him but he was the founder of the fox film corporation which wasthe predecessor to 20th century fox and while we have many biographies of the other early movie mobile , there was a really with william fox and i would say what nick and makes him an icon is he made many contributions to previously largely uncredited that shape the industry for generations to come and that really, if you want to understand why the industry is the way it is , he is a pivotal figure for understanding that because of how active he was in directing the early development of the industry. even across all dimensions from production to exhibition distribution. >> high. >> hello everyone, thanks for coming. our book is about angels in america, tony kushner's play. it is the creation of the
play as well as the evolution of it to modern readers and theatergoers now and if you take up the definition of icon, it can be described as someone who was transformative in their world , angels as the play is itself a kind of icon. it transformed the american theater, transform pop culture, particularly the way gay characters were represented, both their representation in the kind of space they often face in dramatic works like this. and the american cultural can has a way of welcoming kind of iconic works. and angels, at least in the theater of the last 30 years seem to be the place most likely i think to take an argument, at least in favor of this, most likely to stand the test of time and he continually put on and be relevant for the next hundred, 200 years. >> the book is an oral history so we interviewed
over 250 people for it and wove those accounts together into a story and most of those people are themselves icons. tony kushner is the author, meryl streep, and well miranda is on his way. but what was fascinating about that is the kind of interrelationship between those things and that display had that kind of totemic power on the people who discovered. dan and i both saw this play when we were teenagers and it's had this very iconic power as we were watching it but to see that for all the people who have worked on or read it or target or whatever, to have that same transformative faith that it was on to its audience was one of the really wild discoveries that i read throughout the book. >> and laura ingalls wilder has become i think an icon because she represents an era
, the era of pioneering, the era of homesteading and one of the things that's sort of fascinating about her iconic status is that i think she knew she was becoming an icon that she was to represent this era. she actually said in an essay that my life represents all of the phases of the frontier. and she really knew that her life incorporated all this history from the plains indian wars to homesteading and beyond and of course she wrote the book during the great depression, so it's reflective of that era as well. and one of the things that's kind of funny about her legacy is that it would then
carry forward by a television show that became very famous and so her iconic status was itself transformed by that show. >> legacy is just the next thing i was going to get to. what are the icons or become iconic because of the legacy. so i want to talk about how conscious were your people and making a legacy. one of the things that makes this book so brilliantly that laura ingalls wrote was about that legacy, what about the other? >> there was a point early on while they were making angels in america where they knew it was going to be a great play. it's called writing is great but there's a turning point where they suddenly realized that it was probably, they managed to actually complete which is one of the big
struggles of the book , is that they managed to complete it. they had iconic work on their hands and that suddenly raises the stakes for everyone involved dramatically. and then 25 years later when we were interviewing everyone, tony kushner particularly was very generous with his time. i think in great part because he recognized accurately that his legacy hinges on this play. that he has he said to us, it's going to be the first line in my obituary, i'm the author of angels in america dies, at least i'll get a new york times obituary but so he's very interesting talking to someone. he has many famous people are, extremely image-conscious individual and he also knows the story behind this play is not a story that always cast him in the most flattering life and
to his credit, he was not at all unwilling to tell the kind of stories that do not make him look great. i think in part he's willing to do that because in the end it all worked out. >>. >> william fox was always very conscious of the legacy he was going to leave. when you started and movie production in 1915, before that. a distributor but when he started making movies, he always wanted to make great movies that would outlast him and that would establish his name for all time and he's very early recognized the potential to become a major art form, so much so that in i think it was 1916 he tried to get a museum started. nobody went for the idea, he was supposed to be cheap disposable entertainment but he saw the potential of that. i don't think he ever wanted himself to become an icon. he always emphasized the attention should be on his accomplishments and he was actually on a personal level
very self-effacing. he didn't want the personal publicity. in contrast to many other moguls, he didn't want to do interviews, didn't want his photograph taken. it was all on building industry . >> how much is the idea of hardship invest into this idea of being an icon? we always think of achievement, that someone has really climbed extraordinary heights. overcome great barriers. certainly, that's essential to the myth. laura ingalls wilder, i can see i'm going to talk he grew up in the slums of the lower east side. he had a third grade education and it was one hardship after another.
he had to battle the corrupt city government of new york . he had to get these theaters going. he had to fight the motion picture patents company. he would go into further distribution and go into production so it was one battle after another. >> wilder's relationship to hardship in her novel is quite interesting i think the cause she's very willing to talk about natural disasters. the book is an extraordinary with tornadoes and locust legs and its biblical laundry list of disasters that she's not so willing to talk about man-made disasters . or the disasters that her father caused by bringing the family into risk and hardship . so it's interesting to look at what she left out of her
books, as well as what she put in and how she celebrated their survival from these hardships but didn't want to talk about some of the disasters that they brought on themselves. >> that part of the mythmaking, it seemed like from the beginning she was very focused on as you say, the picture of the frontier that she was going to present . >> right, and a lot of that had to do with her feeling about her father. she adored him and idolized him and wanted to present him in the best possible light, but the upshot of that was that the whole picture of homesteading and farming that emerges from the book is one that seems very successful and stable and secure, when in fact it was really anything but. >> it's funny because in the
memories of many of the people we talk to, the experience of putting angels together was often the opposite. now for many of these people it is the capstone experience in their artistic lives. up until they actually got sort of the standing ovation tothe end of the first performance, the preface of putting it up often was like sheer misery . and in telling a these stories, they were very blunt about that. that was part of the delight many of these people telling the stories of these early productions of angels was talking about it. then there was the time i was the angel and i was hanging from the ceiling and i started rotating around and my wig got torn off my head and tony kushner had to use a broom to turn me back around. the mythmaking for them included that kind of agony. theagony of creation that
went along with it, that was the fun of telling those stories differently from laura ingalls wilder . >> that episode is true for tony to in the writing. he had the most expensive writers block in broadway history, he couldn't finish perestroika. that wholestruggle to complete the work on every level is part of its myth . >> but in caroline's book there is one very clearly the dark side. a dark side to this myth. i don't want to put words in your mouth but there's this libertarian strain running through it today. but i'm wondering how others grappled with this kind of dark side to any story, any character. with living characters you are interviewing, it's a real challenge. >> first i want to hear about the dark side of laura ingalls wilder. >> there was a dark side of
her books too. they are fairly dark for a novel. but you always have a feeling that things are going to work out in the end and they always have a happyending in the last volume is these happy golden years . they were actually anything but. in terms of what happened to her after she got married. but the dark side of her life, i think, comes through most clearly when you see the relationship she had with her daughter, the journalist wilder lane and how they really struggle to put these books together, even as they fought like cats and dogs. they really didn't like each other in a lot of ways and rose was a fairly difficult person and one of the few things rose and laura had in
common was there devotion to a kind of anti-new deal philosophy became very important to rose later on in her life. and really takes over her life and crowds out all of her writing and other activities. so it's quite striking to see how they both totally invested themselves in that, laura less so because she was much older by that point but it is an interesting thing to sort of follow the depression through the books in a way that you can see it and there is these impoverished descriptions offood on virtually every page . and just such an emphasis on self reliance, almost to the elimination ofeverything else . but it's there, and it's hard i think --
>> yet, we accept the self-reliance of laura. she goes at nine two so at other people's houses to earn money and that seems more self reliance and impressive than athletes. >> and again, what she reads out, she never wants to talk about how he basically went into service at the age of nine and worked throughout much of her childhood. >> and in one way that plucky and in another way it's just awful. >> later on her in her life she has a hard time with people who during the midst of the dustbowl and the depression who are you know, completely down on their luck
and then she's very pleasant critical of people for accepting a which was not uncommon in her rural environment and in the missouri ozarks but it does feel very harsh. >> and with respect to the dark side of her story, it was the necessity to compromise with corrupt institutions. he really believed and he was very idealistic in certain ways. but he was also realistic. so he had both small theaters in brooklyn and in order to get to manhattan he had to join forces with the corrupt tammany hall political structure and he went into visit with a colorful character named binghamton sullivan who ran prostitution rings, protection rackets . gambling houses, but he had the money and he helped
thoughts get into manhattan in partnership with big ten, fox some impressive new york theaters and that was really how we gone to the main stage, i would say. later on in the 20s when wall street is really taking over, but is largely unregulated, and the motion picture industry is expanding at such a rapid pace , fox had to make financial compromises. i do think he didn't really believe in doing, for instance shortselling his own stock in order to raise money it was against the law and he didn't do it, he felt he would just fall behind everybody else i think that was, and that was an eye-opening aspect for me in writing this story because usually, film history says these early moguls great idea and they work really hard and they made great movies about how they were a success i found it was a whole other dimension of sympathy, you have to shake hands with the.
>> and angels, obviously politics, it's very restorative i think for us. it's a very left wing play and it's written in response to a terrible moment in time which is a age crisis and the reagan revolution so the darkness, there were two dark this is for me anyway. one of them was researching that time. which i live through but interviewing people about their friends dying of this play and being abandoned by the society that was to take care of them. you a few of those interviews, it gets hard after a while though really researching the history and binding the exact" you want to include from william f buckley. >> is not exactly terrible enough, william buckley. that was hard. so there's that darkness and the other one is like, a lot of the people who originally worked on the play and the parts were written for work fired and one of them died. there's that kindof , the
people who were cast aside by the play as it was going on its way and that the people involved were sort of i trying to look out for what they thought were the best interest of the play but there were human relationships that were challenged, shall we say over the course of doing that. sometimes it was a question over whether those holds would talk to us andthen when they did we tried to do justice to their story but that was the other end of it . >> we ended up having a whole chapter in the book called getting fired from angels of america because so many people have experienced what they believe to be there sort of old selves into this, helping to develop this work. it wasn't just tonykushner scribbling . it was a cast of actors and directors and technicians before the collaborative effort takes to create a great work of art and they put their whole soul into these characters and then on
conversations with tony about whoumome or how would handle response here or is this how lee should be represented in this play and then they were gone. and decisions that in retrospect don't seem indefensible at all because of the people they were placed with were amazing but at the same time, there's a community of people who for whom angels is both a critical of artistic experience and this great miss opportunity of their lives. >> is fascinating, we're interested in theorigin of these myths . we've been talking about, but i'm also interested in the origin stories and how they came to be. and oral history, you did
biography, can you talk about how you found your form, whether the form found you, whether you found the stories? how does that work for each of you and mark. >> the process of writing, well, for me it was my friendship with angela fox done was william fox's niece. she was the daughter of his youngest sister and it was about a twentysomething year age gap between fox and his sister. so angela had known william fox and while he always kept his home in new york he would come to california for several months every year and so she knew him. she had many stories, she also had collections of stories for mother told her and angela was a freelance journalist as was i at that point and we became friends and i would hear these stories over and over again and she was a wonderful
storyteller. and i just for the longest time assumed somebody's done william fox. his name is on the studio, surely someone has done his biography and then i realized they had and then the more that i researched it, the more i realize how important he was and i came to believe he's the most important of all the early studio founders for the depth and breadth of his contributions to the industry. >> why do you think he's overlooked? >> there are two main reasons but one is the circumstances by which he lost control of his company in april 1930. he had brought the controlling share of stock in rows incorporated which was the parent company of mgm. he made a purchase in early 1929. and things didn't look so bad. then, we know what comes in october 1929. unfortunately fox had been in
a serious car accident in the summer of 1929 so he had been able to anticipate that or prepare for it. in order to make the purchase, he borrowed $27 million in short-term loans. they were coming to his adversaries, they were very vicious, backed by wall street and he was fighting with them over other issues and they decided we don't want the money back, we want control of the company. he was after a very vicious battle with these forces, he was basically pushed out . he was essentially threatened , if you don't give us control of pottsville and fox theaters which at that point had about thousand years, we will destroy them. they started filing
receivership against them and he could see, they really meant it. they were going to smash these very profitable companies and they were at the height of their prosperity at that point so fox saved his companies, he handed over control. he believed the next generation of management would take careof them. and they didn't . they basically plundered them. they wanted the wealth of these companies. so why is fox providing? in my opinion these excessive regimes had to discredit him. he couldn't have been a great founder, otherwise why did you push them out and why did you destroy the company? fox theaters on the height of his prosperity in early 1930 was bankrupt in 1932 and fox film was so decimated financially that in 1935 and had to merge with 20th-century pictures. so i would say the main reason, is that he couldn't have been that great otherwise why these new people come in? the second reason is he was a proud person and also as i mentioned before, facing he
was not going to go begging for attention. >> so origin stories, how's that? >> the reason we wanted to write about angels in america is a book and that it had transformative experiences with the play as young people and it remained a lodestone for us in all that you can aspire to and accomplish and we had a hunch that the play, being somewhat monumental, it's a two-part play takes 7 and a half hours to watch, that it had a similarly epic origin story that would be fun to tell and we were right. and the question of forum i think isa more crucial one . this book is an oral history which is to say we the authors are not really in it. it's told through the voices of those 250 people we
interviewed, actors and designers and directors and critics and tony kushner . and that decision came to us early on. i don't remember it being a discussion. it was like, the first time we ever met in real life was to talk about this project. then edited my work at slate and we had mutual friends and we were talking about this project and i actually don't remember which one of us head, so, it will be an oral history. yeah. that was the extent. then later we had to come up with a reason why and tell our publisher. >> the interesting thing was it never occurred to us that we would be very present in the story. we are both big fans of darrell morris, the filmmaker level moreland morris and particularly the thin blue line. he's only in that movie briefly so we were interested in these works where the author is invisible but also sort of hiding in plain sight on every page.
>> we found that fascinating so there was a formal there between the two of us could we do this whole story and actually have zero original writing from the two of us? >> the idea of having the italicized section where it's like then, after a dramatic series of events -- we didn't want that ship. so we wanted to remove that in part because it's not our story. >> .. it is the story of all those activists who fight in the 80s and 90s and wanted to get out of the way and let those people, especially so many of the people we were interviewing
were like world-class talkers. if you're going to interview tony kushner or frank rich, and interrupting a context it seem basically -- a year and a half ago actually still talking about it. >> let's talk about your oral history. did you paint, did you edit? the idea that you are not present on the page. >> we are hiding that segment, hiding in plain sight.
and a party where everyone has two drinks and more honest. that involved placing these quotes together on a page so that it creates a conversation. >> i went to see -- >> very few. one playwright's agents under the impression they would see every section he appeared and improve it and he said no. in general, people gain the process because this was a formative experience and eager to tell the stories, not dragging the stories out. i don't really remember it. everyone waited 25 years to call them on the phone.
>> you are working on this essentially years, talking about how -- laura ingalls wilder has been part of my life since i was 8 years old. and had an opportunity later on. it was really while i was editing, the library of america's addition of the little house books that i got the idea of doing a new historical biography of her because i was writing these very tiny little notes about stuff i found fascinating, including the episode that starts the book, what wilder called the minnesota massacre, which is this famous event in
1862 which deserves to be more famous, mainly in minnesota, involved dakota indians rising up against the federal government, killing 600 or so white settlers in the space of two days, very dramatic event that changed the entire political and economic situation on the great plains. this is so interesting to me because it is the background of little house on the prairie, wilder's most famous insignificant work. she mentions this in the novel and it comes up in various ways, never explained what it is. that was my job writing the footnote of it.
writing the footnote was not enough. i wanted to expatriate on it and a lot of the history in the biography got its origin there, the novels when you read them as an adult, and through them, you can see a major historical event appearing out of the darkness. that is the impetus on writing the biography. >> and the witness returned to this idea of legacy. in 15 years, 20 years, how will each of these little house
books, how would we be thinking about them. >> it might be useful to return to the topic of this panel. and buildings were people, i think of this sort of traditional religious meaning of that term and often i think of it in the sense of the plot name of the character. religious icons are 2 dimensional figures and iconcould as offering a flattening of the thing that has become an icon, but the idea of share is one specific thing that has to do with our
own dreams and beliefs and the movies we loved and her twitter feed and whatever. it does not incorporate the whole person. when i think the goal of all these books was to push past the icon heard that other subject accomplished, a much more complete and complex story of laura ingalls wilder then she was willing to tell about herself. and my hope is these books help these icons, 3-dimensional objects and 2 dimensional objects that potentially were. that is the goal of history writers, to create 3 dimensions.
>> first of all, do we need to go to the aisle or raise your hands? >> you are on c-span. >> when mom is watching. >> until, all right, sorry. >> coming for thrilling television. better than anything that has been on c-span. >> funny when you mention icons when we think of buildings and not people, but my impression of william clark is from the william fox building which is a wonderful art deco building near pershing square on hill street. which i encourage people to see. we lost some great wonderful art deco buildings and that is
one of the few surviving ones. who is william fox? the 1-dimensional picture i got was decidedly negative. more negative than the darkside you talked about. i did this a while ago so it might be the same misinformation, he was commonly prosecuted for bribing a judge. 's case went to the us supreme court multiple times, charged with fraud. there was a horrific family scandal. i wonder if you could talk about the darker sides. i always thought in my simplistic way how appropriate this is a person who thought through what this was about and i wanted him to be dark. >> a lot of stuff right there. >> i am glad you raised that question. the bribery charge, a
significant part, the way he is remembered, another dimension to that story. that occurred, okay. we need to put that in context. i think there is a sympathetic side to them. he lost control in 1930, they are at the height of their prosperity, taken over basically by incompetence and thieves. they were ruined. he was brokenhearted, but 25 years of his life into building these companies, regarding them as children and they beat his children to death. he fought as hard as he could to retain control. i think he went off the rails
psychologically. fraudulently filed for bankruptcy in 1935. 1936. he wasn't bankrupt. that is something you read, he lost these fortunes, not true. it was a fraudulent filing for bankruptcy and he did rise the judge. however, in his view that was the only way he was going to get justice because he tried to retain control of his companies and he lost. he is extremely bitter about that. the second point is he didn't offer that bribe. the judge sent a bagman to him to say the judge's daughter is getting married. could you loan him some money for the wedding? it is the kind of loan we would like to get.
there is no interest, no due date on the loan and no expectation of repayment and the second request for money. admittedly it is a crime but the justice system, the federal justice system at that time was quite corrupt and interestingly linked to the stock market crash because this particular judge and other judges lost their shirts in the stock market crash. are they going to get it back? they have limited salary, what are they going to have to sell? they got justices out. this judge had been corrupt for a long time. he was known to be corrupt. the fbi launched an investigation of federal judges. this is how fox's name was pulled into it. when fox gets pulled into what
he confessed and he couldn't quite bring himself to say it was a bribe or a crime. he kept saying this is the only way i can get justice. however, he did confess, the other guy, the judge and his bagman said what? we never take bribes. there were two trials in federal court. i think all of that mitigates that label of criminal. and ironically the judge in my opinion from a dotted line, so corrupt, able to fix the jury. each ended in a hung jury, the prosecutor wanted a third trial because he believed so much they were guilty, and going to transcripts of both trials,
they told preposterous stories and they attacked him really viciously and basically said he was satanic. the judge:down, this is not a 3 ring circus here. but nonetheless each trial ended in a hung jury. ironically, fox is the only one who went to prison. the guy who confessed is a publicly leased criminal in that scenario, that was one of the other things i felt was important to dismantle with that. >> who among us has not bribed a federal judge? the last comments, the idea of a flattening, standing in for something else. when i think about mohammed ali or marilyn monroe, american
icons, they seem to fill a cultural niche. i wonder if you thought about that. each of these icons, that is a great question. [laughter] >> you do this to me every time. it depends which point in the angels in america story you are checking in with. there are a number of things it was doing is a story that other broadway shows were not doing. the point it came to broadway everybody thought serious theater on broadway was dead, murdered by cats essentially. both actual cats and the musical cats. the serious play was dead. the serious play you had to spend 1 to 3 days seeing was a huge hit, its own thing. also it had a dramatic impact
on the way pop culture from then on, portrayed particularly gay men and people with aids, a play where every man, he is in every man, he is an effeminate gay man who has aids and is still sick at the end of the play. it doesn't end of the prophetic we be seen, it with him demanding rights, we will be citizens, the time has come. a huge thing to do in 1993. so that is one way it fits in. the moment one of its characters, a mentor to the current president, not getting completely distracted by that was its own struggle. >> i would add the cultural niche, the play i remember
seeing is an appeal to idealism and i feel your book does that as well. horrific story of the firings and it does appeal to we want to make a better world. part of a niche. >> 250 people telling the story of how they helped create in some fashion a thing they feel will live forever. >> that is very inspiring. >> another thing about the niche angels fill is the canonical play and fills the niche through academics in particular, we need a play from the 90s the field intersectional students will like and is important. that is the flattening, when we were in london last summer to see the production of angels in america that transferred to
broadway, i stayed in an air b&b in london with a nice stockbroker or something who is big in the theater and telling me about all the shows, i have seen angels in america. a target audience for this play. it is like that big important american play. if you have never seen angels in america it is one of the funniest place of a written. no one remembers that it is funny. and the living work that has relevance and incredibly entertaining and enjoyable to be part of. other cultural niches?
and american society. >> this is for caroline. can you talk about the writing and research because that was insane. i would read parts of that allowed to people and -- >> wilder was the one who wrote it first. and eyewitness accounts in the novel, still used by historians of that. go as an eyewitness even though it is fiction but i felt a certain need to dig up more dirt on this and there is a fantastic book that is just about that, which was eventually went extinct for
reasons nobody understands today. there were a lot of accounts in newspapers, some of which were accurate, some were not but the federal government was involved as well. some long and fascinating reports about what actually happened, trains going up the tracks, they were so greasy from the bodies of grasshoppers, astonishing counts, but no photographs. it was a huge national crisis the cost the equivalent of billions of dollars but no photographs that show what happens. occasional little things but no way to document it in that sense which was amazing. we only know it from these written accounts.
afield. the to many hall connection did not go beyond the 1910s, fox was beyond them at that point but what he had to confront was the rise of the wall street capitalist establishment and that is where the correction shifts to and that was largely responsible for the demise, the crookedness that was hair-raising, the demise of fox theaters in 1932 when it rent bankrupt, they plundered them, moneymaking machines, the guy who took over as head of it, pushed fox out, he had a bogus theater supply company and ordered all the theaters to be refurbished even though they didn't need to be as a means of transferring the wealth to prop
up the stock of this other company he had. >> was fox the only one -- did he have the majority of the theater at this time? he had two others, two other companies just before that time, correct? >> the structure gets a little confusing, fox west coast theaters but everybody was hit hard by the depression. i am not sure what happened elsewhere. it was a big task to pull apart what was happening with fox, it is corruption, incompetence played a large role in the demise of those theaters, fox remains in control.
[inaudible conversations] >> the pleasure. >> booktv live coverage, we are on the campus of the university of southern california a couple miles due south of downtown la. another paper perfect california day. several more other panels coming up. follow our schedule that booktv.org, you can follow us on social media. for facebook, twitter and instagram. tim o'reilly is the author of this book, wtf:what is the future and why it is up to us. the use of wtf. is it used as an expletive?
>> it is a little bit of both. the think that is so wonderful about the expression is remotely sad when we are dismayed but sometimes when we are amazed. the future technology is bringing us has given us a healthy dose of both dismay and amazement. we have a lot of choices as a society about which of those is going to dominate in our future and that is what the book is about. >> from your book everything is amazing, everything is horrible, and it is all moving too fast. we are moving pell-mell to a world shaped by technology in ways we don't understand and have many reasons to fear. >> absolutely right. the news for example book and l
theme in what we have to come to groups within our society. at the same time we understand that these powerful tools can do a lot of good. what we have to do, how do we hold our businesses to account and how do we apply these tools to the right kinds of problems rather than just using them to manipulate people? >> you are partially responsible for this pell-mell world you are living in, aren't you? >> you might say that. for 40 years my company, o'reilly media has been selling the picks and shovels of technology to today's gold miners. we started out many years ago
with computer books the biggest part of our business now is online learning business called safari but basically go to o'reilly.com to see the things we do, conferences on artificial intelligence, conferences on various aspects of software development, books and online learning about all those things. >> host: how do you get started in this world? >> guest: i was a tech writing consultant and i started thinking about the way the world was going and writing my own books about cutting-edge technology. typically technologies developed not by big companies but by individual developers and given away for free, what we now call the open source movement. that included things like the world wide web. i created the first commercial website when there were only 200 websites total back in 1993. the first 4 we sold to aol,
basically i have been trying to understand the future of this company. i have been pretty good at building mental maps of where the future is taking us and noticing things about technology other people haven't noticed. a world dominated by companies, i said look over here at all the stuff nobody is paying attention to. that is what i am trying to do with the problems and opportunities with ai and big data algorithm platforms. >> host: what was your first piece of technology? >> my very first piece of technology, technology goes back 10,000 years. i would say in some ways we all share the first piece of technology which is human speech. if you are talking modern
technology, particularly digital technology, i was introduced to computers, the minicomputer,. multi-program executive, multiprocessing executive. my first was osborne one. i grew up with difficult you next which turned into lennox, the operating system of the -- >> i will put the numbers on screen, tim o'reilly, what is the future.
202-748-8200, east and central time zone, 748-821 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. we will get your phone calls and just amendment. and instagram at booktv is our handle. >> we refer to this tech world as a world that is in a sense separate. >> this is one of the things we have to come to grips with. it is increasingly our entire world shaped by these platforms and i don't just mean amazon is a significant portion of e-commerce, facebook connect 2 billion people, google is our primary resource used by everyone for deciding what information we are going to consume, what is the most relevant and true, but coming to the real world, the way uber
and left are transforming our transportation network. look at the controversies in cities like san francisco, now it is on demand scooters and bikes. you look at what you are hearing about drone delivery and the very structure of how we organize work is changing. >> host: when you hear the term new economy do you agree with that? >> that term has been used before. i use the term naked economy. the economy we once doesn't fully exist yet. it is something we have to choose to build. there are some new rules at play in the economy. a good example is we like to think we are in a free market economy, this notion of the invisible hand.
there is a beautiful, simple experience we all have in our lives or most of us assuming you do your own shopping. you go to the supermarket, look at headlines, decide which one is the shortest and they all equalize over time. the invisible hand of independent decision-making made with full information. now think about facebook. there is only one line and they chose it for you. >> host: speaking of facebook, the recent hearings on capitol hill, is that a back step for technology? >> guest: it is a good first step for a society coming to grips with these issues. the thing that was so alarming and those hearings was the abysmally governments members of congress who are trying to engage with this problem have no tool with which to think about it, to respond. any proposed regulations are
likely to be bad. we use this opportunity to increase the level of technical sophistication in our regulatory arm and we need to engage. a lot of people talking about these issues, thinking about these issues, scholars and activists raising these problems long ago need to get more engaged, those who wants to regulate need to get people who understand the problem to get the advice. >> host: what would you have asked mark zuckerberg? >> guest: >> not so much what would you ask about what you would not ask. you would not ask questions mark zuckerberg is going to answer, we already do that. that is not the problem. the two sides are not even
talking to each other. mark, things like how are you going to increase the transparency of the algorithms you use. how do we know you're not putting your thumb on the scale, how are you going to give people more control over their privacy. give us more detail about that because right now, they would ask questions like when are you going to stop selling users data? we don't sell users data. facebook buys uses data. what they do is match up the ads without selling and the understanding of when you will stop creating loopholes like the one that allowed somebody to build an application that the individual past their data to cambridge analytic a, they closed the loophole.
it was a bad mistake on their part but they already took the first step to fixing it so why are you talking about that part of it? not understanding what facebook has or hasn't done would allow us to engage in a reasonable discussion. >> host: what is the value to a comedy like facebook or twitter to having everything, every keystroke we make on our personal phones? >> there are two questions. one is what is the value to us, it was clear in the case of google. alphabet has many elements, one of them youtube but let's talk about google search. google uses that data on our behalf. it is doing the work for us to say these are better results. we are constantly measuring and using your data to find out if that is in fact the best.
on my way here, google maps, where traffic was going to be, and that was magical. on the other hand, facebook's business model is different, they thought they were doing something where they reusing this data on behalf -- show you more of what you like and it turns out to be the wrong model because showing people more of what they like is increase hyper partisanship, turned out to encourage the baser motives. and the image of a piece i wrote of the 7 deadly sins which was a concept from antiquity and there were
several cardinal virtues to fight the 7 deadly sins. today we have identified something like 188 different human cognitive biases in a way our minds make the wrong choices and what we teach and what we celebrate in our advertising economy in silicon valley is how to manipulate those cognitive biases and what we need to hold these companies to is how are you going to suppress and account for cognitive biases rather and building these hyper powerful platforms for amplifying them and effectively using people for money making. >> host: back to something you said earlier, google is there to help you. that can come as a little big brother creepy. >> guest: i would ask you the fundamental question, this was
articulated by somebody from walmart who also doesn't have the best reputation because of the impact they had on small business in america. this guy made this great point, you know when a company is using your data to help you. you can tell, for example, google is collecting my location and using it for better traffic results. i can tell because i watched google now for 20 years, there have been. gos their results were getting worse and part of what they did was learned more by gathering more data, more factors into account and results got better again. they are working on our behalf. this other area, like advertising, we are not sure companies are working on our behalf and we have to start
having a little more discrimination than saying these platforms are bad. we have to start saying where are we confident they are useful to us and where are we confident that they are not? and where is it in the middle? what we are trying to figure out, what are the trade-offs we have to make as a society between the way these companies monetize our attention and the services they provide? it may in some cases be a fair trade-off but we need to understand what the trade-off is. >> host: tim o'reilly is our guest, wtf, powell is calling in from newland, north carolina. >> caller: thank you and thanks for c-span. my question is odd. the first technology was human speech and that is how humans, how we work together, talking
to one another individually and with technology, there is a certain -- when you are talking to somebody there is a responsibility because they can respond to me and i know there is a duty for the conversation but with all this technology which is a new way to spew words and pictures and language and stuff, there seems, that lack of one human being talking to another is being degraded. the privacy and all these other issues are fascinating but i think the way human beings have evolved and survived and loved one another and done everything is being degraded by technology and we are simply not sitting down and talking to one another and having the same responsibilities to listen to
what the other person is saying because everybody is talking, everybody has a megaphone. >> guest: i would say two things. first, i will recommend a book that is not my own, called sapiens, he makes the point going back that the fundamental driver of humans working together is our ability to persuade. the question of human intimacy in small groups versus the ability to coordinate at larger and larger scale through persuasion is one of the big tensions in the history of humanity. what we see almost always is those two things are in opposition and the world pathologies, being persuaded to do things in their best
interests, far predates technology. and a key part of the title is up to us, and what we take, what we use it for, versus what we do in our lives and certainly true in many ways our society is out of balance but super important to recognize that this sort of misapplication of persuasion is not limited to the technology and i make the case the technology industry when you look at how recently these issues have come to light and the fact the industry is grappling with them, compare
that to tobacco companies, and you look at the opioid crisis where drug companies soften the language for addictive power of opioids, this is throughout our society. we need to look ourselves in the eye and ask ourselves what is wrong with the master algorithm of our economy which is make money for shareholders above all else and don't worry about the impact on consumers. don't worry about the impact on society. and have to rebalance that
equation. >> host: when congress gets a hold this issue and they have tried in the past is net neutrality one of the solutions or is that kind of aside note? in the 18 net neutrality is a different level of what we call stack. net neutrality, i think, is important because it does level the playing field between small companies and big ones. the dynamics of monopoly are not what they used to be. i see in some ways net neutrality as a sideshow because there are companies that have used net neutrality to get really big and monopolistic against other companies that would like to get rid of net neutrality to reinforce their level of monopoly. the issues we are talking about have much more to do with the use and collection of massive
amounts of data on people and how that data is used. >> host: teresa in las vegas, you're on with arthur tim o'reilly. >> reporter: >> caller: good afternoon. this is teresa from las vegas, nevada and my question is a very concerning one. what if anything can we do as a consumer to eliminate the pop-ups that come in the air? when you go on a page you are trying to do some work on and cannot even get past the area where you need to click on something to go further or continue. the pop-up gives you know out. you have to get rid of it but can't get rid of it because it just pops up and comes up. have you been able to address this issue with the providers
of the networks? they can be so irritating just to get rid of them. >> guest: i would say this. we need simplification of the kind of agreements that are thrust at us all the time by companies. it is not just in technology. you get a new credit card and it is a credit card agreement you cannot understand and just agreeing with that and many people find there are hidden charges, and looking at simplification of language and that has been gutted under the current administration.
we need something like that for tech platforms. our government today is moving in the opposite direction giving more companies power and less power to people. we need to say we need simple plain language, consents. you do want consent for some of these things but you don't want to be forced to consent without knowing. i would say would you rather they simply said simply by using the product subject to these terms or have them ask, right now you might as well not have the click wrap thing because you are not going to be able to read it or understand it anyway unless you are a lawyer and have a half hour to spend. let's simplify those things is the first step. the second step is let's figure out the fair trade between
consumers and these platforms. basically, force that fair trade, laws against deceptive advertising and actually not need these licenses if we were enforcing laws against cheating people which is often what is hidden in complex legal agreements. >> host: you mentioned donald trump want to shake up our government is organized. 's and his administration the right one to move government into more of a tech centric world? >> there is a very ambiguous record there. there are a lot of initiatives started under the obama administration to bring more tech talent into government, the united states digital service, the gen. services administration, where there is
great work happening. recently the veterans administration, to cut a $100 million procurement down to 4 or $5 million by better replication of technology. that can only happen -- the trump administration is supportive of that effort. and they gutted the expertise of government and where they actually basically said we are not doing things on the basis of expertise. my belief is donald trump said let's drain the swamp and what he needs let's drain the swamp into washington, not drain it out. >> host: where has government done a good job when it comes to being part of mexico? >> guest: the best areas, the
best ways the government has participated have to do with fundamental research. there is a wonderful book, the entrepreneurial state. they talk about the iphone, the number of government-funded technologies that show up is 30 or 40 of them and yet we have a narrative which is sold to us that continually says government intervention in the economy is the source of all evil. actually, without government, we wouldn't have gps satellites, we wouldn't have the internet, we wouldn't have various geeky things, a widely used algorithm, the fast for a transformer, the chips built to
implement that. government funding, self driving cars, government funding, it is crazy how the truth of government's role in the advance of technology and the narrative, the political narrative are so far apart. >> host: the dod is involved in it. >> guest: one thing i like to do is find things you wouldn't know that make you smile. it would think the largest funder of breast cancer research in america is the u.s. army? there you are. our government dollars a work. >> host: what about medical records, electronic medical records? >> guest: electronic medical records are a difficult topic. the reason they are so
difficult is the promise of electronic medical records is enormous. the reality is they are kind of useful. not captured is phony information that is for the benefit of insurance billing. not for the benefit of the actual healthy consumer or healthcare system. we really have electronic healthcare insurance records, not electronic medical records. >> let's hear from anthony in floral park with tim o'reilly. please go ahead.
we are listening. >> caller: in the book you talk about how technology is kind of a bad thing and how -- did you touch yourself when you wrote the book? >> host: ignore him. a craig collar unfortunately. are we making leaps right now in artificial intelligence, the so-called quantum leaps in cell phones over the past 20 years? >> guest: there is the science-fiction version of artificial intelligence, self aware robots, self-aware, we are not anywhere near that. that being said, there are these amazing breakthroughs in narrow artificial intelligence, the ability to translate languages in real time, the
ability to track and dispatch dual logistics. the ability to do speech recognition. think about the challenge of google. there are people searching for things at the same time, all searching for different things blues not only that but there is an advertising auction for every search. trillions of interactions happening. could we do that without these enormous machines? facebook, 7 billion posts a day. this is a little like the equivalent of wood we build a tunnel under the english channel with shovels? no we wouldn't. these technologies allow us to do amazing new things and we are starting to get out of this purely digital world into
surprising new areas. one thing i learned recently is the work of a woman named carla gomez at cornell, the institute for computational sustainability. they are doing things like helping california rice farmers plan when they are going to flood their fields to time it better with bird migrations because it helps birds to feed on their migration self. we are coordinating complex systems in a way we could never do before. when we look at future problems like climate change, we are going to need the ai help to let us all and understand complex interaction systems. >> host: joe, go ahead. >> caller: i wanted to ask if he saw mark zuckerberg's
testimony on tv and how he would rate mark zuckerberg on his adherence to the golden rule, especially for generations yet to come. i agree with what he says that we need to look at these issues far into the future. >> host: thank you. >> guest: what i would say about that is i did watch mark's testimony. i am not a good friend of mark's but spend serious time talking with him about these issues and i think he is sincere in wanting to do the right thing. he had this idea that by