tv Amanpour Company PBS November 22, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST
♪ hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. the fallout as president trump says the saudi crown prince might or might not have done it. he's sticking with the kingdom anyway after the brutal khashoggi murder. former cia director leon panetta tells me how he would deal with an errant ally. plus, will this woman soon lead africa's most populous country? why oby ezekwesili says she's the one to take on endless corruption and violence in nigeria. >> i think it's a positive force because it gives more people a voice. and mark zuckerberg unrepentant. now tim o'reilly, the man who coined the phrase web 2.0,
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thank you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in london. leaders from washington to europe to istanbul are astonished that president trump's two-page statement defending saudi arabian crown prince mohammed bin salman after the murder of the journalist jamal khashoggi. the president decided not to take a stand on whether the crown prince ordered the murder. as he later explained on the white house lawn. >> the cia has looked at it. they've studied it a lot. they have nothing definitive. and the fact is maybe he did. maybe he didn't. if you look at iran, what they've done, they've been a bad actor. you look at what's happening in syria with assad, with hundreds of thousands of people killed. we are with saudi arabia. we're staying with saudi arabia. >> in fact, the cia does believe that despite the lack of a smoking gun, that kind of
evidence, mohammed bin salman ordered khashoggi's death. condemnation of the president's stance started with members of his own party. senator rand paul. quote, i'm pretty sure this statement is saudi arabia first, not america first. senator bob corker tweeted, i never thought i'd see the day a white house would moonlight as a public relations firm for the crown prince of saudi arabia. and finally, senator lindsey graham, one of president trump's key allies. he said that when america loses its moral voice, it loses its strongest asset. >> saudi arabia needs us more than we need them. it's not too much to ask an ally not to butcher a guy in a consulate. >> of course these are not just pundits pontificating on television. they are u.s. senators with enormous power. joining me now to discuss all of this is an official who served in every level of government from congress to white house chief of staff to cia director
and defense secretary. he is leon panetta, and he joins me now. welcome back to the program, secretary panetta. >> nice to be with you, christiane. >> so can we just take first things first? the president's statement on the white house lawn. first he does the maybe he did, maybe he didn't. and then he goes straight into iran or assad in syria. what do you take from that statement and that amalgamation of issues? >> well, i think the president obviously was struggling to try to figure out some kind of approach here and decided that he would ignore what the cia determined to be a fact. i mean the cia said with a high degree of confidence that the saudi prince, crown prince, was involved here, that this was a deliberate murder, a brutal murder that took place in another country's consulate.
and if those are the facts, then it strikes me that the president has an obligation to acknowledge those facts as opposed to somehow excusing them because he thinks that there are other problems he has to deal with. >> now, as former cia director, i want to ask you what you make of this. first on this cia issue, they do -- i mean we understand that they don't have a smoking gun. but as you say, their best evidence, their best intelligence indicates what i just said. but the president said yesterday, despite what americans may hear in the coming days from the cia, we may never know all the facts. how troubling is that, again, about america's foremost foreign intelligence agency? >> well, it raises tremendous concerns. the president did this with regards to the finding by 17 intelligence agencies that russia had deliberately
interfered in our election process. and yet he decided to accept putin's word that he had nothing to do with it. now with regards to saudi arabia, he's repeating the same mistake. the intelligence officials, the cia have produced very strong evidence of what happened there, and the president, rather than accepting the word of his own intelligence agencies, says that the crown prince has denied this. others have denied it. maybe he did. maybe he didn't. trying to somehow find a way to excuse that kind of behavior, not recognizing that by doing that, he is sending a terrible message to the world that the united states, which, you know, our greatest strength is adhering to a high moral standard and adhering to our values as a country. that somehow we're going to
throw all of that out of the window in order to make sure that we protect our relationship with saudi arabia. >> so let's now talk about how we led into this a little bit, and that was several senators from the republican party who condemned the statement and who talked exactly as you have just said about not abandoning america's moral imperative and the high ground that it occupies there. one could be forgiven for believing that these senators perhaps didn't consider themselves game-changers or able to actually affect the situation. perhaps they should, you know, try to figure out what their role is as a co-equal branch under the constitution. what do you think -- and this is the key -- that they can or should do? what is the right way for the american government in all its aspects to deal in a case like this?
>> well, the better approach for the president would have been to acknowledge the truth of what we know about this incident and make clear that he is going to work with the leadership in the congress to develop targeted sanctions against saudi arabia in order to make clear to saudi arabia that this behavior is unacceptable. so it would have been far better for the president to say that he's going to work with the congress to develop the approaches that are important to show the world that we are not going to ignore what happened here. now what's happened is that the president is basically walking away from this. he's going to mar-a-lago to play golf, and he leaves the congress responsible for taking action here. and the fact is this is really the responsibility of the president. he can't abdicate that responsibility. now what will happen is that the
congress will try to determine what steps they should take. but that ought to be a partnership between the president and the congress in order to make clear that the united states is unified in opposition to what happened with regards to khashoggi. >> well, apparently some members of congress, including bob corker, who we quoted there, have sent a letter to the white house calling for the kind of investigation and the kind of answers that could lead to the magnitsky act and sanctions under the magnitsky act to be enforced. where do you think they will get with that demand from the white house? >> well, you know, the statement by the president yesterday, i think, indicates that this white house is not going to be very cooperative with that kind of effort. now, maybe that will change. i don't know. if they recognize that the
congress may very well take action on its own, it would seem to me that the president would want to cooperate with the congress in that effort. but i think it's important for congress to move forward, to get all of the evidence that has been gathered by our intelligence agencies as well as others, to conduct whatever additional investigation they feel is necessary. but in the end, to take action here. we cannot just walk away from this. we have to take action to make clear to the world that the united states stands by its values and by its abhorrence to this kind of brutal murder that took place. >> before i ask you to think about what kind of action and what kind of precedents there are when an ally commits something so egregious, i want you to explore with us the reasons why, president trump's reasons why he's sticking with saudi arabia. at least his stated reasons. he tweeted today, i'm prices
getting lower. great. like a big tax cut for america and the world. enjoy. $54 was just $82. thank you to saudi arabia, but let's go lower. okay. that's one thing. then yesterday in the midst of all this, as he was explaining this, he said this about arms sales. let's just play what he said. >> this is about america first. they're paying us $400 billion plus to purchase and invest in our country. that's probably the biggest amount ever paid to the united states. we're not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders and let russia, china, and everybody else have them. >> so there you have it. it's the age-old sort of trumpian transactional response to many, many things. that's his foreign policy, and he's proud of it. as far as he's concerned, it's america first. hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs. but we've done a lot of
fact-checking, and we're not the only ones who have taken it from open sources that there is no $450 billion of arms sales that have been affected. apparently we think only about $14.5 billion according to the officials so far. there are no hundreds of thousands of jobs that may result. maybe according to the state department, some maybe tens of thousands. so what do you know to be the facts because you served under president obama, and there was a massive arms deal then. and are these reasons good enough reasons for the president to stick with saudi arabia? >> i think the danger here is that, you know, the president may talk about america first, but essentially what he's saying is america is for sale to the highest bidder. we're embracing the values of arms merchants, which is to sell arms to whoever regardless of
what they may or may not do. and that undermines the basic leadership of the united states and the world. the reason we have been leaders in the world is because not just our military power, not just our economic power, but our moral power and the fact that we believe in a set of values that we adhere to. you can't throw all of that out of the window in order to sell ourselves to the highest bidder. and besides that, this is not about dollars and cents. it's about our national security. it's about our national standing in the world. the fact is that saudi arabia -- and, by the way, the numbers that you expressed are correct. the president may talk about hundreds of billions of dollars of arms sales. the fact is they've only committed to about $14 billion in sales. we've gone through this before
with saudi arabia. they're not going to walk away from the united states and go elsewhere. they are very dependent on the united states, and so the issue here is how do you take steps to make clear to saudi arabia and the world that what they did with khashoggi is intolerable and unacceptable and, at the same time, obviously continue a relationship with saudi arabia with regards to some of the other issues we deal with? we can do that. the united states is big enough to be able to handle that. after all, we have applied sanctions against north korea, and yet the president wants to talk to the head of north korea. we've applied sanctions against iran, and he's trying to find some way to find a diplomatic solution there. we've applied tariffs to china. we've applied tariffs to europe, and yet we continue to have a
diplomatic relationship with all of those countries. so this isn't a choice between totally destroying our relationship and somehow doing nothing. it is finding that right balance to make very clear to the world that this behavior is unacceptable and, at the same time, make clear that we will find ways to continue our diplomatic relationship with saudi arabia. that is the proper and most effective way for the united states to act here. >> well, i really appreciate that nuance and that diplomatic explanation to what could and should be done. so now let's just continue one of the reasons that president trump cites and that is iran. you heard what he said. maybe mbs knew. maybe he didn't know. and immediately he pivoted to iran. iran has responded, as you can imagine, with great anger, and also somewhat tongue in cheek
sarcasm. the foreign minter there said, maybe we started the california fires as well, you know, sort of saying this is just excessive, the iran statement in the middle of the statement about khashoggi. so what about iran? i mean what about iran? is it a zero-sum game, again, regarding saudi arabia and iran? >> you know, i think it was secretary of state pompeo said that it's a mean and ugly world, and that's true. it's a mean and ugly world. but that doesn't mean that the united states has to suddenly sell out on who we are in order to be mean and ugly with everybody else. the reality is that we can deal with these challenges. we have to provide the leadership obviously to try to deal with iran, to try to deal with terrorism, try to deal with syria. and we should obviously work with others in that effort.
but it doesn't mean that we have to sell out on who we are and what the united states is all about. we can do this. we've had diplomats in the past who have been able to do this. the jim bakers of the world, franklin roosevelts of the world, ronald reagans of the world, who have had to deal with these kinds of situations and yet, at the same time, build alliances, build relationships but not sell out on who we are as a country. we can do that, and honestly president trump has to recognize that what he's doing in this situation is sending a message of weakness to the world, that somehow the united states, my goodness, we're selling all of these arms. we have all of these other problems we have to deal with, so we're just going to sell out on who we are as a people. that's wrong, and it's sending the wrong message to the world, and it's weakening our position
in the world. >> well, on that message to the world that you're saying, obviously it's sending messages both to adversaries and allies. so there was a recent meeting called the halifax forum in canada. lots and lots of allies go there. it's a yearly meeting. apparently no administration officials came although a handful of congresspeople came, but not very high-profile. they were desperately trying to assure the rest of the u.s. allies that american leadership as far as they were concerned still continued. you know, but the word from there was allies are grieving the loss of an america they believed in as it sinks in they cannot rely on us any longer. this is one of the newspapers that wrote about it. allies are exhausted. they just don't believe even the congressional reassuring voices or those in the administration. they're tired of tuning into the malicious circus of american politics and policies. they're exhausted with our drama and disappointed with our
indifference to anyone else's problem and politics, and they are resigning themselves to a world without american leadership. do you feel that when you talk to people, and what would your answer be? >> i don't think there's any question that the rest of the world is literally astonished at what's happening with the united states. they don't trust the united states. they see this erratic leader that we have, and they just don't know what direction to take. the united states has been a leader in the free world since world war ii, and we have been a leader because people can rely on who we are and what we believe in and that we will be honest with them about what needs to be done. what has happened with this
president is that he has engaged in chaos. he's taken the same kind of approach he did as a new york developer, which is to basically blow up deals, blow up situations knowing that people would ultimately come back and fix it. that's the way he's approached foreign policy. it's a policy of chaos. tear up the climate change agreement. tear up ttp. tear up the iran agreement. impose tariffs. but he doesn't have a strategy how he goes beyond that. so we're dealing with a great deal of chaos right now and not much in terms of what is the long-range strategy. the real test for this administration is whether or not they are going to ever sit down and develop a long-range strategy to basically resolve the chaos that this president has gotten us into. i don't know the answer to that, and the world doesn't know the
answer to that. and that's what makes this a very dangerous situation in the world today. >> well, let me just sum it up, then, some of how people are viewing it in the united states. "the washington post" ceo has said, jamal khashoggi worked for them, that president trump is placing personal relationships and commercial interests above american interests in his desire to continue to do business as usual with the crown prince of saudi arabia. at the committee to protect journalists gala where journalists who are imprisoned around the world and face a lot more danger now since the whole president of the united states is beating up on journalists, after yesterday's statement, the cpj said, if you boil the white house statement down to its essence, president trump has just asserted that if you do enough business with the united states, you're free to murder journalists. nd to saudi arabia and the to world. i mean perhaps that is it.
that's as much of an answer as we can get to the question that you've asked. but i wonder whether you can put on your defense secretary hat and talk a little bit about president trump's love/hate relationship with the military. he's been beating up on the leader, and you were in the administration when they caught osama bin laden, so you can talk about this, on the military leader who directed and oversaw that operation. and then of course we've got the instance of sending troops down to the southern border to face a nonexistent invasion and maybe to just bring them back again once that particular rotation and deployment ends mid-december. tell me first what you think about the attack on the bin laden mastermind. >> well, i was cia director when we conducted that operation, and by the way, we did not brief admiral mcraven on the location of that compound until sometime
in late january of 2011. and within 100 days, admiral mcraven had conducted that mission and killed bin laden. and they did it in a very brave and courageous counterterrorism mission. so the president was wrong to accuse admiral mcraven of somehow not getting bin laden earlier. that was just way off base. look, presidents of the united states, as commander in chief, have to be individuals that do not use the military for political purposes, do not use the military for their own personal purposes, but rather use the military to protect our national security interests. that's what presidents are supposed to do. this president has had a tendency to think that the
entire federal government somehow operates for his own personal use without having any responsibility to doing what is right. that's wrong. and he's been sending that message. he did not go to the cemetery in france because it was raining. he did not attend arlington cemetery here because he was tired. he's been deploying our forces to the border as if somehow our military forces can engage in law enforcement roles, which they are prohibited from doing. these are steps, plus his attack on admiral mcraven and john mccain -- all of that sends signals to our men and women in uniform that they are putting their lives on the line somehow not for the national security interests of the united states, but to somehow serve this
president's personal will. that is wrong. that's not the case. they are putting their lives on the line in order to protect our country, and very frankly that's what the president of the united states ought to be doing as well. >> really important to remember that it's country first. leon panetta, thank you so much. former cia drktor, former defense secretary and a whole host of other jobs you've had that make you so valuable on trying to get analysis on these turbulent times. thank you for joining us. we turn now to nigeria, which is an african powerhouse. it has incredible promise but also incredible difficulties. it is gearing up for its next presidential election. since the end of military rule in 1999, every nigerian president has come from one of two major political parties. enter now oby ezekwesili. she is an outsider. she's an anti-corruption
activist who wants to become nigeria's first female president. she co-founded transparency international, the anti-corruption agency, and she spearheaded bring back our girls to free hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group boko haram. she also wants to help alleviate the massive income inequality amongst nigerians. for example, only 5% of the population there is said to have health insurance. the rest, no matter how poor, have to pay or stay in hospital until they or their relatives can pay. i spoke to her recently between campaign stops to ask how she thinks she can make a dent against the current president and the former vice president, who are both running for president now. oby ezekwesili, welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> so would i be right in saying that yours is a real longshot candidacy? you're one of the smaller par
parties. the main established parties are kind of duking it out between themselves. what do you really expect to achieve by running for president? >> i hope to disrupt the politics of failure, the politics of bad governance and bad leadership that has only produced dismal results such that today nigeria is the world capital of extreme poverty. it's totally unacceptable. that's what i intend to do, to disrupt this and build a nation that is based on prosperity, stability, cohesion, and equality of opportunity for our people. >> okay. so let's break this down because we have a graphic that shows that nigeria has overtaken india as the world's greatest concentration of extreme poverty. 87 million nigerians live in extreme poverty, and it's growing by six people per minute. i guess what everybody will want to know is this.
nigeria is known for rampant corruption. i mean unbelievable amounts of corruption. it is also a really potentially rich state with all your oil, with all your natural resources. i mean how is it possible that 87 million nigerians live at the poverty line or below? >> it is what happens when there is bad governance. bad governance is so endemic when there are no expectations of results from those that govern society, and therefore there's no demand for accountability. and even when there is demand for accountability, there's no incentive on the part of the people who govern to produce results. i was one of the co-founders of transparency international, and we know that corruption is a tax on the poor. and we already know that there are ways to tackle corruption,
to prevent opportunities for corruption, you reduce corruption. and part of what my agenda is, is to deregulate the economy in the kind of way that public officials don't have too much presence in the economy to be able to utilize it for personal gain. and also to complement the actions on the prevention side with a system that punishes corruption every time it happens because then you create a deterrence against that very malignant cancer of action that has kept our country undeveloped, less modern than anything we could have imagined at independence. >> you know, it is extraordinary because all of those things that you say make us sit back and take notice, particularly because we see so much nigerian money coming out of nigeria, spent in the west on high-end real estate, on all sorts of, you know, playground of the rich and the powerful. and i guess i'm trying to figure
out other people have complained as well, including the current president, about corruption. they've all pledged to somehow wipe it out. how will you take on these vested interests, these people who have, i guess, a reason to keep the system in the status quo? >> well, the society knows people haven't taken on them before. i was the one that worked on the fixing of our public procurement system. it was chaotic until i entered government many years ago. and through an initiative that was called due process. as a result of that work, that fix of public procurement that used to be the honey pot of the politicians, the country began to call me madam due process. so the politicians know me. i am not a stranger to them at all. what i did in the transparency
initiative is well known globally. so i am not one is going to be fazed by the strength of our political class. i think that the lack of courage on the part of our society to stare down at these ones that have given us bad governance is now over. it is time to confront it, and i believe that i am the candidate of the nigerian people. we are not -- i am not running alone. as we say, we are all running. all of us that want a different country, a new direction for our country, are running together. this is a contest between the established class of politicians, who have not delivered, and the rest of us. i simply am the candidate who is providing a direction for the rest of society. >> now, as you mentioned, of course, you've been recognized for many of your efforts, not just transparency international, which got you a nobel peace prize nomination, but also you
spearheaded the bring back our girls movement when boko haram stole all those hundreds of nigerian schoolgirls. tell me a little bit about how you came to do that, you know, your experience in public policy, in the public sector in nigeria. >> well, you know, i was saddened. i mean sad is such an under well ma -- underwhelming world to describe how i felt. when i was minister of education, one of my areas had been in getting more girls to go to school, especially in northern nigeria, where for every five boys in school, only one girl would be in school. and so when these girls went to school and were abducted, what i expected from our government was immediate, swift response. but that did not happen, and i was completely aghast at it.
and i decided that i was going to be a voice for them until they all come back. as far as i am concerned, we have no credentials on which to ask girls to go to school around the world until the rest of the world and all of us, especially our government, brings the remaining 112 chibok girls back as well as a humanitarian aid worker who was abducted in the course of meeting the needs of those displaced in our country. >> you bring up another major issue. it's not just humanitarian, but it's security. your country is in a state of war with boko haram. do you have a plan for dealing with that aspect at the source, at the root? there's terrorism, and there's, you know, war there. >> i think that the number one thing is we had research at the world bank that showed that in environments of conflict, the most important thing to do is to
get that community thinking about jobs again, providing economic livelihoods for the people because that then dries up the sources of young people who have no stake in society and who are willing to unleash violence on their own society. so security is a major strategy for me. and the second thing is to completely overhaul our security system and to ensure that thpisy that is tied to research adequately. and the top thing is to make a lot out of intelligence, today's cutting-edge technology means that we can be preemptive. we can be proactive. we can be preventive. that means we must work with our neighbors. we must work with the rest of the world that can offer us support in every kind of definition of cutting-edge,
expensive technology that would enable us to have greater surveillance of our country and people. >> all the candidates running, including yourself, are pro-american. you were educated at harvard for a period of time and, you know, it's the second richest country in africa. what kind of a relationship would you expect to have with the united states and particularly with president trump, who has his own views about africa, the transactional relationship, and also his own -- you heard about what he said about a lot of african countries. i don't need to repeat it. >> i wouldn't be dignifying any of the pejorative words that have been used by the president of america. what i would simply do is show to the president of america that he's a contemporary in the leadership of countries, his country and me leading my own country. and what i would try to show clearly to him is that it is of
interest to america that they should be a leading economy in the world. as we watch the trend of the globe economy, it is very clear that even the u.s. needs to continue to do even more with the rest of the world to maintain a visible level of economic prosperity and trajectory that it has been known for. our country, nigeria, is the leading country in the world. we definitely have a lot of contributions that are notable around the world. and we will do more. africa is going to be the center of our strategy, but our relationship with the rest of the world is going to be on the basis of its strategy to be a productive country, a competitive country, and a country that actually stakes a claim to the 21st century. >> we have a lovely picture of yourself as a child with your father, and he once told you not to dignify a whole load of nonsense. what did he mean? tell me about that relationship.
>> it was an amazing relationship. my dad believed that i could do anything and, you know, spoke it to me so often that i grew up not allowing anybody to invalidate me because as i would say to them, my dad already validated me. so there's no words. there's no claim that you say. there is no opposition to me that can hold me back. my dad said i can do anything i choose to do. >> so that's really adorable. it's really important as well. what is it like as a woman to come up through these political ranks in a male-dominated society and try to fight for the biggest prize? >> leadership is gender neutral. what matters is that i come into this with character, competence, and capacity. i am the better candidate, and the men in this race, even they would tell you that. so i'm simply going to keep on
with the issues that i want to solve and be a problem solver. the country knows me to be that. i am ready. i am ready to do this. i always say to people who say, you're not a politician, i say to them, that's fine. i know one thing. and that one thing that i know is how to care for people. that's what governance should be about, caring for your people. i bring that into this race alongside my character, competence, and capacity. so i'm really the winning candidate in this race. >> well, you make a very strong case. oby ezekwesili, thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you very much, christiane. >> as i said, nigeria is one of africa's powerhouses, a strong u.s. ally, and people go to the polls there in february. no doubt facebook will play a big role in getting out the candidates' messages. meanwhile, the global behemoth is facing its toughest trial yet. the 34-year-old ceo and chairman
mark zuckerberg reigns over an empire that is more populous than any country on earth. but he's facing serious and ever mounting questions about how his platform is used to spread lies and hate and the bare knuckles tactics he's been using to respond. here's what he said in an interview just yesterday. >> well, look, there are always going to be issues. but if you're serving a community of more than 2 billion people, there's going to be someone who is posting something that is problematic, that gets through the systems that we have in place no matter how advanced the systems are. and i think by and large, a lot biggest issues has been fair. but i do think that if we're going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well, which is that we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us. >> but if we've given the world
a voice, look at what's happened in the last year. you've had elections in the last year manipulations. hate speech has gone viral. it certainly seems like this mission has been accomplished in many ways, and there's a whole new set of problems that perhaps you guys didn't foresee. and now we're in a very complicated place where there's not an easy solution. >> yeah. these are complex issues that you can't fix. you manage them on an ongoing basis. >> a lot of people will be hoping they can be fixed. few people have zuckerberg's ear in understanding his business like tim o'reilly. over decades he's been the mediator for honest conversations in the tech industry, and he can count among his accomplishments coining the term "web 2.0". he sat down with our walter isaacson to break down what's gone awry and how to move forward. >> tim, thank you for joining us.
>> it's great to be here. >> let me dive right into what is a big question of our time. why has facebook and twitter and some of these platforms suddenly become so divisive of our society rather than connecting us the way that they were supposed to? >> i think the thing that's so important to understand about these platforms is they are object lessons on how our modern society is built and how it goes wrong. we have a mythology that we live in a world of free markets. but in fact we live in a series of designed ecosystems, and these tech platforms are just the latest and most powerful examples of it. so designers make mistakes. >> so what's a mistake that was made at the original facebook? >> it wasn't really the original facebook. it was just as time went on, facebook learned that the way to get more attention was to, you
know, show people more of what they like. and they had a theory that that would make people closer together. mark really believed that. >> mark zuckerberg thought it was going to connect people, which it has done. >> which it has done. but we saw gradually that there were untoward effects, and those spiraled out of control. and facebook is rapidly trying to come to grips with this. i spent time with mark, and he's taking it very, very, very seriously. >> but what was built into it was an incentive for engagement. >> that's right. and the point is that that incentive turned out to have the wrong impact. and one of the key -- >> give me example. in other words, engagement tends to be something that would inflame me. so it became an inflammatory platform. >> it turns out what engages people are things that make them mad. i mean fox news realized this long before facebook.
they have been an algorithmic system for reinforcing that engagement by showing people more and more of the things they like. >> it's not just things they like. it's things they'll engage in. >> that's right. >> which is things that often get them upset and they'll re-tweet. >> that's right. it's this algorithmic reinforcement. you show people more of what they respond to, and of course that becomes a cycle. >> was one of the problems that it's all based on advertising revenue? >> i think you can have that cycle regardless. but, yes, i think the need to grow revenue is in some sense the master algorithm of these companies and it's the master algorithm of our society. that's the point i try to make it my book which is that it's a real learning moment here for us. if you can see that facebook got their algorithms wrong and we're asking them to change them, why can we not see the design choices that led, for example, us to incentivize drug companies
to sell opioids, for example, leads to the opioid crisis? exactly parallel. we literally have a system of incentives in place that told companies that it's okay to maximize for shareholder value. it's okay to tell the fda, hey, downplay the risk of addiction here. you know, we tell companies all the time that only one thing matters. >> how did we get to a system where the algorithm not just of our technology but of all of our platforms seems to be focused on this one thing? >> i think it's really what we believe shapes what we do. our policymakers came to believe something. after world war ii, for example, we believed that we wanted full employment. we believed that we needed to, you know, rebuild. we'd learned the lessons of world war i. we didn't want to have to go down that path again. we weren't going to go down the
slippery slope of a great depression, so we put in place policies for that. and then we forgot. then we had a theory that said we really have to improve performance of our companies. and there were a series of people kind of putting out this idea of shareholder value, and people said, that sounds like a good idea. let's try it. in fact, it worked at first. >> but do you really think that was the main cause of facebook going down this route that has led us to -- >> no, no, no. the point i'm making is that when you design a system, you have a theory about what works. and we are designing incredibly complex systems today that we don't really understand. and that's the real fear of a.i. it's not of the rogue a.i. that's independent of us, that's become artificially intelligent. it really should be we're building these hybrid systems of humans and machines that are incredibly complex, that we don't fully understand. so we're all like mickey mouse
in the sor serer's apprentice. we have this idea. we got the master spellbook, and we're trying out some smells. a -- spells. and after a while, we find out things aren't turning out as we expected. >> is that because it's sort of algorithm driven too and we lose a bit of the control? >> that's right. i think we have to understand that our society is increasingly algorithm driven and it's not just the tech platforms. it's really across our systems. but tech also gives us the recipe for success. >> you once said that technology is the canary in the coal mine. explain what you meant by that. >> yeah. the point really is that we very often, as we talk about the problems of facebook and twitter today, we act as though it's just facebook and twitter. it's just a problem with tech. and my point is that they are just showing us in a very
obvious way what happens when you have these high-speed -- i call them in my book hybrid a.i.s because they're hybrid artificial tensions. massive collections of humans, in the case of facebook, 2 billion humans connected in this network. basically the human intelligence is augmented in some good ways but also amplified in unexpected ways by the algorithms which are being designed. it's a little bit like the early days of flight, you know, when they were trying to figure out how to fly. we're trying to figure out how do you weave, you know, billions of people into this dynamic system? and we have not figured out the equivalent of aeronautics yet. >> can an algorithm be racist? >> absolutely. and that's of course one of the things that we've learned, you know, increasingly as we look at the design of algorithms, the data you feed into them, particularly as we move into a.i.-style ago go rhythms which learn from the data. if you feed them biased data,
they will come out very biased. that's sort of another version of what we see here on facebook, the fact that the machines can amplify a human bias. >> in other words, by reinforcing what already excites us, the algorithm learns and feeds us more of that, which then reinforces our biases. >> well, in the case of these learning algorithms, you have to understand that, let's say,'s predictive policing algorithm. in that case it's not necessarily dynamic. it's the algorithm is trained by feeding it lots and lots of historic data. it says, well, people of color are likely to commit more crimes. that's because they've been arrested at higher rates for 40 years because of biased policing. if that turns out to be the police, the predictive policing algorithm is going to repeat that process. a white person gets picked up with drugs. they get a slap on the wrist. black person goes to jail. you go go, oh, well, guess what? that got encoded. >> what if the algorithm is not
just biased but it goes against some of our values? >> to me, one of the really big opportunities here is that the algorithm is in many cases a mirror for our values. and once we have encoded it into an algorithm, it can show us what our values actually are. >> until we can tweak it. >> or even say hold on. hold on. >> that's right. >> we now see what's gotten coded. we don't like it. so what advice have you given mark zuckerberg to make the platform better? >> well, the first piece of advice i've given him is to stop this idea that he can somehow discover the values of all the people in the network and algorithmically reflect those values. first and foremost, it has to reflect your values, because you -- when i say you, i don't mean you, mark, personally, but the organization, are curating.
facebook and twitter actually have been making choices about what to reinforce. and those choices are a reflection of their values. and their value so far has been we want more attention. and that value has turned out to be a not very good value. now they have to say, we need a much more complex set of values. so my advice has been, you have to really interrogate your values, and you have to decide, these are the things we're going to encode into our system because we're going to respect the laws of the countries in which we operate. oh, but these might be unjust laws from some countries that we're not going to respect. >> things like facebook are now in the middle. they're curating. they're taking responsibility for what they do, but they're sort of a platform where anybody can speak. do we need a new set of rules for these hybrids? >> i think absolutely we need a new set of rules because they are, in fact, not creating the content, but they are curating the content. so they have to be responsible
for what they curate and how they curate. >> does that mean facebook should have taken off alex jones? >> the question i don't know should be take off anything. the question should be, how do you promote it because if, for example, you are doing a good job of taking multiple factors into account, you might say, well, lots of people want to see this. but, you know, lots of people seem to want to see nigerian scams too. but we don't show those. >> people want to see all sorts of t from -- >> that's right. >> so you have to put your political values in? >> no. this is not a question of political values. you look at this, and you go, this is clearly disinformation for profit. it's not actually political speech. it's commercial speech that is attempting to deceive people. >> what about twitter? what do you think went wrong there, if anything, to make it seem to be a place where a lot
of bullying and hatred and divisiveness have come to the fore? >> you know, i think in each of these cases, the companies have abdicated -- basically, again, with the wrong theory, the wrong theory that they were neutral platforms and also an incentive in the cda exception for being a platform -- >> the communication decency act says if you police your content, you can be held liable for something that goes on. if you take a hands-off attitude, you're not liable for what goes on. that's oversimplifying. it's not what the law intended, but that was the consequence. >> that's right. it's another great example of you can give people the wrong incentives in the design of the system. in this particular case, based on that theory, they said, oh, okay. we need to be hands off. >> if you could tweak the law a little bit, what would it be? >> i think first of all to say there is a class of platforms that is not responsible for the content, but they are responsible for the curation. then we have to decide what is
the responsibility for the curation if you promote things that are harmful to your users? >> that's a very interesting distinction. we have platforms. we have publishers, and you're saying create sort of a third concept, which is curators. >> yeah. >> you have some responsibility, but not total responsibility for what's on. it allows a web 2.0 to emerge. >> what you have is responsibility for the curation algorithms that you make. and so think about it a little bit in the case of fraud and abuse. if you promote a fraud and people are taken in by it, you should be liable. >> end on a positive note. tell me some of the things you're really optimistic about. >> the thing i'm most optimistic about is the human ability to make better choices and to learn from our mistakes. you know, when i look at how we've dealt with past technological disruption, we went through a very dark period
in each time where people were struggling. and then we figured it out. you know, think about the first industrial revolution. you think about the children being forced to climb chimneys and, you know, work in factories, and we basically got over that. we started sending them to school instead, you know? you look at the difference between the choices made after world war i and after world war ii, and we made much better choices to rebuild the world. and i think that we're about to face a really big set of tests in climate change, for example. we will either rise to those, or we will fail miserably. but i like to think that it's going to lead to an amazing rethinking of our society. we have another great set of challenges around this rise of new technologies that will do more of what we used to call white-collar jobs, and they give us again this enormous opportunity to rethink the fundamentals of our economy, to
rethink who gets what and why. and how do we distribute the fruits of that immense productivity because civilization has improved every time we have made humans more productive. and the question is not should we keep doing that. it's just like how do we direct it? do we direct it to solve new problems? do we direct it to make everyone more prosperous? and when we do that, we have a very, very bright future. >> tim, thank you for joining us. appreciate it. >> thank you. so that's really great food for thought, and it's optimistic. a good way to end our show tonight. that's it for our program. thanks for watching "amanpour & co." on pbs. join us again tomorrow night and have a very happy thanksgiving. ♪ uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bea tollman founded a collection of boutique hotels,
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steves: salzburg's cathedral, constructed in the early 1600s, was one of the first grand baroque buildings north of the alps. it's sunday morning. the 10:00 mass is famous for its music, and today it's mozart. enter the cathedral, and you're immersed in pure baroque grandeur. ♪ dona nobis ♪ ♪ nobis pacem ♪ since it was built in only about 15 years, the church boasts particularly harmonious art and architecture. in good baroque style, the art is symbolic, cohesive, and theatrical, creating a kind of festival procession that leads to the resurrected christ triumphing high above the altar. ♪ nobis ♪ ♪ dona nobis ♪ ♪ nobis pacem ♪ ♪ pacem ♪ music and the visual art complement each other.
>> pati narrates: my travels in the baja peninsula have d memorable firsts.xcitings four-wheeling. swimming with whale sharks. new food experiences. woah! mmm. i'm dying. and today, two more firsts for me. i've never seen them, like, in their habitat! sea urchins right from the beach. and deep sea fishing. first of all, you have to teach me how to fish 'cause i'm clueless. we're in los cabos, one of the greatest fishing destinations in mexico. i'm very antsy, i don't know if fishing is for me. in my kitchen, i'm a little better with the whole patience thing. risotto is all about timing. i'm making a velvety, creamy, sweet and spicy butternut squash risotto.