PBS News Weekend full episode, April 23, 2023
♪♪ John: Tonight on "Pbs news weekend"... Recent high-profile shootings reignite the debate over so-called stand your ground laws. Then... A look at how artificial intelligence is being used to create hoax images and sounds known as deepfakes. >> It's almost impossible to assess what is true or what is false. And the scary thing is we don't actually know how that is going to play out yet and what impact that will have on us.
John: And... How climate change is raising tensions over control of the arctic's resources and shipping routes. ♪♪ >> Major funding for "Pbs news weekend" has been provided by -- >> For 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. We offer a variety of no contract plans and our u.s.-based customer service team can find one the fits you.
To learn more, visit consumercellular.tv. ♪♪ >> And with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- and friends of "The newshour." ♪♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
Thank you. John: Good evening. I'm John yang. The United States has joined the exodus of foreign diplomats from Sudan as fighting sends the north African nation deeper into chaos. U.S. Special forces airlifted
nearly 100 Americans -- most of them in bc staffers -- out of the country by helicopter, taking them to Ethiopia. But, U.S. Officials say it is still too dangerous to stage an evacuation of the estimated 16,000 private American citizens trapped in Sudan. Republican senator Lindsey graham was asked about that today on CNN's "State of the union." Sen. Graham: Yeah, I'm worried.
You have got thousands of people in the middle of a civil war. Right now, if I were an American in Sudan, I would shelter in place. And, hopefully, we can find a way to end the fighting, get humanitarian aid, and get our people out. John: U.N. Agencies report tens
of thousands of Sudanese have already fled the country. Millions more are left sheltering in their homes, as food and water grows increasingly hard to get. Former vice president Mike pence has drawn another direct contrast with his former boss, Donald Trump.
This time, on abortion. At a gathering of evangelicals last night in Iowa, pence said trump's position that post-roe abortion laws should be left to the states to decide isn't good enough. Pence said a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks should be considered, though he stopped short of endorsing the idea. Mr. Pence: I don't agree with
the former president when he says this is a states-only issue. I mean, we've been given a new beginning for life in this country. I think we have an opportunity to advance the sanctity of life, move it ever closer to the center of American law. John: Pence says he hasn't decided yet whether to run for president.
On the democratic side, president Biden is expected to announce his re-election campaign this week. John: And, the once ubiquitous retailer bed bath & beyond filed for bankruptcy today and said that later this week it will begin the process of closing its 360 outlets around the country. The 52-year-old home goods chain has been losing money for years and a series of recent turnaround efforts failed. The company said its 120 buy buy baby locations will also begin store-closing sales on Wednesday. Still to come on "Pbs news weekend"... How artificial intelligence is being used to create hoax images online.
And... The race for valuable resources and shipping routes in the arctic, as melting ice opens new possibilities. >> This is "Pbs news weekend" from weta studios in Washington, home of "The pbs newshour" weeknights on pbs. John: This month, in the space of single week, four young unarmed Americans were shot -- one of them fatally -- over simple, everyday mistakes: Pulling into the wrong driveway, ringing the wrong doorbell, getting into the wrong car in a parking lot. These high-profile cases have reignited the debate over self-defense and what justifies the use of deadly force.
According to the national conference of state legislatures, about 30 states have some form of so-called stand your ground laws. They expand on a person's right to use force if they feel threatened. Robert Spitzer is a professor emeritus of political science at the state university of new York, cortland.
His latest book on U.S. Gun policy is "The gun dilemma: How history is against expanded gun rights." There are differences from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in these laws, but what is the general idea of stand your ground laws? Prof. Spitzer: There are two
parts to stand your ground laws that are relevant. The first is the general idea that if you are in a public place and attacked or somebody is about to do you grievous bodily harm or kill you, instead of leaving this public place if you can do so safely, which is a standard some states have, stand your ground says you ca state and defend yourself. That is the stand your ground law, which is somewhat controversial in legal circles. There's an added component to this when the state of Florida enacted a heightened stand your ground law in 2005 that not only adopted the stand your ground standard but made it as they said in the law, an absolute presumption that an individual who kills or harms another has acted in self-defense and cannot be prosecuted.
This begin the spread of a heightened stand your ground law in many states that changed the legal presumption. If you make a stand your ground claim, all you need to do is say I felt my life was in danger or I was going to be grievously harmed. That standard places the burden on investigators, police, prosecutors, to make the case that no, you did not face the threat you claimed.
The shift in the legal standard has opened the door for people to make stand your ground type claims. In many instances, not all, to avoid any kind of prosecution. That widening of stand your ground, standard ground on steroids, some call it a license to kill or shoot first laws, that has come to the country's attention in recent years.
John: Where does this idea come from? Is it rooted anywhere in the history of gun laws in America? Prof. Spitzer: Stand your ground laws taken older idea, something called -- take an older idea, something called the castle doctrine, which goes back to the middle ages, a person's home is one's castle. Which is to say you have a right to retreat into your home and feel safe and if someone intrudes in your home, you are entitled to defend yourself and not leave your home. That idea goes back to the middle ages in Britain.
It came to the United States. In the 19th century, another idea evolved, and that was the stand your ground idea. That is to say, if you are in a public place, the principle of castle doctrine could apply to you in the public realm -- that is to say, instead of safe retreat, which is the legal standard even today in many states, you could be forced with force. John: The sponsors and backers of these bills said it was intended to curb crime. Is there any way of telling the results of these laws? Prof. Spitzer: There is zero
evidence that stand your ground laws in recent years have deterred crime or improved public safety. And numerous studies have demonstrated that what we see when these stand your ground laws are enacted is an increase in homicide and gun homicide. Several studies have found an increase between 8% and 11% and homicides in states after they adopt these laws. The state of Missouri, which has come under focus in recent days, adopted a stand your ground law in 2016, and a limited permitting for pistol carrying. Missouri witnessed a larger increase in its homicide rate thereafter.
In addition there is a race problem, which is that these laws tend to be administered in an inappropriate way between the races. If a white person kills a black person and makes a stand your ground claim, that claim is much more likely to be accepted than the reverse. There are studies that support that conclusion. It is deeply problematic and indeed law enforcement and prosecutors have generally opposed to the enactment of these laws. John: You mentioned permit list concealed carry. These trends, we have the 26 state, Florida, you don't need a permit to concealed carry, combined with stand your ground, what could be the effect? Prof. Spitzer: It means more
civilians owning guns and more civilians carrying guns with them in society in now 26 states. Civilians lack the training, skill, judgment, and the likelihood of mistakes or road rage or spontaneous anger resulting in the deployment and firing of a gun by a person carrying it much greater and the murder statistics bear that out. John: Robert Spitzer, thank you very much. Prof. Spitzer: You are very welcome.
♪♪ John: As technology grows more sophisticated, so does the potential for deception. Last month, images went viral purporting to show police arresting Donald Trump and the former president in an Orange prisoner's jumpsuit. But they were fakes -- trump hadn't even been indicted yet. There have been lots of other so-called deepfakes on social media, including an image supposedly showing pope Francis wearing a stylish puffy jacket. William brangham spoke with jack stubbs, the vice president of intelligence at graphika, a research firm that studies online disinformation.
William: Jack stubbs, thank you so much for being here. Before we get into the weeds of this, can you just start with a clear definition of what a deep fake actually is? Jack: It's a good question, and it's one that probably a lot more people are asking themselves than they were a few months ago. Deep fake is often the word used to describe a piece of media content that is being created by artificial intelligence.
And typically you would use the -- use deep fake to refer to ai generated media content that is also misleading. So portraying something that hasn't happened. William: So I showed some of those examples of deep fakes that we've seen circulating recently. How else are deep fakes being used today? Jack: I mean, we see this type of technology being used across the board and a lot of it has a very legitimate use case. You know, some fantastic pieces of art, for example, have been created using this technology.
But unfortunately, you know, as with anything, people will use it for good things also people out there will use it for less good things and some that are outright bad. We study and kind of analyze a whole host of different harmful online behaviors from , politically motivated influence operations by foreign nations to coordinated harassment campaigns. And what we're seeing is that this technology is kind of having an impact across all those different arenas.
William: And how easy is this technology to use? I mean, I think people who are familiar with old school sort of photoshop, and creating those images required a certain level of technical know-how. Is this technology similarly difficult to master? Jack: Well, that's one of the things that's really interesting and that's probably how much stuff has changed over the last six months. So this type of technology using computers to create images or video, it's been around for a long time, right? I mean, special effects have existed in the movies for decades, and they've got increasingly good. The what we're seeing now is that the sophistication of the technology is increasing, but at the same time, it's becoming more accessible. So the majority of these tools are now available for anyone to use on the internet for just a handful of dollars and a subscription fee. And that means more people can do it and the stuff they're able to do with it, there's a wider variety of outputs.
William: I mean, some of these examples are pretty harmless. I thought the pope looked pretty swanky in that puffy coat. But it's not too hard to imagine the darker side of all of this. Can you sketch out some of the scarier possibilities for this? Jack: Yeah, possibilities and also things we've seen. So for example, we very closely track state aligned influence operations from a host of different countries that are targeting political conversations in the united States and other western countries. We recently saw a Chinese state aligned influence operation using a.I.-generated fictitious
avatars in their videos to create content about domestic political issues like gun violence, and then try and distribute them online to influence the conversations that authentic online people were engaged in. William: Do we have anyway -- I know this is tricky to measure -- but is there any way to know whether or not people are actually being fooled by these things? Jack: It's very tricky to measure and it probably comes down to a case by case basis. But I mean, that image of the pope in a swanky puffy jacket is a good example. A lot of people, including myself, saw that and thought, it's probably true and it's quite funny. Most of these outfits, whether it is ai generated video or images they don't stand up to , kind of deeper inspection and scrutiny. You'll see that maybe the hand is actually quite blurred or they're often quite bad at showing text.
But they're good enough to basically kind of pass a cursory glance. And that's the nature of the internet, right? It's an attention deficit environment. People don't look at things for more than a few seconds before making a reaction or feeling a certain way.
William: We saw recently with regards to artificial intelligence that Elon Musk and another of other prominent tech people called for a moratorium, a sort of pause on the development of those technologies. Has anyone called for a moratorium on the use of deepfakes? Jack: Not that I am aware of, and I'm not sure that would be practical or possible to enforce honestly. William: Because the cat is out of the bag, so to speak? Jack: Yeah, the cat is out of the bag, the technology's available and folks are going to express themselves in good and bad ways, you know, regardless of what we try to do about it. And to just emphasize, there are a lot of really positive and legitimate use cases for this technology, not just in terms of deepfake images, but when you think about the technology we now see with language models and things like chat gpt this is an , amazing tool.
I mean, it could organize holidays for you and write emails and basically be a personal assistant. But as with any technology, as well as these legitimate kind of good faith use cases, we'll see that bad actors will use it for bad use cases. Whether that is conducting an inauthentic influence operation or coordinating an online harassment campaign. William: You're part of an organization that studies disinformation. How do we go about helping people combat this? Jack: I think we need to talk about it, and not particularly original, but kind of tried and tested answers. A lot of it comes down to education and media literacy.
As we were discussing earlier many people don't interrogate , the sources of media that they see online for more than a couple of seconds. But we need to ingrain a reaction of the people of this is a really interesting and funny picture of the pope in a puffy jacket. Is it actually true? How do I know that and how is it making me feel? What is going to be my reaction after I've kind of made that more informed and thoughtful assessment? William: You mentioned how if you really scrutinize these images currently, you can usually find flaws in the visual detail that are a tip off. But we know that technology is getting better every day and will continue to get better. Do you think in this ongoing war between fact and fiction, which side is going to win out? Jack: I can't say which side is going to win out.
And I want to be optimistic. You know, humans have existed for a long time and technology has had multiple leaps forward that has brought these really profound impacts to the way we live. And, you know, for the most part, we're actually still live in a good place, but we're accelerating in terms of the speed at which we're heading towards the situation that some people refer to as zero trust. You know, this this environment, particularly online, where it's almost impossible to assess what is true or what is false. It's not just being presented as something that never happened that is real, on the flip side, where that can be perfectly real legitimate, authentic , events, but it's impossible to verify that's the case.
A good example of this would be the access Hollywood tape from a few years ago. If that was released today, it'd be very easy to argue that that was real and be very hard to prove otherwise. William: Jack stubbs, thank you for being here. Jack: Thank you for having me. ♪♪ John: New research shows that climate change is causing the Earth's ice sheets to shrink much faster than previously thought -- the annual rate of sea ice loss has more than tripled since the 1990's.
In the arctic, melting ice is raising geopolitical tensions, kickstarting a race for potentially priceless minerals, oil deposits and shipping routes. Lisa Desjardins takes us into the global contest at the top of the world. Lisa: Ice in the arctic is getting thinner by the day.
The endless, thick ridges of ice and landscapes of snow are on the way to being things of the past. That thinning is transforming, making the arctic easier to navigate, drill and mine, bringing new possibilities. Pres. Biden: The energy that's going to be produced there estimated would account to 1%, 1% of the total production of oil in the world.
Lisa: But it's also bringing new problems. Edward: It's warming up four times faster than any other part of the world. Lisa: Edward Struzik is with the institute for energy and environmental policy at queen's university in Canada. He's journeyed to the arctic almost every year for the last four decades.
Edward: I was in the arctic last summer and what struck me was the number of exploration sites, rare Earth mining exploration sites that dotted the landscape. Lisa: And more are coming. Sen. Murkowski: This is an extraordinarily significant project for the state of Alaska. Dan: This is a really important question, not just for Alaska, but for America. Lisa: Last month the Biden administration gave final approval for the willow drilling project long sought by one of , the country's biggest oil companies, conoco Phillips.
On the one hand, it could be an economic boon including an , estimated $8 to $17 billion for state and federal governments, but environmental and indigenous groups estimate the oil produced will add emissions equal to an extra 1.7 million cars on the road for 30 years. Karen: This nation has a great opportunity to invest in the things that could build a stronger economy, that could help us be more prepared for the impacts of climate change, that can demonstrate our moral authority and leadership in the world.
Lisa: Alaskan Karen pletnikoff runs the environment and safety program at the aleutian pribilof islands association, an area directly affected by projects like willow. Pletnikoff worries how opening up this region could impact indigenous communities there. Karen: The unangax people have been on our islands and waters for 10,000 years. We want to see another 10,000 years. Lisa: But now some world powers increasingly are eyeing the arctic and glaring at one another. Look at the map.
On one side of the arctic sits Greenland, Canada, and the U.S. Add up their northernmost coastlines and they still fall short of Russia's arctic border of 15,000 miles -- 53% of the arctic frontier. And with Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Russia is moving away from collaboration. Edward: The Russians have been a signatory to many international agreements on monitoring climate, weather, pollution, search and rescue, polar bear research, whale research, peatland ecology.
And I find it really kind of tragic, you know, that the geography of hope is now turning into the geography of despair. Lisa: As Russia's slips away from diplomatic ties, its military forces are expanding. In February, Russian bombers flew over the bering sea, close to Alaska and Canada's borders. U.S. And nato allies responded
last month with a joint military exercise in Norway. It is a climate-driven, military posture. Prof. Klare: The arctic is
becoming very important as a future battlefield. Lisa: Michael Klare is the author of "All hell breaking loose" about the military and climate change. Prof. Klare: The more we look into the future, climate change is going to have an increasingly severe impact U.S. -- On U.S.
National security. And, of course, the arctic is one area where that's especially the case. Lisa: That thought is echoing in the halls of congress. Alaska senator Lisa murkowski recently warned -- sen. Murkowski: The reality is that the threats that that we're watching very very carefully -- where are they? It's Russia.
It's China. We are the eyes and ears. We are protecting that front line. Prof. Klare: Remember the
balloon that came over the United States, went across Alaska on its way to the U.S. Because that's the way planes or missiles or balloons will travel from China to the United States or from Russia to the united States. The arctic is the shortest route. Lisa: Arctic water routes, appearing for the first time in recorded history, could cut global shipping distances by over 4000 miles -- about 2 weeks of precious travel time. Claims of ownership and sovereignty are already being tested in these new open waters.
For example, Canada claims jurisdiction over the northwest passage, but that ownership is challenged by the U.S. And others. Edward: If China decides at some point that they're going to test those waters and pass through what is Canada going to do? , Prof. Klare: For China, the
arctic is important because it's the leading shipper of goods, imports and exports in the world. And a passage through the arctic from the pacific ocean to the atlantic ocean would be extremely useful to them if that were to open up. Lisa: Is the whole map going to change? Will maps in the future look significantly different? Prof. Klare: I think we are going to be looking at the map differently. There will be more traffic, there'll be cruise ships going into the arctic, more fishing will be there.
And of course, you have this military competition occurring in a place where where that never occurred before. Lisa: The old arctic ice pack stood and was elected the isolated for thousands upon thousands of years. But now a new arctic is a modern flashpoint for the world's biggest struggles over resources and the future of the Earth itself. For "Pbs news weekend," I'm Lisa Desjardins. ♪♪ John: And that is "Pbs news weekend" for this Sunday.
I'm John yang. For all of my colleagues, thanks for joining us. Have a good week.
>> Major funding for "Pbs news weekend" has been provided by -- >> For 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of what they like. Our u.s.-based customer service team can help you find a plan that fits you.
To learn more, visit consumercellular.tv. ♪♪ >> And with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions -- ♪♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. Thank you. ♪♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.]