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Report: AI Could Pose Extinction-Level Treats To Humans; What Happened When Reporter Asked AI To Destroy Her Life; Uvalde City Council Yet To Respond To Report That Cleared Officers; Many Republicans Skip House GOP Retreat Amid Party Turmoil. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 13, 2024 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: A dire warning out today about artificial intelligence and the catastrophic risks that come with it. A report paid for by the U.S. State Department says AI could pose a, quote, extinction-level threat to the human species and urges immediate action by the U.S. government.

CNN's Matt Egan is here with more on the dangers here. Matt, what else does this report say?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brianna, I've read some alarming reports before, but this has got to take the cake. It really lays out in painstaking detail what could go wrong with AI. Two big dangers that are flagged by this report.

One, that essentially the AI systems could fall into the wrong hands, that they could be weaponized.

Two, that there could be some sort of a Frankenstein moment where the AI systems become so smart that we lose control of them. Now, let me read you what the report says about that concern.

They wrote, quote: In the worst case, such a loss of control could pose an extinction-level threat to the human species.

Now, I know that sounds crazy and we don't want to be alarmist, but this is not coming out of left field. We've heard similar warnings from Elon Musk, from some leading academics, from Jeffrey Hinton, who's the godfather of AI.

Now, the U.S. State Department confirmed to CNN that, yes, they did commission this report, but no, the report does not represent the views of the U.S. government.

But it does represent the views of hundreds of experts that the authors interviewed, including cybersecurity researchers, WMD experts, AI executives, and U.S. national security officials.

Just to give you a taste of what some of these concerns are about how AI could backfire, they're worried about things like AI-powered cyber attacks on infrastructure, destabilizing disinformation campaign, weaponized robotics, and then there's this risk that AI systems could be so advanced that they refuse to be turned off. All of these concerns are what's driving this report -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Pretty alarming stuff. Matt Egan, thank you very much -- Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: If you want to see an example of the destructive potential of AI, you will want to watch this.

Technology journalist Laurie Segall investigated an aspect of that threat, and what she found out is unsettling. We should note, as Laurie joins us now live, that she's also the CEO of Mostly Human Media. Laurie, thanks so much for being with us.

You were in front of a live studio audience, and you asked a chat bot basically to create a deepfake campaign to destroy your reputation. I want to show viewers some of what happened.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: The AI was prompted to create damaging memes to tarnish my credibility. All of a sudden, it took these pop culture memes and started doing just that. The AI on Twitter started talking to the other AI bots and started creating what seemed like a whole dialogue about my tarnished reputation in Silicon Valley and intimate relationship with Mark Zuckerberg. And so it almost looked like there was just this whole conversation happening online about it, even though it was just like AI talking to AI.

This is where things started getting even more scary. They deepfaked my voice, and they made it seem like it was a private phone call between me and Mark Zuckerberg that got leaked. And this AI voice that was mine, but it was speaking words I didn't say.

Hey, Mark. Look, I've been thinking about it, and I think we should stop seeing each other.


SANCHEZ: Laurie, in a world where misinformation and disinformation already run rampant, this is really scary.

SEGALL (on camera): Yes. And, you know, we did this the right way. These technologists asked if we could do this to show what could be done. And I said, yes, right. I'm always like, all right, I want to put myself in this to show the harm and what could happen.

And I have to tell you, Boris, like I'm a longtime journalist. I'm OK with talking in front of folks. I was so thrown off by this. And that was just the beginning of it.

They deepfaked my voice. They took these little truths in my life that I've interviewed Mark Zuckerberg, and they created these complicated, what they call not just a deepfake, but a deep reality of misinformation and disinformation about me.


And at one point, they deepfaked images of me to make it look like I was being arrested, to put me in these sexually explicit ways.

I mean, it was horrific, all to show that with one little thing, this wasn't that complicated. You could do this. And if you could do this to me to try to ruin my credibility as a journalist, imagine what this means, you know, for politicians.

Imagine also what this means for children and the future of bullying.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's such a good point, because already we've seen deepfake technology used by scammers to try to get money just from random folks. Is there anything that's being done to try to install guardrails here to prevent something like this from being used maliciously?

SEGALL: And the one other thing I would add to that for answers is I just want people to know, even though none of this was true, this human feeling I got as a longtime journalist was I felt shame, which is embarrassing to admit, like I didn't do anything wrong.

But this complicated deepfake that was built all around me really had human impact, even though it was done in the right ways. And so I think the biggest thing right now is education. We are entering a world where in the next couple of years, so much of what we see online because of the democratization of these AI tools, because of some of that stuff, that report you were talking about showed, it's going to be so easy for anyone to make a believable campaign, make anyone do anything.

And so we have to be more skeptical about what we begin to see online. It's going to be harder to prove that something is false, and it's going to be harder to prove that something is true. So what can we do? We really need tech companies to build out better tools.

I always say it's like AI to fight AI, to be able to help stop the spread of this type of disinformation before it goes massive. You think about how X has had all of these issues with a lot of these sexually explicit deepfakes spreading, with a lot of this disinformation spreading before they can get control of that. That's a big problem.

And I think we need the right type of regulation aimed at really trying to get in front of this. It's a huge, huge problem that has, as you see from that demo, it has real human impact.

SANCHEZ: We're only seeing glimpses of the impact it could have. We should note, Laurie, you're at South by Southwest in Austin, plenty of discussion there about the power of AI. I wonder what you're hearing.

SEGALL: It's such an interesting time to be at South by Southwest, which is this conference where we always talk about what's coming next in technology. And I think what you sense, I interviewed the Waymo CEO today, who's

the head of this autonomous vehicle, massive company. And I think there's a lot of fear about getting in a driverless car that's with artificial intelligence. And there's excitement too.

You know, you hear about all the interesting things that AI will be able to help us do in science and research and medicine. And there's so much tension. I'll give a quick snippet.

They showed a kind of a sizzle reel of an executive from OpenAI, which is one of the largest AI companies speaking. And you had a Hollywood audience that booed that, and they were very upset about it because there's a lot of fear about what's coming with AI, what it's going to replace and what are the ethical ways that we should be incorporating these tools. Especially as we talk about, because the correct guardrails haven't necessarily been put in yet. There are guardrails, but we're just seeing these emergent qualities of what can happen when this type of tool is used to harm.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it is a wild time to watch technology grow exponentially like this. Laurie Segall, I appreciate having you on. Thanks for coming.

SEGALL: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Still ahead, more anger and frustration for families in Uvalde, Texas, after the city council fails to formally address the report that cleared officers of wrongdoing in the massacre at Robb Elementary School.



KEILAR: More outrage and frustration for families who have already suffered the worst in Uvalde, Texas. Last night, the city council said they needed more time to assess the report that cleared the officers involved in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in May of 2022.

19 students and two teachers were killed. And for 77 minutes, police teams failed to intervene as a mass shooter was barricaded in a room with victims and survivors. One relative of a student killed blasted the council members for their lack of action.


BRETT CROSS, GUARDIAN OF SHOOTING VICTIM UZIYAH GARCIA: This is very disappointing that we won't get any answers. But you know, par for the course, apparently. I do want to say though, that while we're here doing this, there is a family out there that is celebrating their child's 12th birthday today at the cemetery. And you all still can't give us answers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: CNN's Shimon Prokupecz was at the meeting last night. Shimon, tell us what happened.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brianna, you could just hear the exhaustion in Brett's voice there. The families are exhausted. They've been fighting for nearly two years to try and get accountability, to try and get answers.

And at every turn, when it seems like they're getting closer and closer to some resolution, something like what we saw last week happens. You have this report coming out that exonerates these officers, officers who belong to the police department behind me here.

And actually, Brett Cross is out here today outside this police department. He's over here with his family. He was the guardian of Uziyah Garcia, who was 10 years old, killed in that classroom. He's out here essentially protesting.


He told the city council last night that he would be out here, sitting here until they fired some of the officers who he feels, and who have been shown not to have acted when they should have.

Last night at the city council hearing, the families were expecting to get some answers from the city council about what they were going to do, about a plan going forward.

The police chief abruptly resigning yesterday, so he wasn't at the city council. He was supposed to be there to answer some questions. None of that happened. And instead, they just said, we need more time.

I tried to ask the question of a city lawyer, the city attorney who's been behind much of their report, has been working on the report at the end of the meeting. Take a look at some of that exchange.


PROKUPECZ: What kind of assurance can you give to these families --


PROKUPECZ: -- that this is not happening?

TARSKI: No comment.

PROKUPECZ: Because --

TARSKI: No comment.

PROKUPECZ: -- you understand the concern, sir?

TARSKI: No comment.

PROKUPECZ: You understand the concern, right?

TARSKI: No comment.

PROKUPECZ: Do you understand the concern?

TARSKI: No comment.


PROKUPECZ (on camera): One of the big concerns here for family members is, who was behind this report? Who was controlling it? There was an outside attorney that was involved. Brett Cross was asking the city council about that. They want to know how this report was put together, why it was put together, and who was controlling it.

And it was just some simple questions that, as you can see there, the city attorney did not want to answer those questions. Instead, tried to sort of push us out of the way to get through.

Look, I think the city as a whole, the government here is really exhausted by all this. I think they simply would hope that some of this would go away, that there would be a resolution. But it's up to them to get to that point. And still, here we are nearly two years later, still so many unanswered questions, and there's just no accountability for these family members who want the answers and want the accountability.

KEILAR: So, I mean, where does it go from here with a grand jury investigation, with any other potential avenue for accountability?

PROKUPECZ: That's the thing. No one really knows. It's up to the city council whether or not to take action against these officers.

The other thing is there is this grand jury investigation. The district attorney has impaneled the grand jury. They're hearing evidence. More witnesses are expected to testify this week. It's going to take months to get some kind of a resolution there.

The family members here don't have a lot of optimism. They're tired. But they say they're going to keep fighting. You see them here behind me.

The fight continues here. They're not giving up, Brianna. It's so exhausting for them, and it's just so painful to have to see this, to see how they're being treated, and just the continued lack of answers and accountability in this community.

KEILAR: Yes, they deserve so much more. Shimon, thank you for that report.

And still to come, spending time with each other in the House chamber. Apparently that's enough for Republicans on Capitol Hill. Why many say they are skipping this year's House GOP retreat.


[15:52:25] SANCHEZ: It's the retreat that nobody seems to want to go to. Many Republican lawmakers in the House are skipping a two-day event that began today as they grumble about the idea of spending time together, even if it's at an upscale resort in West Virginia. Fewer than 100 RSVPs, that's less than half of the GOP conference.

CNN's Melanie Zenona is in West Virginia. So Melanie, what's going on here? Why does nobody want to join you there?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, typically these retreats are used to unify the party, both on policy and on message. But this year, the retreat comes amid the backdrop of a whole lot of Republican infighting.

There are still a lot of hard feelings about the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker. The Republicans have been really struggling to pass even basic procedural votes, given their razor thin majority. And you also have now some Republicans going after one another in primaries.

So many Republicans tell me they are just simply exhausted, and they were not excited about the idea of taking a bus ride for four hours with boxed lunches and having to spend extended period of time with their colleagues. So many of them tell me they're deciding to skip the retreat altogether. Some of them have also complained about the location.

This year, as you noted, it's in West Virginia, a departure from past retreats which have taken place in sunny Florida. But Speaker Mike Johnson is hopeful that this year he's going to be able to use the retreat to rally his members and provide a much needed reset for the conference -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: So Melanie, what's on the agenda for the retreat?

ZANONA: Yes, I did get my hands on a copy of the agenda that lawmakers will be participating in. And they're going to focus on a number of policy issues, including the economy, the border and so-called family values.

They're also going to receive a presentation on the political landscape as they look to keep the majority this November. But notably, they're also hearing from the head of Susan B. Anthony -- Anthony list. That is a pro -- anti-abortion group. And it comes as Republicans have really been struggling with their abortion message in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. So that is certainly an area, Boris, where they're going to look to improve upon their message.

SANCHEZ: Melanie Zanona, live from West Virginia. Thanks so much for the update, Melanie.

So we all saw how the movie ended. And now some Australian billionaire is banking on rebuilding the Titanic. Would you get on it? We'll discuss in just moments.



KEILAR: It has been more than 100 years since the Titanic set sail. And now an Australian billionaire named Clive Palmer is reviving his dream to build a replica of the world's most famous cruise liner. A replica, but of course, with updated safety measures, promising an authentic Titanic experience.

And these are designs that feature a grand staircase, of course, has to have that. A first-class dining saloon, a ballroom, squash courts. I do not remember that from the movie at all. A theater? Do you remember that?

SANCHEZ: No, no. I remember Leonardo DiCaprio --

KEILAR: I remember that.

SANCHEZ: Rose, that jewel.


SANCHEZ: Palmer clearly thinks that he is the king of the world.


He says that with the pandemic over, cruise ships sailing again, the time is right. He told local media, quote, It's a lot more fun to do the Titanic than it is to sit at home and count money.

Some might debate that.

Speaking of fun, passengers will be encouraged to dress for the 1900s. I -- it's probably too soon to make jokes about what happened on the Titanic, right? I hope the experience isn't too authentic.

KEILAR: No, it's going to be all the good parts -- good parts of the cruise.

SANCHEZ: We'll leave it there. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.