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Students in U.C. Davis Told to Shelter in Place after Three Stabbings; Writers Guild of America Votes to Go On Strike; President Biden Invites House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to White House to Discuss Raising Debt Ceiling. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 02, 2023 - 08:00   ET



MARC MALKIN, SENIOR EDITOR OF CULTURE AND EVENTS, "VARIETY": It was pretty phenomenal. My friend was just texting me and said how did last night go. And I cursed a little. It was amazing. It's just, it's the Oscars. It's the Grammys. It's everything all rolled up into one. And I get Lil Nas X meowing at me.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: There you go. The video was so great. I saw it on Twitter this morning. Marc, thank you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there is a strike, do you go dark?

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": If there is a strike, yes, I think we will, yes.

SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: They are entitled to make a living. I think it's a very reasonable demand that is being set out by the guild.

STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: These are our writers, and I'll stick myself in there because I'm WGA, too, and they are so important to our show. They write the monologue, the meanwhile, the cold open.


COLBERT: And without these people, without these people this show would be called the late show with a guy rambling about the "Lord of the Rings" and boats for an hour.



HARLOW: Good morning. You see where we're beginning this hour. We are glad you are with us. The writers' strike, we're going to feel it, I think, tonight. COLLINS: I haven't seen this in, what is it, 15 years?

HARLOW: 2007. It's been a long time. Hollywood writers, 11,000 plus of them are on strike this morning. Coming up, what it means for late night, your favorite shows, and movies that are in production right now.

COLLINS: Also, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has now accepted President Biden's invitation to meet next week about the debt limit after a new and urgent warning from the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. She says the government could run out of money by June 1st.

HARLOW: And three stabbings in less than a week in a college town. U.C. Davis students are being told to stay inside after another attack this morning. We'll have the latest on the hunt for the suspect. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

Let's begin here. Let's get right to our Nick Watt. He is live in Los Angeles with what, Nick, what is a string of stabbings at U.C. Davis. What do you know this morning?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we that a third person was stabbed Monday night. A third person stabbed within a week. Now, police are not saying definitively that all three incidents are connected, but they say that there are similarities. The attacks were brutal, and the suspect used a knife.

So, state, FBI officials now involved in trying to find this suspect. Security is upped on campus, a shelter in place. This small college down, obviously, on edge, this small, usually laidback college town on edge this morning as police still try to find a suspect.

Now, the first attack was Thursday. A man known as the compassion guy, David Breaux, was 50 years old, was found dead in a park according to the mayor. Breaux was a well-known figure in the town, would often walk up to people asking for their thoughts on compassion. Then Saturday night a 22-year-old computer science student was stabbed and killed in another park just about a mile-and-a-half away, riding his bicycle back from an undergraduate awards ceremony. This young man, Kareem Abu Najm, was due to graduate in about six weeks. His father told the local station KCRA that the family had moved to California in 2018 from Lebanon. He says we came here hoping for safety.

So Monday night, that was the third attack. A woman says she was stabbed through her tent in what police are calling a known transient camp.

Now, the suspect from that Saturday night murder that police are looking for, they describe as 19 to 23 years old, five-foot-seven, light skin, long curly hair. But while this manhunt continues, as I say, the community of Davis on edge. Guys?

HARLOW: No question. Nick, thank you very much.

COLLINS: Also this morning, Hollywood writers are headed for the picket line, on strike for the first time in 15 years, saying they are not paid fairly for their work. The board of directors for the Writers Guild of America tweeted overnight, about 11:38 p.m., saying they voted unanimously to call a strike effective at midnight this morning. CNN's Oliver Darcy is tracking all of this and joins us now. Oliver, I guess the big question is how long this potentially could last given the last one 15 years ago went one for 100 days. And what exactly the sticking points are here.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, massive disruption taking over Hollywood this morning as more than 11,000 writers are now on strike after they failed to reach that agreement with the studios, and their previous agreement was expiring May 1st. So they have no agreement, they are now on strike.

And there are a number of sticking points. Streaming is really factoring into this dispute between the studios and the writers. Part of this is because streaming has really reshaped the way writers are paid. And so, for instance, they point to residual fees, fees that get for the shows they worked on running on broadcasts, re-airing on broadcasts, they say the fees per episode have gone down in light of streaming.


There are other things as well. The AMPTP, the trade agreement -- organization, sorry, that represents the studios, they said they were willing to move up on some stuff last night, but they were unable to reach an agreement. They are not willing, they say, to compromise on other things. And the writers' guild, for their part, they released a statement last night, and they said that the studios' responses to their proposals have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing. They have opened the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession.

So the big question is how long this will last. You should expect that late night shows will immediately go off the air because they rely on writers to produce those on a daily basis. But fall shows, shows that were supposed to premier later in the year, they could also be pushed back if an agreement is not hammered out quickly.

HARLOW: Your newsletter was fascinating on this, it was obviously the lead. But one the points you make, and I think this is the question, if streaming is the future, what the writers here are saying we need a wholesale change. Streaming often has fewer episodes, for example, so they are getting less pay. So they are saying the structure of how people consume is changing. Therefore, the way we are compensated needs to change.

DARCY: Right, and this is one of the main sticking points here, according to the AMPTP, because the writers' guild says that because there are less episode that are ordered on a streaming show, that means there are less writers hired on the streaming show. And so they would like to fix this. The AMPTP is saying that the writers' guild wants to force studios to hire a certain amount of writers even if they're not needed to work on a show. And so this is one of the sticking points here. I am not sure, obviously, how they're going to reach an agreement. But certainly, the strike now is going to apply some additional pressure to the studios.

COLLINS: Yes, and we have seen how television production has ballooned in the last several years. We'll see how they resolve this, how long it takes. Oliver Darcy, thank you.

HARLOW: This morning a major highway in central Illinois has reopened after a blinding dust storm caused a 72-car pileup that left six people dead, 37 people injured. Police say the rare storm caused zero visibility. These crashes involved passenger cars and commercial vehicles, including two tractor-trailers that caught fire.

We are just 30 days away from a potential economic catastrophe if Congress does not raise the debt limit. And now we're learning Speaker Kevin McCarthy has agreed to meet with President Biden for talks at the White House on Tuesday. The president has invited all four congressional leaders to that meeting, and it comes after an urgent and dire warning from the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen now predicting in this letter the government could run out of money in less than a month, by June 1st. If it happens, millions of Americans would lose their jobs and their benefits.

And despite the planned talks, President Biden is still refusing to give in to McCarthy's demands for huge spending cuts that would gut his agenda.

Joining us now, CNN economics commentator and "Washington Post" columnist Catherine Rampell, and CNN senior political analyst and anchor John Avlon. Good morning, guys.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, guys. How are you?

HARLOW: You say, I cannot say this emphatically enough, this would be catastrophic?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, yes. This is not a traditional government shutdown. I think a lot of people are confused and are like, oh, this is just when the national parks close. No. This is when the government cannot pay its bills. That effects, as you pointed out, the benefits that Americans receive, Social Security benefits, for example, military salaries, et cetera. But even more catastrophically is that you could have a global financial crisis because the relative safety, the risk-lessness of U.S. debt is what basically underpins the entire global financial system. And if all of a sudden we look like unreliable borrowers, that has kind of these cascading effects through other financial markets. And that would be bad. Just to be clear, in case that's not obviously, besides the fact that it would also be unconstitutional. The constitution literally says the validity of the public debt shall not be questioned.

COLLINS: We've worried so much about inflation, whether or not we're on the brink of a recession. This has been the number one question that is always asked to these top economic people and the White House. This is what people at home will be affected by almost immediately. RAMPELL: This is so much scarier to me. The fact that Americans -- if you look at polling data, only a quarter of Americans think it would be a crisis if we defaulted on our debt. It should be much higher than that. Again, inflation is bad. Risk of recession a bad. Banking turmoil, not so great. Global financial crisis, way worse. Way worse.

AVLON: It's also a function of the fact that folks haven't seen it, so it's hard to imagine. You can't overstate how reckless this game of chicken is. It's the opposite of fiscally responsible. It makes democracy look dysfunctional.


And the only people it benefits, ironically, are countries like China who want to see the United States removed as the world reserve currency, because all of a sudden we can't even take care of our own house. So these are the stakes. And this is why this is not a lever to pull to push your own political agenda. Do that through the budget. But here we are.

HARLOW: Was it a mistake for the Democrats not to do it when they have control of both chambers?

AVLON: I think so. There were voices warning this is coming. This is going to matter, this is Groundhog Day only when a Democratic is president. And they had unified control and they could have taken steps to take this off the table. We are the only country in world that does this to ourselves, and we're the one that, frankly, has the largest at stake. So we could have taken it off the table. We didn't. I think that was mistake. Maybe some folks thought they could get a political benefit out of Republicans playing this game. But everybody loses if we go over this cliff.

COLLINS: To their credit, Republicans did vote to raise the debt ceiling under Trump multiple times with no conditions attached. And so the question here, though, is this is the situation we're in. McCarthy has now accepted this invitation to go to the White House next week. McConnell and Schumer are also invited, but they are really a factor in this. It's between McCarthy and Biden to come to an agreement here. And it's basically a question of who blinks first and when.

RAMPELL: I think the challenges, even if you accept the premise that it is appropriate to negotiate with a gun to the head of the global economy, to take the debt limit hostage in exchange for some demands, the problem is Republicans still don't know what their demands are. Yes, they passed this bill last week, but it has across the board spending caps, it does not specify what they would cut because they don't know what they would cut.

COLLINS: And knowing it wouldn't be real, basically?

RAMPELL: And anything that they would specify would be so unpopular. They know that. Are you going to cut infant nutrition? Are you going to cut the FBI? Are you going to cut border security? All of those things are unpopular, which is why they have this vague, unspecified, across the board spending cap plan, which is similar to what they did in 2011, by the way, and they could not keep to in 2011.

HARLOW: They kept voting to exceed their own limits.

AVLON: When Republicans had unified control in particular, what Catherine said is right, but it's also a reason to not take Democrats saying here is what would be cut as gospel because, in fact, nobody news. There are specific proposals Republicans have put forward, some of which could be popular. You might be able to get a side agreement on. Permitting reform, clawing back on COVID spending, we disagree about this, work requirements. Those are areas where Democrats could make concessions but say let's do it in regular order. Let's not do this with a gun to the head of the global economy.

RAMPELL: I think it is perfectly appropriate to negotiate over the budget when you are supposed to be negotiating over the budget. It is not appropriate to be taking a hostage as a condition of getting those demands.

COLLINS: Yes. And with this warning from Yellen, it's basically a slow speed fight we are watching play out to now, the clock is ticking, there is literally a countdown. Catherine Rampell, John Avlon, thank you both for that.

Also, a quick programming note. On top of all of this as we are watching politics so closely here, former President Trump is going to take questions from New Hampshire primary voters in an exclusive CNN townhall. I am going to moderate that event next Wednesday, May 10th, at 9:00 p.m. eastern.

HARLOW: So looking forward to seeing that, really important for him to take voter questions. He is the frontrunner right now in the GOP.

New overnight, Samsung banning the use of generative A.I. on their company devices. They are joining a growing list of companies clamping down. We'll speak to the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, we call him Woz, the biggest dangers he sees in the rise of A.I.




STEVE JOBS, THEN-CEO OF APPLE: For the first time ever. I'd like to let Macintosh speak for itself.

MACINTOSH: Hello, I'm Macintosh, it sure is great to get out of that bag.


HARLOW: Well, computer intelligence has come a long way although that joke would probably have been written today by ChatGPT And, of course, with Steve Jobs introducing Apple's pioneering Macintosh computer almost 40 years ago. Jobs' friend and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak is now among the chorus of tech leaders calling for a pause on Artificial Intelligence citing quote, "Profound risks to humanity." Just overnight, Samsung became the latest and growing list of companies to ban the use of A.I. on their company devices.

Wozniak, Elon Musk, other tech leaders recently wrote in an open letter that A.I. developers are quote, "Locked in an all-out, in an out-of-control, I should say, race to develop and deploy evermore powerful digital minds that no one, not even their creators can understand, predict or reliably control." People listen when Wozniak talks about tech, about all of this. He designed the revolutionary Apple I and II computers, it helped put Apple on the map. The Apple I they built in jobs, his parent's garage back in 1976. So, we're really happy to have him with us this morning. Good morning to you.

STEVE WOZNIAK, CO-FOUNDER APPLE: Hi, good morning to you. It's plenty early out here in California.

HARLOW: It's plenty early, we appreciate you getting up early. Look, you're worried. Elon Musk is worried we just saw the man from Google known as sort of the grandfather of A.I. is quit, because of how worried he is, what do people need to know?

WOZNIAK: Well, you got a little bit wrong about me, I'm not like, worried I believe in fear and living a life of fear. I just believe that when some powerful technology is introduced, we should look that almost all technology brings some good things to us, and some bad things. And we should be responsible. And we should study these things and kind of prepare people for what's common. And take steps maybe to keep it from being too horrible and bad. For example, you know, look at how many bad people out there just hitting us with spam and trying to get our passwords and take over our accounts and mess up our lives.

And, you know, and now A.I. is another more powerful tool, and it's going to be used by those people, you know, for basically, really evil purposes. And I hate to see technology being used that way. It shouldn't be and some probably, some types of regulation are needed. Regulation is telling parties that are producing things, you will obey, you will not do certain bad things. It's like our Bill of Rights, the Congress will not pass certain types of laws. And, you know, you call that regulation. It's not like stopping you from doing your business. It's just saying no, you've got to have some ethical concerns.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm also curious to how you're thinking on A.I. has evolved since recent years? In 2018 you did this interview that I was watching yesterday, you said this about A.I.


WOZNIAK: No machine sits down and says what should I work on? Humans tell it what to work on. No machine can just do it well for us. So, we're building technology that will make life easier for us and where's the lack of jobs? At least where I come from the United States. You know, have people have jobs.



COLLINS: And now, we see what you're saying, and also, talking about regulation. Can there be global regulation though, for something like this technology?

WOZNIAK: Now, there never can be. It's one of the reasons that talk about technology has so many bad sides, I often say those that brought us this digital world. You know, when I look back at some of the easier life days and less worries about the oldest stuff, and things work more. I say, you know, those that Protestants, digital revolution should be executed, or worse yet, make them live in it. And that's -- so, I, you know, yes, so, how can -- you cannot regulate bad people very well.

Could A.I. be employed to spot all these little tricky, tricky little word of spams that are, you know, trying to get your passwords and all that, could they spot that? It's never been used that way. It's being used by people who want to make a name for themselves or make money for themselves. And that never quite goes as well as it should.

HARLOW: I want to talk about --

WOZNIAK: It's kind like, love over money. I mean, I have feelings, I have emotions. And, you know, what, if I read a certain story, I might cry, does A.I. cry? You know, and so it's when employed for the benefit of humans. When we started even with Apple computer or personal computer was a tool that would let humans do more than they ever did before, and be more capable, and in control of their own destiny more. And it sorts of like hard to judge it that way now. Do we ever get to that world where we're happier and happier than they were 10,000 years ago? Nothing tells me that's true.

HARLOW: I want to talk about what you would do. Because the fact I mentioned, the godfather of A.I., as he's known Geoffrey Hinton, who left Google, right? In the last week.


HARLOW: And here's what he said, "The idea that this stuff A.I. could actually get smarter than people, a few people believed that, but most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that." When we started this interview, you said maybe we have to take changes. This letter talks about pausing things, potentially. This is what Google CEO, right? We're hinting worked Google CEO, Sundar Pichai told me in 2019, about slowing down on A.I., if they have to. Here's what he said.


HARLOW: You're basically saying we have to weigh our technological advancement and competitiveness with what it means for humanity.

SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: Absolutely, you know, and I think it's important, and I think it's important, that's what society expects us to do. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: That was then, this is now, should Google slow it down? And the competitors?

WOZNIAK: Well, Geoffrey Hinton is, you know, he won the Turing Award and that's the Nobel Prize, you know, of Computer Science. So, I would die for that I got one close to it. But -- so, and these people that were involved in A.I. from the start. He's obviously one of them, and the one man had CTO at open A.I. You know, and they put out, yes, there are concerns, yes, we should have regulation. And they are very close with the other producers of this technology. So, you, normal people out there, we should be told, here is something that was generated by A.I. So, we can say, you know, I prefer to know things that are always right, and not some that are a little bit unpredictable and flaky, I like the trust.

COLLINS: Wise, what do you think about the political aspect of this, though, because we saw President Biden announced he's running for reelection. Republicans responded with this A.I. generated ad, basically saying it'd be this dystopian future if he's reelected, it was criticized. Are you worried about the harmful effects A.I. could have on our politics?

WOZNIAK: Well, A.I. has beneficial effects and giving us like a lot of good guidance, like being a good reporter, and we've humans should be the editor. There should always be a human editor, and when that's not the case we're going to have a lot of problems. You know, as far as, you know, A.I. being used to -- I don't know, of deep fakes. You know, making somebody sound like a person you know, in their voice and taking advantage of, you know, a mother.

We've seen that recently, and there's going to be a lot more of that than there ever was before. Tricking you into things, tricking is going to be a lot easier for those who want to trick you. And, you know, we don't really have any -- we're not really making any changes in that regard. We're just assuming that the laws we have will take care of it. So, I'm a little, you know, worried that people -- about people being abused more than anything else. Fortunately, I'm not political, but yes, it can be used, A.I. can be used to kind of sway and make it seem like political truths are there.

But people are very different, and A.I. tends to come out with a broadcast that sort of says we're all the same. I am truth, I am, you know, here's a very deep understanding of something. Well, you don't even know what I'm going to feel like eating tonight, you know. An A.I. is just not like that, it just misses a lot of the emotional drive. A lot of decisions we make have an emotional content and A.I. will kind of act like, oh, here's a decision to make, you know, and it's just kind of like monotone sort of borings.


HARLOW: We have so many questions, Steve, we hope you'll -- was I should say, we hope you'll come back. COLLINS: But can I ask one more before you go, actually, because one thing we always talk about here is Elon Musk. Do you talk to Elon Musk ever?

WOZNIAK: I've never actually met him and spoke with him. I admire some things that he's done for the world to change towards electric cars. But, you know, his real motivation is inside this he really appears to be trying to clean the air and all that, gets shadowed by a lot of other things. And he basically got a lot of money from myself. You for cars, I believe things he said that a car would drive itself across the country by the end of 2016. Oh, I had to upgrade to that model, you know, $50,000 and then it wouldn't do anything. I could tell, it wouldn't ever make it across the country. He said, here we have a new one with eight cameras, it'll make across the country by the end of 2017. I actually believe those things and it's not even close to reality. And boy, if you want a study of of A.I. gone wrong and taken a lot of claims and trying to kill you every chance it can, get a Tesla.


HARLOW: Wow, any thoughts on how he's running Twitter?

WOZNIAK: Well, it's kind of bumbling, I can't say good or bad. I'm not -- I'm not really there. And Twitter, you know, probably needs a lot of change and revamping in most people's eyes. So, we'll see. I mean, Twitter, it's a social network. And I pretty much avoid the social networks. Just part of, I don't know, you can get so distorted, and get in groups and people are free to criticize everybody, and they're sort of anonymous, and they aren't judged. People can do illegal things very easily on YouTube or on Twitter. Very illegal things you do point at it, and the companies won't do anything to even shut it down. Other than you can report it, like you can report anything, and they'll take that one instance down, and another pops up like, Whack a Mole. You know, this whole the way the social web works brought a lot of negatives. You can see that movie, The Social Dilemma, and it's full of a lot of negatives.


WOZNIAK: How they treat the users and kind of meld them just to get more business.

HARLOW: It's a really --

WOZNIAK: Love worth it, versus money.

HARLOW: Really important documentary point two.

COLLINS: Yes, and we should note Tesla probably dispute.


COLLINS: What you said about the cars, I know that you have expressed frustration before with what Elon had said the cars to be able to do, what their capability actually was. Fascinating conversation, Steve. We loved having you on and we hope you come back even though it is really early for you.

WOZNIAK: Yes, anytime zone for me.

HARLOW: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also, this morning, a Muslim New Jersey mayor is demanding answers. He says he was trying to write for the White House yesterday with the Secret Service is saying and what the mayor thinks was behind that decision. Mayor Mohamed Khairullah is going to join us live next.