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Fareed Zakaria GPS
The Historic Federal Indictment of Former President Trump; Interview with Geoffrey Hinton about Artificial Intelligence; Interview with Ajay Banga about World Bank and Global Poverty. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 11, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.
ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the program, the Justice Department throws 37 charges at former president Donald Trump, saying he mishandled classified documents. The indictments say the papers laid out everything from America's military weaknesses to foreign nation's nuclear capacities. What does it mean for U.S. security? Should he have been indicted?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I'm an innocent man. I did nothing wrong.
ZAKARIA: Then, artificial intelligence may be the most important development of our time. But is it the most dangerous as well? We know it will replace jobs and blur the lines of reality but could it be a larger existential threat? I'll talk to Geoffrey Hinton, known as the godfather of AI, who says yes.
GEOFFREY HINTON, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PIONEER: The worry is, can we keep them working for us when they're much more intelligent than us?
ZAKARIA: Also, how do you end extreme poverty globally? It is a very tall order. But Ajay Banga wants to do just that. He's the brand-new head of the World Bank. He's tasked with taking global action in a world where the West and Russia are at odds and tensions are rising with China. He'll join me live for his first interview in the job.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's "My Take."
If you want a glimpse into the future, come to Berlin and walk down Kurfurstendamm, the bustling avenue often described as the city's Champs-Elysees. At one of the most prominent corners sits a new car showroom unlike any I have ever seen. Sleek, elegant, multistoried, with a cafe, design center, showrooms and more. As you enter, you see what looks like a Bugatti or a Ferrari, except
more stylish. It's an EP9, a top-of-the-line racing car that has been sold to a handful of customers for around $3 million each. The company behind it is NIO, one of China's new carmakers, which is going to take the world by storm.
Ten years ago, China exported a tiny number of cars relatively. Today, it is the world's leading exporter of automobiles, handily ousting Japan from that position. It is especially strong in electric vehicles. Two of every three EVs made in the world are made in China.
As we think about China's weaknesses these days, and it has several, it's worth remembering its formidable strengths and the degree to which it is intertwined into the global economy. NIO's cars are designed in Munich. It has research and development centers in San Jose and Oxford, England, as well as in Beijing and Shanghai. It assembles vehicles in Hefei, China.
Europe is an interesting place to think about China. I traveled to three European countries this week, Germany, Italy and Britain, and everywhere the conversation turned to Washington's policies toward China. Most of the political figures I spoke with were apprehensive. They were strongly behind the Biden administration's policies toward Russia and credited the president with uniting the West and infusing it with strategic clarity and purpose.
They were far more worried about policy toward China and more generally about Biden's new international economic policies as outlined recently by Jake Sullivan, the National Security adviser.
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown explained the European dilemma. Europe needs an industrial policy, but it cannot afford to mimic the administration's protectionism, he told me. For Europe trade is vital.
Its prosperity is dependent on trade with the rest of the world, including China, in a way that America's is not. Unlike America, Europe imports energy and is not self-sufficient. Despite the surface agreement across the Atlantic, this could become a growing divide. He acknowledged that the administration had made moves to expand trade ties but expressed the concern that all of them are bilateral and regional efforts that might undercut global trade.
They come he said at the dispense of any real discussion of what a modern, multilateralist order would look like. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former prime minister of Denmark, concurred. Europe cannot divorce itself from China, she explained. That would be the end of globalization. That is why we want to de-risk, not de-couple.
De-risking, a term famously applied by E.U. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, is the hardest phrase in diplomacy these days. Even the Biden administration now says that it also wants to de-risk rather than de-couple. Sullivan reiterated as much right here on GPS last week. But many I spoke with in Europe worry that this is a rhetorical change and that American policies and Chinese responses will keep moving the ratchet up.
When people in Washington hear these views, they often tend to dismiss Europe as too passive and pacifist. Assuming that on China the U.S. will have to build a new coalition with key Asian states like India, Japan and Vietnam. But even with these Asian countries, there will be limits. China is a close second to the U.S. as India's top trading partner and New Delhi is well aware that its future growth depends on maintaining a healthy economic relationship with the middle kingdom.
Kishore Mahbubani, the former Singaporean diplomat and author of the "Asian 21st Century," points out that discussions in the West often forget that the world's growth is mostly coming from Asia. He used his own region as an example. In 2000, Japan's economy was about eight times larger than Southeast Asia, ASEAN. In about three years, ASEAN is projected to be the same size economically as Japan.
The largest trading relationship in the world right now is between China and ASEAN. Almost a trillion dollars. And these countries cannot grow without open and vibrant trade especially with China.
America's strategic genius has always been to offer the world not a Pax Americana, designed simply to secure American power and weaken its competitors, but rather a global system that was open, free and fair. We all need a well-functioning and expanding global trading system and multilateral institutions that work, noted Gordon Brown.
Mahbubani recalled that President Bill Clinton often described the need for stronger global institutions by explaining that they would indeed constrain America, but also constrain the new rising powers in the world. He said, "We desperately need more of that enlightened self-interest from Washington these days."
Go to CNN.com/Fareed for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Thirty-one of the 37 counts in the federal indictment against Donald Trump accuse the former president of illegally retaining classified documents. Federal prosecutors say that at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida that doubles as his home, boxes of presidential papers containing classified information were stored everywhere. From a stage in a ballroom to a chandeliered and gilded bathroom.
I asked Tim Naftali to join me to talk about the national security and political impacts of all this. He's the former director of the Nixon Library, a CNN presidential historian, and next month he begins a new role teaching at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.
Tim, welcome. Your training is actually as an intelligence historian. So looking at all of this, what do -- what can we glean from what were these documents? Did they reveal things? You know, how worried should we be?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, for viewers who remember, Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Imitation Game," remember that in World War II, certain secrets were very fragile. If the Nazis have figured out that we were intercepting their messages, the Nazis could have changed their communication system and we were going to shout out, we'd been blind.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith, in order to underscore the severity of the alleged crimes, has actually revealed to us in the indictment the level of sensitive of the documents. So Donald Trump caused to move to the bathroom documents that include code and cipher information, information that we derived from breaking other country's codes.
Donald Trump put in the bathroom or had put in the bathroom material from agents working, putting their lives at risk for us working in other countries. He put at risk material from our satellites that would reveal the resolution of our satellites. All of these are about as sensitive material as we have in the U.S. government. And these related to the military capabilities of foreign countries.
This is not gossip. This is not high-level gossip. This is about our ability to protect ourselves and to protect our allies. One cannot imagine a collection of more valuable information than those that Donald Trump considered his trophies.
ZAKARIA: And when people say, well, but Biden had some documents in his garage and Hillary and the server, what strikes to you as the difference here?
NAFTALI: What's important here is the reaction to the U.S. government. When the U.S. government determined that Donald Trump had not turned over everything, the U.S. government asked for it nicely as it should. Donald Trump after all is a former president. You've got to treat them with respect, though they don't have the powers they once had.
Donald Trump then engaged in a systematic, again according to the indictment, a systematic conspiracy to prevent the U.S. government from reclaiming documents that belonged to the American people and should be protected. There is no evidence that Mike Pence, former Vice President Biden, or Hillary Clinton engaged in systematic deception and conspiracy to prevent the U.S. government from protecting the secrets that we Americans expect the U.S. government to protect.
ZAKARIA: So they all said, in effect, realized, OK, this was a mistake, now --
NAFTALI: They all make -- you know, our government allows for mistakes. People make mistakes. And we're talking about huge amounts of material that move at the end of a presidency or move when somebody leaves office. But when you figure out that something is missing, our system requires good faith on the part of former members of the government. Basically they have to say, well, I made a mistake. Let me help you rectify the mistake.
And normally our government recognizes that and there will be no charges. Vice President Pence, former Vice President Biden now President Biden, and Hillary all engaged in a process to rectify the mistakes they made. Donald Trump stonewalled and apparently engaged in a conspiracy with a valet to make sure that even his lawyer didn't know the nature of the materials he was keeping.
ZAKARIA: And we know that, you know, there was some tweets, you pointed out that Mark -- you know, he talks about the battle plans with Iran and says -- tell that story.
NAFTALI: Well, so you have -- we don't know how but the National Archives figured out that Donald Trump had materials he shouldn't have in Mar-a-Lago. This is in 2021. He's already left office. And he knows through his lawyers that the National Archives wants them back. The National Archives is the repository for these presidential materials.
At the same time that he is stonewalling the National Archives, he is showing off to a group -- actually Mark Meadows ghost writer, his former chief of staff, he's showing off to them a battle plan for attacking Iran. Now why is he doing that? Because he wants to prove to them, hey, General Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, he's going around and saying that I'm crazy, that I want to attack Iran.
Well, let me show you, he's the crazy one. He is the one that put together a battle plan, and I've got it and it's highly secret and by the way, I could have declassified it but I can't anymore. This was caught on tape. This is part of the indictment. So we know that Donald Trump first of all knew that he had classified material. Two, that he knew that as a former president couldn't declassify it. And three, that he didn't care, that he was already engaged in conspiracy to prevent the U.S. government from getting the materials it has to have and it has to protect.
ZAKARIA: You are the former director of the Nixon Library. What is the parallel here with Richard Nixon? Is there one?
NAFTALI: Well, this is a reminder that we've had corrupt presidents before but there was a red line. And that red line was whether the president wanted a great presidency to exist for future generations. For all his flaws, Richard Nixon at certain point realized that he was not going to burn the house down.
When the Supreme Court said you've got to turn over those tapes, he did. He didn't want to. He was angry. It took him a few hours but he ultimately realized that the Office of the Presidency mattered more than him.
ZAKARIA: He responded to subpoenas.
NAFTALI: He responded to subpoenas. Donald Trump to date still believes that he is more important than the Office of the Presidency, that he's more important than the security of our military, that he's more important than the security of our intelligence secrets, that he matters more than every other element of our constitutional republic. That is a line that Richard Nixon never crossed.
ZAKARIA: Tim Naftali, always a pleasure to have you on. Next, artificial intelligence may prove useful in almost all aspects
of human life. But will it also bring about, well, the end of human life?
My next guest who has been dubbed the godfather of AI says it does indeed pose an existential risk. That important story in a moment.
ZAKARIA: When ChatGPT burst into the public consciousness late last year, its abilities stunned the world. Headlines blared that it was able to pass the bar exam and hold human-like text conversations. It writes computer code, term papers and even Shakespearean iambic pentameter.
It is not just that one program. Google, Microsoft and many other companies have their own artificial intelligence software. People have been fascinated and frightened. The fright was heightened last month when more than 350 computer scientists and tech executives signed on to a one-sentence statement that said, "Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."
One of the signatories is a man who has been called the godfather of artificial intelligence, Geoffrey Hinton. Hinton left his job at Google so that he could freely discuss the risks of AI, and that is what I want to ask him about today.
HINTON: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: So first, before we get into the bad stuff, I want to, you know, give people a sense of the amazing creativity that produced AI and the thrill you must have felt. So at what point did you start to realize, as a professor, that you were beginning to -- you know, you were getting computers to be able to think?
HINTON: So back in 1986, we started using algorithm, it was invented by many different people called back propagation, and at that point we create computers to do a little bit of thinking, but it didn't work as well as we hoped. And at that point we didn't really understand that all we needed was more data and bigger computers.
But by 2006 we had that and then we started seeing real progress. We started seeing artificial neural networks, modeled after the brain, being able to do all sorts of things that conventional symbolic AI had not been able to do, like recognize objects and images, recognize speech, and be able to predict the next word in a sentence.
ZAKARIA: For you, was there a kind of crossing of the Rubicon moment when you realized that computers were just getting so good and so powerful at AI? HINTON: So I think in 2012, two of my graduate students, Ilya
Sutskever, who is now the chief scientist at OpenAI, and Alex Krizhevsky made neural nets that were much better than previous systems at recognizing objects and images. So you'd have a million images with a thousand different kinds of object, and previously people couldn't do better than getting 25 percent wrong. And suddenly Ilya and Alex got 15 percent wrong.
And that was a huge breakthrough. It's clear that this stuff was now working much better than previous methods, previous ways of doing AI.
ZAKARIA: When did you start to go from being exhilarated about all this to worrying?
HINTON: Really only a few months ago. So I -- I mean, was always worried about things like what would happen to the people whose jobs were lost to AI and would there be battle robots and what about all the fake news it's going to produce, and what about the eco chambers being produced by getting people to get on things and make them indignant?
All those worries I was worried about. But the idea that this stuff will get smarter than us and might actually replace us, I only got worried about a few months ago when I suddenly flipped my view, my view had been that I'm working on trying to make digital intelligence by trying to make it like the brain and I assume the brain is better, and we're just trying to sort of catch up with the brain.
I suddenly realized maybe the algorithm we've got is actually better than the brain already. And when we scale it up, we'll get things smarter than us.
ZAKARIA: And the fundamental reason for that, I think you've said, is that computers learn instantaneously and every computer in the world if it is connected, learns -- you know, gets to know everything, right? So explain that scale of computing power compared to the brain.
HINTON: OK. So if you learn something, and now you want to convey that to me, what you do is you produce sentences and I try and figure out how I should change the connection strings in my brain so that I would produce the same sentences. But there is not that much information in a sentence. So it's a very slow and painful business conveying what you know to somebody else.
But if you have two different digital computers that have exactly the same model of the world, and one of them sees one document and another one sees a different document, and each learn from the document they're seeing, and so if you have 10,000 computers like that, it's like you have 10,000 people all learning from different data and as soon as one person learns something, everybody knows it.
ZAKARIA: And everybody has intelligence that's strengthened by that averaging, by the -- right?
ZAKARIA: So it's something actually means theoretically that human beings could never get to that place?
HINTON: We could never see enough data. It would take us -- I don't know how long, but thousands and thousands of years to see as much as data as GPT has seen. We just couldn't do it in a lifetime.
ZAKARIA: And so that's at one level again exhilarating to think of the extraordinary power that this computer will have. But worrying.
HINTON: It is worrying because we don't know any examples of more intelligent things being controlled by less intelligent things. I mean, with human societies, you often have dictators who aren't as intelligent as so much the peasants but that's not a big difference. They're in the same league. But here, these things will get much more intelligent than us. And the worry is, can we keep them working for us when they're much more intelligent than us? They will, for example, learn how to deceive. They'll be able to deceive us if they want to.
ZAKARIA: Stay with us. When we come back, more with Geoffrey Hinton.
ZAKARIA: We are back here on GPS with Geoffrey Hinton, the so-called godfather of artificial intelligence who's going to explain his concerns about AI.
So when you think about the -- you know, the concerns about AI, how would you describe them very simply to somebody? What is it that you worry about?
HINTON: So I would distinguish a bunch of different concerns. So it's what I call the existential threat which is about whether they will wipe out humanity. That's definitely a threat to humanity's existence. The other threats aren't existential on the same sense. But it's existential however they've used. They're very bad like they'll make a lot of jobs much more efficient by getting chatbots to do it instead of people.
There'll be huge increase in productivity, and the big worry is that huge increase in productivity, it should be good for us. It will cause the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, and that's going to be very bad for society. Then these things like battle robots where obviously defense departments would like to have robots that replace soldiers. That's going to make it politically much easier to start wars.
There's fake news where it's going to be very hard to know what's true and there's the division into these warring camps by the big companies trying to get you to click on stuff that will make you indignant. And so you get these two different eco chambers.
ZAKARIA: And these are the small problems. HINTON: Those are the small problems. Those are the more immediate and
they're not small problems at all, they're huge problems, but they don't involve the end of humanity. So I don't call them existential. And then there is the problem of, if these things get smarter than us, which I believe they will, in many areas and I'm beginning to believe they will and not too long, like in, you know, not in a hundred years.
So I wish we had a simple solution. Like with climate change, there's a simple solution. You stop burning carbon and it will take a while but you'll end up OK. And it's politically unpalatable for the oil companies but if you stop burning carbon, you'd solve the problem. Here there isn't anything like that that I know of. The best people can come up with, I think, is that you try and give these things strong ethics.
The one advantage we have is that they didn't evolve. We made them. We evolved and we evolved in small warring tribes of hominins. We wiped out 21 other different species of hominid because we're very competitive and aggressive, and these things don't have to be like that. We're creating them. Maybe we could build them with strong ethical principles brought in.
ZAKARIA: And you could do that with the algorithm.
ZAKARIA: Because I noticed -- well, I noticed when you asked ChatGPT a question, say about homosexuality, it gives an answer that is clearly curated in a way to be thoughtful, to be, you know, not to reflect every crazy view about it. But, you know, kind of -- politically correct may be too strong but it's a sensitive answer.
ZAKARIA: So there is some shaping that takes place. If you ask it how do you build a nuclear weapon, it says I won't tell you that.
HINTON: But if you've ever written a computer program, you know that if you've got a program that's trained to do the wrong thing and you're trying to do the right thing by putting guardrails around it, it's a losing proposition. Because you have to think of every way in which it might go wrong. It's much better to start with ethical principles and say, you'll always going to follow these principles.
But it's going to be hard because, for example, defense departments want robots that will kill people. So that seems to conflict a bit with putting ethical principles. There is one piece of good news, which is with nuclear weapons they were an existential threat and so even during the Cold War, Russia and the United States could cooperate on trying to prevent a nuclear war because it was clearly bad for both of them.
And with this existential threat, not with the other threats, but with the existential threat, if you take the U.S. and China, and Europe and Japan and so on, they should all be able to agree we don't want them to wipe us out. And so maybe you could get cooperation on that. [10:35:04]
ZAKARIA: And you could put some kind of guardrails in or ethical principles in around that.
HINTON: Yes. That's our hope. We don't know if we could make that work, though.
ZAKARIA: Are you going to be spending time on solving this problem?
HINTON: I think I'm too old to solve new problems. I've done my -- I've done my bit of solving problems. I will help. But I'm planning to retire.
ZAKARIA: You leave us -- that doesn't -- you leave humanity in a lurch.
HINTON: Yes, it doesn't sound good, does it?
ZAKARIA: Well, maybe your students are going to --
HINTON: My students are very capable. And many of the people I work with are working on this.
ZAKARIA: All right. Well, on that slender read, we're going to have to close this out. Such a pleasure.
HINTON: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the first ever sit-down interview with Ajay Banga in his new role as the president of the World Bank. How will the former MasterCard CEO foster global cooperation in a newly tense geopolitical landscape? I will ask him just that when we come back.
ZAKARIA: The biggest land war in Europe since World War II. The existential threat of climate change. A global pandemic that pushed tens of millions into poverty.
It is not exactly an easy moment to come into stewardship of an organization designed to foster growth and prosperity for all its 189 member nations. But that is what faces Ajay Banga who just finished up his first week as 14th president of the World Bank. He joins the bank from the private sector. He was previously the CEO of MasterCard. Banga will spend the next six months hopscotching the globe visiting member countries. The first stops are Peru and Jamaica, which he will get on a flight to go visit directly after this interview which is his first television interview as head of the bank.
Ajay Banga, welcome to the program. Honored to have you on.
AJAY BANGA, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK: Thank you, Fareed. ZAKARIA: So one more complication it seems to me in addition to all
the challenges you face is that the defining reality right now that we are living with is growing tension between the largest economy in the world and the second largest economy in the world. Does that kind of geopolitical tension make it more difficult for you at the bank because at the end of the day, the Americans and the Chinese don't agree on things. Do you get paralyzed?
BANGA: I mean, Fareed, there is no doubt that multilateralism is in a very different place today than it was some years ago, and that has to impact any institution like ours. But I've made one thing clear to our team and to our board. We're in the business of trying to eliminate poverty on a livable planet and I understand that's our first task, and so while politics is important, we really don't have the time in our institution to get stopped by that.
We have to find the things in common that we can work on. And I spent time in Beijing during my nomination and again speak with the finance minister of China, and we talked about where things can be worked in common. Health care and pandemics, climate. These are things that cut across boundaries and borders. If we look at the skies in Washington, D.C. and New York in the last few days, the smog we have came from a friendly border.
And so I think we have to understand that there are things we need to work together on and that's what we'll have to do.
ZAKARIA: A lot of people wonder whether China is willing to play in the multilateral system or is it trying to replace it or -- you know, in your discussions in Beijing, how do you characterize China's sort of aims and goals?
BANGA: Well, I think every country plays in the multilateral system but also does things bilaterally and directly as fits their own national interest. China is doing the same thing. The question is, is their expertise, their experience, their capability and how they deal with a difficult situation, have they learned all they need to do to be setting the kind of example that we think a large player in the world economy should be doing?
That's where the criticism is coming from. So I think we're all doing this. Every country does something bilaterally, something multilaterally. And my experience thus far, in its early days, is that they're willing engage with us in the institution at the World Bank pretty clearly on these two or three topics that I talked about.
ZAKARIA: So your big challenge it seems to me, and this is something that I think most people don't realize, but after 20 or 30 years of eliminating large amounts of poverty, largely because of the rise of China and India, the pandemic and now the food crisis produced by the Ukraine war have actually pushed maybe 100, maybe 150 million people back into poverty.
At this point, is there a simple solution to that? Is it, you know, largescale debt forgiveness for all these countries all around the world that have had this double-whammy? BANGA: So I think, Fareed, it's more than just debt. Debt is an extra
complication, but at the end of the day, over the last three or four decades, the growth of the fight against poverty benefited principally by the creation of jobs. Some of the best way to fight poverty is to give a person a job. Both for their economic growth but also their sense of dignity, of the sense of independence. And I think we should never forget that.
It's not the handout as much as the job that makes the biggest difference to generations. That's got set back. Yes, by Ukraine and the war. Yes, by the circumstances of other fragility and refugees in Central Africa, in Central America, and Syria for years, all those. But also by climate change. I mean, if you don't get, you know, rainfall in a year, you go from two crops to one. When you go to one, you get rid of the cattle that gave you dairy income. You no longer have the dairy income, you can't afford the labor on your farm.
What do you do then? You bring your kids back out of school to work on your farm. All the gains of getting kids out of a farm to school for a better life got turned back in four years. That's the kind of things that's going on in this intertwined crisis, what people call poly crisis. So I don't think there's a simple solution that says one thing will solve it, like let's get debt fixed. There is one more thing to do, which is why I feel time is of the essence. These have become intertwined issues. Trying to pass them into individual units hoping one magic bullet will fix it, that's not going to help.
ZAKARIA: All right. Stay with us because when we come back I want to talk about climate change. Four countries need trillions of dollars to tackle the challenges posed by climate. How can the World Bank help shore up that money? I will ask the new president Ajay Banga when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with the new president of the World Bank, Ajay Banga, in his first television interview since he took on the job.
Ajay, when you look at this issue of climate change and you hear the proposals which we've all heard, the numbers people talk about are trillions of dollars. Even the World Bank doesn't have that kind of money. How are you going to get it?
BANGA: I think the estimates in climate change in the emerging markets are trillions of dollars. (INAUDIBLE) estimate. Clearly government money, philanthropy, MDB money, people like the bank, we cannot add up to those numbers, although there is an exercise underway in the bank as part of the evolution agenda to see what we can do with our current balance sheet to literally extract more from it, and then there is a lot of interest in governments and philanthropies to act to that coffers over time. But I think that still doesn't do it. We're talking tens of billions,
not trillions in this effort. So the only way, Fareed, is to find a way to get the private sector to believe that this is part of their future. The truth is that renewable electricity today is actually cheaper per unit than fossil fuel electricity, thanks to what's happened in the last three, four years on technology both of generation, but also of storage.
And that's only going to keep improving. So there is a pathway. But that pathway it seems to lead to the developed world currently because of the kinds of risks that people perceive in some of the emerging markets. But I think we have to do is to sit with people who invest in this, understand what holds them back, and find ways in the MDB system to think of a different playbook to take on the risks that they cannot take on.
They must make the return for their shareholder. They have to understand the risks they're taking on, and that's kind of the thing we can do with informed risk-taking. That itself is what I'm looking at.
ZAKARIA: You know, when I talk to people in India, for example, there still is a lot of -- the thinking which is you guys in the West, you polluted the world and you industrialized. We have to get our people out of poverty. We don't have time to think about climate change. What do you say to them?
BANGA: There is no doubt that access to electricity and affordable electricity is kind of one of the first starting points of social and economic development. In every country. I think therefore that's a real challenge for them to work on. The problem is, if what we go through is the same energy, intensive energy, emissions intensive growth model that we've had, I think the world does not have a hope of getting to the right place by 2050.
So we have to find a way to create a transition plan for what we want to get to, and I think there is a number of countries participating in that idea. You know, it's in Indonesia, it's in Vietnam, it's in south Africa, it's in India. There is opportunities here to consider a transition from coal to natural gas to renewable electricity.
ZAKARIA: So you're going to go on this world tour and you're going to go and listen to people talk. One of the things I think in the third world, in the developing world or whatever you want to call it, the non-Western world, there is a feeling that the president of the World Bank should be not an American, not an American former CEO, but should be from there.
What are you going to say to them?
BANGA: Well, my view is that actually I bring a whole diverse point of view. If what you want is diversity at the top, that diversity comes from your experiences and your background as much as it comes from your ethnicity and your gender. And I think I bring some of that. I grew up in India. I studied in India. As Prime Minister Modi would say I am made in India. And I have, you know, come here and worked overseas both in the developing world and the developed world.
I think the U.S. should get credit for thinking of having someone of nonconventional background like me represent the opportunity to be part of this institution.
ZAKARIA: And when you go on this tour, what are you looking -- what are you hoping to achieve?
BANGA: Well, three or four things, Fareed. I want the first world send the message of partnering with others. Some traveling with the head of the Inter-American Developing Bank, Ilan, as a way of demonstrating right from the beginning that we're going to work together. You know, we need so much to be done. We need all shoulders at the wheel. What we don't need is silos in this effort.
Secondly, I'm going to try and meet these governments. Jamaica has never had a World Bank president visit them. I think an island nation dealing with climate crisis and economic crises deserves the attention from us, and I'm trying to do that as well. Meet the local political system but also meet the private sector and some beneficiaries of projects past funded by the bank to get around what it is that makes us who we are and what more do we need to do. There is nothing to beat the value of on the ground knowledge that you pick up when you travel.
ZAKARIA: And when you look at, you know, you had a very successful tenure as MasterCard CEO. I think the stock soared under your CEO- ship. What do you think the biggest difference? Are you even ready for a world in which you have so many bosses, all these nations are going to tell you what to do, that, you know, you're going to have to deal with the politics of it all? You don't have to deal with that at MasterCard. You said do this and they all snap their heels.
BANGA: It wasn't that easy. But, look, I'm in it anyway. And I believe that I -- at my age, what I really want to do, Fareed, I don't want to be an armchair critic. We have real problems in the world. I believe that the arc of humanity and our climate and our people is at a really important juncture. This is a critical moment. I don't want to be an arm chair critic. I have a granddaughter. I want her, when I look at her five years from now, I want to be able to say to her, I tried. That's what I'm trying to do.
ZAKARIA: Ajay Banga, pleasure to have you on, sir.
BANGA: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.