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Quest Means Business

Singapore Airlines Jet Diverted After Severe Turbulence; Both Sides Rest In Hush Money Case, Trump Doesn't Testify; OpenAI Pauses ChatGPT Voice Similar To Johansson's. Aired 4:25-5p ET

Aired May 21, 2024 - 16:25   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A moment or two later after that interview with Benjamin Netanyahu, hello, I'm Richard Quest. QUEST MEANS

BUSINESS. Let me bring you up-to-date.

An investigation underway after the rare death of a passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence.

The pictures taken afterwards give an idea of how violent the shaking was. Objects thrown about the galley, the oxygen masks dropped, and bottles

littered across the floor of the 777-300.

At least 71 people were injured. They were taken to a hospital in Bangkok and the flight was diverted. It was SQ 3201 from London to Singapore. In

Bangkok now is Ivan Watson.

Ivan, what do we know about those who were injured?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. There are reports that at least 70 people have been hospitalized here in Bangkok

after this Singapore Air flight was hit by what Singapore Airlines describes as sudden extreme turbulence within the last hour or so, a

special flight has taken the remaining passengers from Bangkok and they are headed now towards Singapore, at least 131 passengers from flight SQ 321,

but big questions now main about how this could have happened, which just rocking a commercial airliner and causing at least one death, and scores of

people to be injured.


WATSON (voice over): Injuries and death after a moment of terror 30,000 feet in the sky. A Singapore Airlines flight hit with severe turbulence,

throwing some passengers around the cabin just moments after the seat belt signs was switched on.

Lighting and air ventilation patient tubing spilling out from the ceiling, food trays from breakfast littered across the floor.

Emergency workers raced to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Tuesday afternoon after the flight turned deadly. Traffic control on the

tarmac quick to redirect ambulances and set up a makeshift medical tent for injured passengers.


Flight SQ 321 departed from London and was on route to Singapore, but severe turbulence forced pilots to make an emergency landing in Thailand.

The condition of the skies resulted in the death of one person while aboard the flight, many others now in critical condition with dozens more injured.

KITTIPONG KITTIKACHOM, GENERAL MANAGER, SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT (through translator): The plane landed at the airport and the medical team was sent

to the scene. Many injuries occurred, so the airport had to issue an emergency plan. All our teams went to help.

WATSON (voice over): The airline has launched an investigation into the incident with the British Embassy also deploying officials to support those

in hospital, but passengers left with the question of how this all went so wrong.


WATSON (on camera): Now, Richard, Singapore Airlines, it says that the extreme turbulence hit suddenly as the plane was flying over Myanmar. CNN's

Weather team has done an analysis of satellite data at the time and suggests that there were some rapidly developing thunderstorms in that area

and that they possibly could not have been detected by radar when this happened.

Of course, we will probably learn more in the investigation that will move forward from there. Meanwhile, the crew of the plane, they are not being

allowed to leave right now and some of them were in fact injured in this very frightening incident -- Richard.

QUEST: Ivan Watson in Bangkok where it is in the very early hours of the morning.

Ivan, thank you.

Talking about the data that Ivan was saying, the data from FlightRadar24 shows this suspected moment of the incident. Now, if you look here, what

you're looking at here is the rate of altitude change, the vertical rate of ascent or descent. And as you can see, it is the dramatic way -- if I just

pushed the right button and hopefully, it will do it -- it is the dramatic way in which the movements take place.

Once the plane is in movement as it bounces up and down, then you can get the idea that actually the number of feet it is moving is not that great.

Its 150 up, 150 down; 50 up, 50 down. But as the chart shows, the velocity of that movement is what makes all the difference.

I want to just try and highlight that once more for you now, for some reason it is deciding it is not going to play the game with me.

Mary Schiavo is with me and join me.

This is really what the point is because we were talking earlier, I've got the actual data numbers, it is not going up and down by many hundreds of

feet, but the rate at which it does, going from suddenly up at 900 feet to down 1,200 feet, that's what does the damage.

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: That's right. It is the sharp drop and the sharp rise, not necessarily as really early reports, oh, it was 6,000

feet, no. It wasn't a 6,000 foot drop, but it was a precipitous drop and that's what does it, and even people had their seatbelts fastened.

You know, there has been so much talk about, it is always keep your seatbelt fastened, but they could be hit by flying objects, parts of the

plane. We saw the plane dropped the lighting panels and ventilation panels.

And so even if you're following all the rules or buckled up, you could have been hurt.

QUEST: Now, why do you think the crew either from Ride Reports from planes ahead or from their own weather radar onboard or from the very

sophisticated meteorological services that SQ will have. Why wouldn't they have known more about this?

SCHIAVO: Well, that's a very good question, and I think the investigators well get into that. Did they get all of the signals? Did they get all the

weather reports? The PIREPS pilot reports of other pilots, as you know about other pilots who have gone before let other pilots know what they're


So what did they know? It will all be on the CVR and some on the flight data recorder. And of course, as a commercial airliner, they would have to

ask for deviations from their routes and from their altitude and perhaps they just didn't have the information soon enough.

I did read some passenger reports that the seatbelt light went on just a little bit, you know, minutes or seconds before this precipitous climb and

drop or rather drop and climb, so maybe there just was not enough time for the pilots to react.

QUEST: If we look again at the rate of altitude change, because this sort of goes to the question of the aircraft itself. Now, there you have these

fairly dramatic changes of going up and down. But, I think it is important for people getting on planes anyplace with 350s, 777s, 73s, 820s, whatever.


The plane is well capable of these sorts of magnitudes. It is not going to bring down the aircraft.

SCHIAVO: That is exactly right.

When I was an aviation professor, I used to use a video right from Boeing itself about building the 777 and in that video though, they had to stress

the wings for certification to the point where they snap off of the fuselage in the testing facility and it was easily 45-degree angle up from

straight and down from straight and they held tight.

So yes, the plane should hold and should hold tight. And I also dug down in some of the data and they did have right about the same time, some extreme

wind changes from ten to 20 degrees up to 89 -- speed -- wind speed up to 89 so there was some variation in the wind speed, so I think you get it.

They hit some bad weather.

QUEST: Do you think any point, the pilots lost control of the aircraft because it would have been on auto throttle. The autopilot would have been

on, it would aim to correct unless it was outside the parameters within. What do you think?

SCHIAVO: Well, I am hoping not. I mean, they probably are calling this an upset event, meaning that there was momentary loss of control, not the

plane was upside down for the lay people, but I would hope not. But that is going to be part of the investigation. I will be interested to know if it

shows that at any point control was lost.

QUEST: Mary, I am always grateful, as always. Thank you so much. Thank you, Mary Schiavo for joining me.

Now, the other news I need to bring you. The defense has rested. Testimony is finished and Donald Trump did not take the stand in his historic hush

money trial in New York.

Lawyers for both sides are debating the jury instructions with the judge. The jury has got a week off due to Memorial Day holiday and the closing

arguments are set for next Tuesday.

A whirlwind few weeks, total of 22 witnesses testifying, including, of course, Michael Cohen, the former fixer. Defense witness, Robert Costello,

an attorney connected to Cohen.

Richard Klein is with me, professor at Touro Law School and a former senior trial criminal defense lawyer.

Now, we get to the really difficult questions. The judge is basically going to tell them beyond a reasonable doubt. He is going to tell them you're not

going to convict him because Donald Trump is not a nice man or he is a nice man, or you think he is good or he is a good politician, there has got to

be a case in terms of a crime, but it is not going to be easy getting that balance right.

RICHARD KLEIN, PROFESSOR AT TOURO LAW SCHOOL: I completely agree with what you said. I mean, I think this case is basically about Trump and about

Michael Cohen, and I think the way the jurors react to Michael Cohen during his testifying and what they are presenting of Trump is, is what's going to

control their verdict.

But I wanted to get back to something you said in the beginning a couple of seconds ago, in that the jury now does have a week off. They're often until

next Tuesday and that is extremely disturbing for anyone that is just interested in a just verdict.

These jurors are not sequestered. Sequestering means that they are put in a hotel. They can't watch any media and they can't read any newspaper

accounts and they can't speak to anyone about the trial, but that's not true with these jurors.

They are simply on their own now for six days, I think it is inconceivable that they are not going to be influenced by how the media is covering it.

It is inconceivable they are not going to talk to people about the trial.

So I think that that whereas the jurors, they are only supposed to base their verdict on the testimony, the events during the course of the trial,

they are going to be influenced by all of these other factors, and that is disturbing.

QUEST: Right, but I read the judge what he said, he basically said, look we could start now, but there is not much point because you've got Memorial

Day, we might as well start next week when we can have a clean run.

So he didn't really have a huge -- I mean, short of sequestering them, but even that might have been a bit dramatic for a week.

KLEIN: No, I think you're right. It would have been dramatic, but look at the alternative. The alternative now is that the jurors are supposed to

follow the judge's charge not to read anything, not to see anything, not to talk to anyone about the case, and I think that is just expecting too much

of human beings who have been swept up for the last weeks in this trial and the way the whole world around them is just focused on this trial.

QUEST: Rarely have I come up or seen a case, which so exemplifies this idea of beyond a reasonable doubt because in a sense, Donald Trump, whatever --

you know, at the end of the day, it is going to -- who do you believe? Cohen or Trump?

And if Cohen is a disreputable witness and a disreputable person, then Donald Trump is entitled to the benefit of that doubt, is he not?


KLEIN: Well, I don't -- I think Michael Cohen is not just this disreputable, this is someone who has pled guilty to fraud and to deceive

and to lying and to cheating on his tax returns, was sentenced to a prison term initially of three years, then additionally pled guilty, having taken

an oath to lying in Congress. So this is someone who is also disbarred.

He is not just disreputable, he is not someone who we've heard from all the witnesses, for many of the witnesses who testified at trial that is rather

an unpleasant person, but he is someone who fits the model of person who really just can't be fully believed and to get to your point, to believe

him beyond any reasonable doubt.

And I think the prosecution's case does depend on Cohen because in spite of all the documents which do show that there was payoff, it has to be linked

to Trump and the only person who connects Trump to the payoff is Michael Cohen.

QUEST: Which comes back to my point, which I think we are at that Donald Trump is -- if you will, the benefit has to go to Donald Trump of Michael

Cohen's clay feet, if you will.

KLEIN: Well, benefit meaning just beyond a reasonable doubt and again, I think any lawyer will tell you that even though the judge charges beyond a

reasonable doubt, it often doesn't really require that of the jurors.

Certainly if there are jurors on this case who want to get Trump, for the jurors on this case, who are very much antagonist to everything that Trump

has done or if there are jurors sitting who want to do whatever they can to make it impossible for Trump to be re-elected, they are going to say, I

don't care about this beyond a reasonable doubt, lock up this guy. This guy is so despicable. I've hated him for all of these years.

And if I can just go back to one point we had talked about earlier, which is that the fact that the jurors aren't sequestered, the jurors are very

likely to see Trump's daily attacks on this judge and for all of that we've heard, is that this judge, Juan Merchan has been a stellar, has been a

model of acting appropriately, being very dignified.

Yet, the jurors are likely to see Trump's daily attack on this corrupt and conflicted judge, and that is certainly going to antagonize some jurors as


QUEST: Very glad to have you with us, sir. We will probably need you next week as we get some summation and all the other things that will be


Thank you for joining me.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight, still to come ChatGPT's new artificial voice on hold as complaint by Scarlett Johansson. I'll explain in a moment.



QUEST: Scarlett Johansson's lawyers have put questions to OpenAI. The actress said she was shocked and angered, her words, after hearing one of

the new voices for ChatGPT saying it sounds a lot like her.

Now, listen for yourself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how is it going?

SKY, CHATGPT VOICE: Hey, there. It is going great. How about you? I see you rocking an OpenAI hoodie. Nice choice.


QUEST: The chatbot has prompted comparisons with the fictional voice assistant played by Johansson in a movie, "HER."




SAMANTHA: You have a meeting and five minutes. You want to try getting out of bed?

THEODORE: You're too funny.

SAMANTHA: Yes, good. I'm funny.


QUEST: Now, Sam Altman, the head of OpenAI seem to embrace the similarity. On the day of the update, he posted the word "Her" on X.

All of which would be pretty sleazy and grubby in its own right if Sam Altman haven't already tried to get Johansson to do it -- to do the voice

and she declined on several occasions.

Clare Duffy, you know that old phrase, Clare, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Well, here, OpenAI asked for permission,

didn't get it from her, and then the allegation is they went ahead anyway.

CLARE DUFFY, CNN BUSINESS WRITER: Yes. OpenAI is now doing both. It had asked for permission and now it seems to be asking for forgiveness here.

Look, according to Scarlet Johansson, this all began back in September when OpenAI CEO Sam Altman approached her and asked her if she would be willing

to voice this updated version of ChatGPT. She said she thought about it, but ultimately declined for personal reasons.

Then just two days before this update launched, just about a week ago, Sam Altman again approached her agent and asked if she would be willing to

reconsider and get back involved in the project. They didn't have a chance to chat and then OpenAI launched this thing anyways.

Now Johansson is saying that she again, shocked and angered when she first heard this voice that she called eerily similar to hers, and she is not the

only one. There were many, many people on the internet who are comparing this AI voice, "Sky" to her voice in that movie "HER," which of course is a

sort of dystopian film about the relationship between humans and technology.

Now, OpenAI says that this was not Johansson's voice. Altman put out a statement yesterday saying it was never intended to resemble her, that they

used a different voice actor, but that out of respect for Miss Johansson, the company has paused Sky's voice in our products,

But nonetheless, this is really not a good look for OpenAI -- Richard.

QUEST: Yes, we will never know the truth here, won't we? They will never admit it, and she of course, has gone into battle and she -- I mean, they

picked the wrong person, Scarlett Johansson, I was going to say is litigious, but she is litigious at protecting herself and her rights.

DUFFY: Absolutely. I mean, this is an actress who won a lawsuit against Disney. She is not afraid to take on the big dogs.

And this concern really gets at the heart of what so many in Hollywood, as well as our authors and artists have been worried about right now. They are

worried that these AI tools are trained using their work, their likeness, and that then those AI companies can create replicas of them and profit

without those artists ever seeing any compensation or credit for their work.

QUEST: And fudge into the realms of confusion, exactly. Thank you, Clare. Thank you. Grateful. Thank you.

Coming up, the head of the World Economic Forum said he will step down. Klaus Schwab, an institution by any definition. We will take a look back at

my interviews in a moment.



QUEST: He was the founder and he led the organization for 50 years. Klaus Schwab, an institution, a man who is synonymous with Davos has said he will

be stepping down as executive chairman.

What would January be without Klaus Schwab? He says he will give up day-to- day management and transition to role as chairman of the board of trustees for the start of next year.

So over the years, Dr. Schwab and I have had many exchanges in Davos.


KLAUS SCHWAB, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: And in order to restock confidence, you have to establish signposts, so the world after the crisis will be


QUEST: But on a personal level, why have you got any confidence that this bunch of people can put in place the transformational issues that you seek?

SCHWAB: We are speaking here about government leaders.


SCHWAB: We are speaking about business leaders and so on. Who else?

QUEST: Where are you? This is, you're not very worried. This is you're very worried.

You're really worried.

SCHWAB: I am really worried because we have the congruence of so many challenges at the same time. It is not only one worry. It is so many

worries at the same time.

I think the biggest risk we face is that we lose hope and that we lose trust, trust into our institutions, particularly trust in our capability to

shape a better future.


QUEST: Klaus Schwab is just the center of Davos and there will be many more comments and thoughts, but the thought of a Davos without Klaus Schwab

really doesn't -- I am thinking about it because he is Davos.

All right, the markets and how they closed. Well, just up 66 points, but look at the choppiness of all of that. The Dow picked up over the last few

hours of trade and the 30 shows the numbers.

IBM was up top, which you don't often see after announcing use open-source AI models. I recently spoke to the IBM director of research about the

firm's plans for AI. A solid day for them the banks with Goldman, JP all higher and intel shares, they are down more than 30 percent, Intel down 30,

which shows the ferocity of you will of the competition of the chip market at the moment.


3M and Verizon at the bottom, solid utilities in a sense, but that shows where the market was looking for growth stocks.

We will take a profitable moment after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment. The fascinating and distressing part about the incident with SQ 321 is the actual movements that the plane made.

The number of feet that it went up and down was not that great. It was 150 here, 35 there, 50 up, 50 down. But if you look at the way in which the

plane moved, then it was actually far more dramatic.

You see these large areas. The plane is going up at a rate of 900 feet a minute, and then its falling by 1,100 feet a minute and then it is going

back up by 500 feet a minute and so on, and it is that sort of movement that creates the instability in the aircraft going like this all along and

that's what created the damage.

This plane was on its way to Singapore. It was over Myanmar. They were getting ready to serve breakfast, everything was laid out. The cabin was

full. People were out. They didn't know it was going to happen.

It is easy to say, of course, the triteness is, don't forget to wear your seatbelt. That's true, to be honest. But there will always be a large

number of people who will get injured in this sort of event.

I hope tonight you can see exactly how it happens and understand a little bit more about the importance of fastening the belt.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I am Richard Quest, whatever your up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable.