14/02/2014 Newsnight


Should we abandon some places to the floods? Piers Morgan faces police on phone hacking, plus an exclusive interview with Spike Jonze on his new scifi movie, Her.

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for managed retreat. It may make economic sense but can you ever


justify it on a human level. Piers Morgan investigated under police


caution by officers investigating phone hacking, it emerges. You have


a meeting in five minutes, you want to try getting out of bed, get up.


You are too funny. Love is in the air as boy meets software. The film


maker Spike Jonze will be talking exclusively to Newsnight about his


new film, HER. Tonight, another storm piles into a country already


dealing with the worst flooding in a generation. As heavy rainfall and


gale force winds keep in from the Atlantic, it won't be pretty. More


than 1,000 homes have been evacuated and there is no obvious relief


coming round the corner. The orange on the map represents the flooded


areas nine days a this is where it is today. At Romney Lock in


Berkshire, this is where the river level is usually found, right now it


is all the way up here. The Thames is at its highest level in zero


years. Five -- 60 years. 5,800 properties have been flooded since


December, last night over 100,000 were without power. Storm after


storm crashing in throughout February, with 80mms of rain dumped


on the UK already this month, four-times the norm. The scale of


the floods crisis is prompting hard questions. Imagine discovering that


in just over a decade your village, your whole community would be


abandoned, left to the mercy of rising seas. The people of


Fairbourne on the coast of west Wales, have just found out this may


be what is in store. They are one of 50 coastal communities earmarked for


what is known as "managed retreat", basically the acceptance that the


cost of maintaining sea defences can't be justified. It makes


economic sense, but is it good enough. We have been to the town and


sent this report. Another corner of the country battered by storms this


week. Is it In west Wales trees have blocked


roads, power cut off and train lines shut down. For the last century we


have tried to protect coastal communities with this, with sea


wall, Shingle banks and break waters. But if we are going to live


in a world of more powerful storms and rising sea level, we might have


to accept that can't continue forever. Here there were


controversial new plans to protect and save some coastal villages while


others like this one could be left to the elements. There was a lovely


little place, it is very quiet, a traditional bucket and spade holiday


dtination, it is a slow-paced commune to ex-everybody knows each


other, it is an old fashioned kind of place. It was built just over #00


years ago as a holiday village for industrial workers. These days most


of the thousand or so residents have retired here for a quiet life. Thank


you. Remember that we have the least average wage in the whole of the


British Isles round here, families are surviving on ?15,000-?18,000 a


year, they don't have the money or the choice money gives you to move


somewhere else. But this could be the first community in the UK to be


lost to climate change. A report commissioned by the local authority


found the rise in sea levels predicted over the next century will


mean the cost of maintaining coastal protection is too high. Under the


plans now being put forward, a new line of defence we set up here along


this railway line at the back of the village, that area over there will


then be at risk of serious flooding. So up to 400 families and local


businesses will be told to relocate or moved away. On the small parade


of shops in the heart of the village, they are working to extend


the local Indian restaurant. Is bakically people -- basically people


are panicking and worried. This is a retirement home. People buy houses


here, it could be their pension fund. People just are panicking.


There is a lot of people worried, very worried. But difficult


decisions made here are not made in isolation. As sea levels rise we


will have to decide whether to spend more on flood defences as a country?


In planning terms there are three main options. The first attack as


they have in the Netherlands, reclaim land and continue living


just above the water lean, it doesn't come cheap. Or hold the


line. Build yourself a higher sea wall, your coast is intact and your


feet are Drysdale, but is it sustainable. Then there is the


Fairbourne option, known as managed retreat, it is cheaper but the


question of who is forced south emotionally charged. The storms are


generated, more intense and more unpredictable. There will be a


greater impact of storms because the higher sea levels will bring the


storm waves closer to the shoreline. It will be a decision based on the


cost of defending. And simple as that. We can defend but at cost.


Uprooting an entire community won't happen without a fight. We are


experiencing extreme weather patterns at the moment, people in


England suffering terribly. You see on the news houses falling off


cliffs into the sea. It is not just Fairbourne and the Welsh coast. So,


yes, we have to think long-term, but the way they have gone about it,


they have got the shoreline management plan and then said, oh,


and we will do a managed retreat, it is almost like they have put the


cart before the horse. They have to realise the enormous consequences on


people's lives. The reaction in Fairbourne to these plans has ranged


from disbelief to fury, the council has said it is not possible to


defend every part of the Welsh coast and ignoring the problem is not an


option. These are difficult choices then which other parts of the UK may


soon have to face. So what's the answer for Fairbourne and other


places like it, can we afford to be anything like other than hard headed


faced with how water is rising long-term. We have our guest from


the Flood Forum, and the advise of forethe American Government on


Hurricane Katrina and other disSASers. The weather doesn't seem


to be an inevitable thing that we have to be prepared to let things go


we have to be prepared to let things go. What cost a life? To remove


people from where they are living their lives, seeing people in the


Post Office and pubs, to dispersion them in other communities, that can


cause isolation and ultimately depression. We need to think hard


about that. Actually perhaps the idea is to work with communities.


There are solutions that don't mean removing whole communities like that


aren't there, as we have seen? Absolutely. Technically it is


possible to defend anything. And looking at the Netherlands where I


come from, that is an example where as a society the decision has been


made to protect the country into the long-term. But that's a place that


the whole country relies on flood defences so, that makes it worth


investing for the country in providing that protection. And we


could be like that? We could be like that, but there are some fundamental


differences between the netherlands and the UK. The fact that two-thirds


of the country in Holland and the four largest cities are there means


it is vital for the nation. Here it is about a sixth. The reality simply


is that means it is not the only vital highest priority like it is in


the Netherlands. Any pound that you spend you can't spend on education


or health care. It is already happening in some parts, which are


uninhabited, at what point do you say we will lose a few homes if it


means not spending the millions or eventually the billions that would


need to be put in to rescue it? It is a very hard decision. As we saw


in that report communities are aware that you know that they need to look


long-term. I think what we need to do as that lady was explaining,


these things have just happened, the decisions are made, but not with the


community. I think that's where... No community would ever say yes to


that, it has to be something from further outside, right? It adds to


the problem if they are not discussed. If we don't draw


communities into the discussion and work with communities, and find out


how they are feeling and how they see the future, and work together in


partnership to come to a compromise or the way forward, then, you know,


it is not good. In a sense as soon as that thought has had, as soon as


somebody sees the bit of paper, that is the end of life and investment


and commerce for that community, right? It is a very complicated


problem. It is a very difficult message to get across. The point is


that the only alternative is to pretend that we will be able to keep


defending them, while the reality, that would mean a totally different


political choice in terms of the investment that the country makes.


It is basically a political choice, that is what you are saying? There


is a big part of that, yeah, absolutely. Personally I don't think


in the UK context it is realistic to expect the whole country will be


protected. I do think there are likely to be places like that. Must


know, you know, in your head that there is no going to be that kind of


investment coming, and it is wrong to pretend to these communities that


they can carry on surviving like that? I don't think we need to


pretend, we need to work with them, but also... What does that mean,


work with them? We need to bring them in as partnership, so they are


brought in right from the start and they understand right from the


start. So the management involves them. And what the decisions


involving them also I think you will find the netherlands, correct me if


I'm wrong, actually invest in flood risk management to a higher degree


than we do in England. That is what you are saying, it is not going to


change. I wonder if the one on the best coast of Wales goes and we


talked about the town tonight. What happens to the next one and next


one. When will it stop? It will stop at one stage. There is not that much


risk in the foreseeable future. An important element is on the one hand


it is worth for the UK to start investing more and protecting more


households. And if investment does increase many of these households


will be protected. The head of the Environment Agency said on our


programme on Monday night that he thought any community should be


protected. He seemed to completely rule out this managed retreat? It


is, you would have to then also pay the bill for T so that political


choice then has to be made. I'm not sure if the country is ready for


that. Do you think there is the political will to recognise the


direction of travel, to have that long-term vision about paying the


bill? I think that certainly as far as the national flood forum is


concerned we are working with communities in and out, people's


whole existence is within that community, and yes, I do think that


we should be investing a lot more. We are seeing all these floods


happening now. They are on the inIan he is, so -- increase, so we need


the investment. Thank you very much both of you. Thank you for coming.


Piers Morgan confirmed today that he had been questioned by police


investigating the phone hacking scandal. The former Mirror editor,


now hosting a CNN talk show in the US, was interviewed under caution


back in December. He has always denied involvement in phone hacking


and told the Leveson Inquiry that he wasn't aware of phone hacking whilst


working at the Mirror. Now it is Piers Morgan's life stories, with...


. Piers Morgan motoring. motoring. 'S best-looking heart-throbs Britain


has produced, a rich, variedied unpredictable life. A TV heart-throb


and doesn't give interviews. Although he doesn't, but one this


morning, last December, to the police, under caution, about phone


hacking. The man who broke that story was Guardian writer, Roy


Greenslade. He's entertaining, thick sinned and totally -- thick skinned


and totally obsessed with himself. He has pushed the boundaries of


journalism. He was censured by the pressure Complaints Comission on a


number of officials and sacked from the Mirror for publishing hoax


pictures. Any suggestion that Piers Morgan knew anything about phone


hacking has been created by... . Er... . Piers Morgan motoring. In it


006 he wrote in the Daily Mail saying he had listened to a tape


recording of a message left by Paul McCartney left on the mailbox of his


then wife Heather Mills. He described phone hacking as can't an


investigative practice that everyone knows was going on at almost every


paper in Fleet Street for years". To stab it all there was the story told


by Jeremy Paxman, yes, Newsnight's very own, that in 2002 he had been


to a lunch in the Mirror Group, where Piers Morgan had explained to


him in detail precisely how to hack mobile phones. At the lever son


inquiry Morgan tried to play down his state of knowledge about all


things hacking. An effort that Lord Leveson described as "utterly


unpersuasive". Leveson went on to say he had seen no evidence that


Morgan had authorised hacking or anyone from the Mirror had. That was


enthis. Since then civil hacking actions against them have been given


the go ahead to proceed to court. A number of journalist have been


arrested with regards to hacking. A current witness in the trial said he


learned how to hack at the Sunday Mirror, the police have let it be


known that the Mirror Group was under investigation for potential


corporate criminal liability. Given all of that, and Morgan's previous,


so to speak, once the police started looking seriously at the Mirror in


connection with phone hacking, it was a virtual inevitability that


Morgan would be interviewed by investigating officers. In fact, it


would have been much more surprising if he hadn't been. On his Twitter


account Morgan says of himself, and I quote, "one day, you are the cock


of the walk, the next you are a feather duster". Is he cock or


cleaner? What about his new year as the new Larry King on America's CNN


news network? Morgan's buzz hasn't translated to particularly strong


ratings. His position is some what tenuous, as is almost everyone else


in the prime time line-up. The question that this will reach out


and damage him is something they are monitoring at CNN. I wouldn't think


the latest disclosure that he was questioned by police is in itself


dispositive. For now Piers Morgan is making the news. Leaving that to one


side for a second Steve, we have got a fairly big week next week in the


hacking trial, Rebekah Brooks will take the stand? She l for the first


time a key defendant takes the stand. The whole thing is taking


longer than we thought, it is a month-and-a-half beyond schedule.


Rebekah Brooks is said to be on the stand for two weeks leading on to


other conditions like Andy Coulson and others. She will be asked, it


will be h first opportunity to answer the prosecution case that she


knew about the hacking of Milly do youer's -- Dowler's phone. And


critically that she was involved in a conspiracy to pervert the course


of justice. She is expected to take the stand and be there for as much


as two weeks. You say it is behind schedule, is there any end in sight?


Mid-May at the earliest. Why do we think it has taken so long? It is a


very, very detailed case. For anyone following the level of detail is


bafflingly complex. With every connection between every fact,


volumes and volumes of them. Painstaking and established. It has


taken a long time. On the story we are reporting earlier the Mirror has


denied all charges. Piers Morgan and the Mirror scoop group deny any


wrongdoing. How can we ignore Valentine's particularlien the


latest film has the age-old story of boy meets computer! ? The latest


offering from Spike Jonze, of Adaptation, we will ask him what


happens when you fall in love with your operating system. His film is


set in some elusive point in the future, as our technology editor


reports, the days of getting cosy with your software may not be that


far way. What do you love most about Sam? She's so many things. I can say


it is because she isn't one thing. It is the every day story of man


falling in love with his computer operating system. Backchimp Phoenix


plays a man whose life comes together by building his life


through an operating system. All companies are working on providing


us with a technical system, the modern genie, not out of a lamp but


smart connected devices. Hello David, I'm Jude, think of me as your


virtual producer. Hello, what I want to know is when will this be a


reality, when can I get my open virtual personal assistant? Well


David to help you answer that question I will arrange some smart


humans for you to talk to. First Professor Steve Young at Cambridge


University. Head of engineering. I'm here now, what do I need to know He


can start by telling you why tech companies are so keen to provide


personal assistants. I will give awe clue, Kerr change! -- kerching. You


might say you like shirts or can you order me three. The agent starts


transactions on your behalf. Who owns the agent, who is getting the


commission from the sale? Well, of course, Apple wants the commission,


or going goggle wants the commission. And it is interesting


that Amazon are now working very heavily in this space. There already


are some virtual assistants that are quite impressive but fairly limited


around right now. Google has something called Google Now, Sampson


has S-voice and Apple has Siri, which is supposedly for "beautiful


woman who leads us to victory". This is Siri. How are Chelsea doing? OK,


they appear to be in the first place in the Premier League right now.


Good. However if you ask them something they don't know, they


resort to a web search. Don't try gettingam rouse. I love you? That's


sweet but it is not meant to be. The company behind the Samsung system is


called New Canned Communications, they are behind the Apple system


too, but they won't admit that publicly. Their principle solutions


architect, John West believes we will get closer to the ominousent


sources too -- ominousent sources come soon. You are listening to your


playlist and you might say throw it on to the sound system, then your


Sonas, or whatever bursts into life with the playlist you were listening


on to your mobile device. There is the transition of saying "how are


your United doing? ? S can "to me it is Hereford as opposed to Manchester


United. To be able to give me the information relevant to me. Is


there a danger that these virtual personal assistants will get a


little annoying. You might remember the Microsoft paper click. Even a


decade after it was retired it still creates a bit of a shudder. At the


risk of being annoying David, you might like to know that Microsoft


are investing a huge amount of effort into creating a new virtual


assistant, the managing director of Microsoft research has his own


virtual assistant. Two people stopped by to see you, I said you


would be back in 15 minutes. He said once of the hardest part is the


conversation's natural, sounding, rules. Natural sounding Rauls.


Conversation is more or -- Rules. Conversation is like a complex


Tango, a dance between two people in the could go any of space basis the


muscular skeltal state. But meeting more than one person involves not


just a simple turn taking, like you might see in today's assistants or


on the cellphone, but it is a very complicated fluid operation where


people are breaking in. What about the cost, to work this new begin


racial of personal assistants will require us to hand over more or less


every detail about our lives to one of the big ten companies, once they


have got us we are pretty much locked in. It will be a big deal to


sack your agent and start using someone else. Like getting divorced?


Yes. We are a few years away from an assistant as glamorous andam rouse


as Scarlet. That is very rude. You are artificial artificial


intelligence. Still, there is no need to get personal. Despite Jonze


who is the maverick director who started out as a skateboarder in


videos, and breaking out into films like Adaptation and others. Thank


you very much, talk us through of the idea in HER of falling in love


with your soft wear? Have you seen the movie? I have, but I'm not


allowed to tell people the end! Yes, I'm just curious what your reaction


to the movie, or what you felt when you were watching it. The lead-in


was all about falling in love with software, which actually the movie


isn't about, it is more of a love story and relationship story. But I


was wondering what you felt when you were watching it. I was curious as


to whether the plan has found his ideal woman who works for him as his


PA. As the movie goes on, she certainly starts out as his


assistant. As she becomes a person is when the relationship becomes


real, when she has her own wants and needs and her own desires separate


from what he wants. That is where obviously the conflict in any


relationship is. How to have your own needs and fulfil your partner's


needs as much as you can. Did you watch it more from that point of


view or emotionally at all? Was the computer, the software side


important for you. This is an idea that has been rumbling for ten years


or so with you. The I wondered if you worried technology would


overtake you? No, the movie is really not about technology or


software. And that is why I'm trying to understand how you felt it when


you watched the movie, because the movie, most peop find it an


emotional movie, but the way you are decribing it sounds more of a, to me


it is not a movie about the technology in society, it is not a


commentary on that. That is the setting that we live in right now.


Which is, he know -- you know. At the moment there is a particular set


of circumstances that prevend us or we use to avoid intimacy. Really the


movie is about finding intimacy with somebody else outside yourself. Both


for him, for Joachim and Scarlet's character, it is just a voice for


them, it is them trying to connect. It is the challenge trying to


connect and longing to connect when you know, and then the need for


intimacy and the things inside ourselves that prevent us from


incompetency. -- intimacy. Were you not moved by the movie. The audience


want to hear you not me? I want to hear from you. Emily. Emily don't


avoid this question. Do you think. Were you moved by it at all I was


moved by it. Yeah. Would you see it asset in the future? It is set in


the slight future but more of a heightened version of our world,


where everything is sort of comfortable or convenient and nice,


but there is still this loaning or loneliness and need f connection and


tell me what moved you? One thing I thought was curious is the


technology is not very obvious and not in your faces and need for


connection and tell me what moved you? One thing I thought was curious


is the technology is not very obvious and not in your face, it


recede noose the background and the characters are there. Is it


deliberate? Yes, it is the setting for the love story. You filmed it in


the scientifically advanced part of the world in chine that. We filmed,


the movie is set in Los Angeles, we used it could larged together with


areas of Shanghai to create a future Los Angeles. It is not necessarily


scientific, it is an area or city that has a lot of new construction


and it works as a new low-developed Los Angeles. ?TRANSMIT Elizabeth


Yarnold stormed to gold in the skeleton bob in the Sochi Olympics,


winning the first medal of the games. This is the taster of what is


going down one of those ice runs feels like.


# I'm on the edge # Of glory


# And I'm hanging on a moment with you


# I'm on the edge # Of glory


# And I'm hanging on a moment with you.


It is a stormy night in southern England, damaging gusts of wind,


coastal flooding, again possible, it is a windy seen the the


Should we abandon some places to the floods? Piers Morgan faces police on phone hacking, plus an exclusive interview with Spike Jonze on his new scifi movie, Her.