03/02/2017 Newsnight


03/02/2017

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Stories include new US sanctions on Iran and an interview with Margrethe Vestager.


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Transcript


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President Trump has put Iran on notice after its

:00:12.:00:13.

missile test with limited sanctions, so who is testing who?

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And is this the beginning of the unravelling of President Obama's

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I'll be speaking to a former Deputy Prime Minister of Iran.

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We are able to manipulate YouTube videos in real-time.

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Here we demonstrate our method in a live

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Is new technology, which can put the wrong words in your mouth,

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a giant leap for fake news and alternative facts?

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How do we sort out the truth, half-truth, and lies?

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Africa is no longer the colonial subject.

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President Trump today announced his first sanctions

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against Iran over its ballistic missile test on Sunday.

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The new president has been a long-time critic

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Trump tweeted that Iran is playing with fire.

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They don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them.

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The US National Security Advisor said the administration

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was putting Iran on notice, and then the Treasury department

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announced sanctions against thirteen people and a dozen "entities".

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Iran's Foreign Minister responded, also on Twitter, saying "Iran

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unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people.

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We will never initiate war, but we can only reply

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Is this a harbinger of much worse to come like a handbrake turn on Iran

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policy? In a sense it is unfinished business from the last months of the

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Obama administration, these missiles, over 1000 mile range, not

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very accurate, the general view of intelligence experts is that they

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are being tested as nuclear delivery systems, that is counter to United

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Nations agreements. Another problem is that some people connected with

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these, the firing of warships by rebels in recent months, another

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issue is that basically apart from one counterstrike against those

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batteries President Obama kicked the can down the road. So emphasis

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tonight from US officials is that this doesn't mean the end of the

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nuclear agreement, it is a separate issue but we have to do something.

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The Trump rhetoric is heavy but these are not, as you say,

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heavy-duty sanctions. Well, here's the problem which is that President

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Trump and his national security adviser Mike Flynn are very hard

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line on Iran. So these aspects of sanctions about these two separate

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issues which you might see is business as usual for the National

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Security system in Washington are coming at a time when President

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Trump has said all options are on the table now for Iran, Mike Flynn

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has said they are on notice. The dangers of misperception, the

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Iranians have said that they will carry on testing and President Trump

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feeling he has drawn a red line, remember how he criticised President

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Obama for not enforcing the red line of Assyria, he may feel he has to

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defend it, the scope for sliding into conflict now is considerable, I

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would say. Thank you very much. Mohsen Sazegara was the Iranians

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Deputy Prime Minister in his late dash in the late 80s but became

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disillusioned with the resume and is now a political activist based in

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Washington, DC. These 25 persons and institutions, I

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expected it because of an escalation of tensions between these countries.

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It started from the White House three nights ago by Flynn and Trump,

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both of them. Do you sense the Iranians pushing a little, nibbling

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away at Donald Trump with this test on Sunday? I think that right now,

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the top officials in Iran, the leader, I mean, and the

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revolutionary guard, they are very cautious and they prefer not to

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escalate the tension, and more than that, I think, they are waiting for

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the results of the President's trip to Moscow to see what President

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Putin can do for them, because they expect that President Putin can

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reduce the tensions between Washington and Iran. It is not

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necessarily to the advantage of Tehran to have Putin and Trump

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close, is it? It is not to the benefit of one side, and to the

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other side, if there are new sanctions against Putin and Russia,

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if these are passed by the Congress, it shows that Putin can't solve his

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own problem. So both sides are not good signals for Iran. Let's look

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separately at the sanctions and also the visa restrictions, two separate

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things. Your reaction to the Visa restrictions? Visa restrictions

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definitely harms a big group of Iranians who live in the USA and

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their families, relatives, travel, and helps the regime of Iran for its

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own propaganda and mobilises people to support the regime. But the

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sanctions against the Revolutionary guard, or the leader, and the

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institutions, most of them are corrupt in Iran as well, I think

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this is something else that the people of Iran may like. It is

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interesting what you say because there is a strong entrepreneurial

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community of American Iranians who do not like what is happening with

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this visa. It looks as if President Trump is prepared to put up with

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that in order to pursue this heavy policy on visas. He doesn't actually

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care about the impact that will have on the attitudes of American

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Iranians. By the way I am definitely against such type of restrictions

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for Iranian citizens, or any sanction which harms all the people

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of Iran. But I support the sanctions which are targeted and are smart

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against the top officials and the people who abuse and violate human

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rights. Is it your sense that President Trump is ad hoc or just

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sounding like a hawk. -- hawk, or just sounding like a hawk? I feel

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that sometimes he is unstable and I cannot rely on his stances, but the

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guys that he has picked for his administration, they are hawks.

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Especially with respect to Iran, they are too tough. Mohsen Sazegara,

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thank you for joining us tonight. Should we trust our leaders to tell

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the truth, and is there something materially different about truth

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in the technological age? How do we gauge what's true,

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half true, or false? In the past month, new phrases have

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entered the political lexicon, in particular, "fake news"

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and "alternative facts". But what if there's another,

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explosive ingredient in this febrile mix - the ability,

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literally, to manipulate the words Here's our technology

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editor, David Grossman. How do we know that

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something happened? That we are not being

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fooled by fakes? Some TV trickery is

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pretty familiar to us. This technology, green screen

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or colour separation overlay, has been around in some

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form for decades. It allows us to convincingly give

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real people backdrops of virtual However, we are about to cross

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the threshold into a new world where it is possible to convincingly

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recreate known real people - famous people like politicians -

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and have them say or do more We're a few years, but not many

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years, away from a situation now where we can not only create

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a pretty sort of realistic environment for people,

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but we can also do things like manipulate their voices

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and manipulate their facial expressions and modulate

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their speech in real-time. Here we demonstrate our

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method in a live setup. This is the Face 2 Face

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Project, a collaboration between Stanford University,

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the Max Planck Institute and the University

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of Erlangen-Nuremberg. As we can see, we are able

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to generate a realistic They can take the facial expressions

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of one person and match them onto the features

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of another in real-time. The results are already

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amazing and only going It seems like they are being

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developed out with a specific ethical framework that helped them

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to actually assess before technologies are developed,

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the actual implications The perfect environments for fake

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news, for a widespread This hugely damaging image

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of John Kerry supposedly sharing a stage with Vietnam protester

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Jane Fonda was actually Now the company that

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invented Photoshop, Adobe, has unveiled a new,

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potentially game changing At this event in November,

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Adobe demonstrated Voco, which, loaded with 20 minutes

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of real sample voice, can then make someone

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say anything just by typing it in. Adobe said the auyo audio will be

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watermarked so that fakes are easy to spot but that may not

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stop them spreading. Often the things we see as fake news

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or false stories are actually very easily debunked

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in a matter of seconds. But it doesn't necessarily stop

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them from spreading, partly because I think

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the mechanisms now are so quick in terms of how virality is created

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online but also because people But is there a flip side

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to this technology? If it makes the fake seem real,

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what does it do to our perception Will it allow those

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intent on deceiving us to dismiss cold, solid, hard video

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evidence as mere trickery? It becomes a term that can be used

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by anyone who wants to call out something that they don't

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like, and spread doubt And when you have a high level

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of distrust in stories, and you have a high level

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of distrust in institutions, which we do at the moment,

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then a term like fake news becomes almost meaningless, because it's

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deployed in so many ways which actually describe

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things that are perfectly We've grown more sophisticated

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in our ability to discern However, accelerating technological

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change means we'll need to quickly refine how we weigh the evidence

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of our senses. We're joined now by Claire Wardle,

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Research Director at First Draft News, which aims

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to improve the standard of online reporting and the philosopher,

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Simon Blackburn, who wrote Truth - Good evening to you both in London

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and New York. Simon, is truth just about the most important thing? It

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is very important in our day-to-day lives, our sensors are adapted to

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telling us how the world around us is and if we don't know how the

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world around us is we will not behave well in it. Give an example

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of how senses are adapted. I'm pretty good at knowing of the bus is

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bearing down on me and pretty good at not crossing the road if I can

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see one bearing down on me. I would be much worse in life if I could not

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see that was a bus bearing down on me so I need the truth about that

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kind of thing and that is true of all kinds of ways I behave in my

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environment. I need to know whether the food I am looking at is

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poisonous, I need to be able to rely on various deliveries of sense,

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sound, and of course trust in things that people tell me. But it was ever

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thus. Is there a difference now as technology change things?

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Communication has exploded so we get communications from very different

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parts of the world, not just from our neighbours, our parents. Big

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communications from media outlets, fake media outlets and so one.

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Sifting what we are told, whether it is trustworthy, becomes much harder.

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We cannot go behind the scenes. I cannot see what the truth is about

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what Bush is saying if someone else shows me some bizarre things. In a

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way, you make it your mission not to be a single sister but to find a way

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in which we can engage the truth. Do you think the technology that has

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just been explained in that film will make a huge difference? People

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look at people's bases and think they can trust their eyes, trust

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what they see, and it is false. Absolutely. In the same way that

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photo editing software and video editing software is on a laptop,

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anyone in the world can create visuals. Because of technology they

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move at huge speed across the world. Our brains are adapted to trust

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visuals more. As technology becomes easier and cheaper that is why we

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have at this explosion of false information. I suppose the more

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people there are checking to find out it is false. How do you get at

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the truth? We are having lots of people talking about news literacy

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projects and educating people to stop and check. We're looking at our

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phones and scrolling quickly. Although we might know to be

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critical, sometimes things that are too good to be true, it is very easy

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to click share. We do not stop and check when we should do. Politicians

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particularly through the centuries have all tried to manipulate the

:16:32.:16:35.

truth one way or another at different times. In a sense, is it

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not easy because you can sift through and make decisions yourself?

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Is it not easier to get information to the access? As human beings, we

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want information to make us feel better. We are in a polarised world.

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You sit in groups of people you'd think are the same as you and you

:16:58.:17:00.

want information to make you feel better. It is easier to double check

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and Google something that does not necessarily mean we are doing that.

:17:07.:17:13.

What will it do to us? I find it destabilising sometimes if I do not

:17:14.:17:19.

know what is true and what is false. It is difficult to predict. If

:17:20.:17:27.

technologies do proliferate in the way described and they become very

:17:28.:17:30.

popular and everyone is using them, I should have thought one possible

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reaction, my own reaction for example, would be in a sense to

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retreat. That is very bad for democracy. If I say I am not going

:17:40.:17:43.

to believe anything about President Trump, I do not believe anything

:17:44.:17:49.

about Theresa May, that means I am retreating from my historic duties

:17:50.:17:52.

as a citizen, which is to inform myself about policy and what these

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people are offering. The advent of global communication could actually

:18:00.:18:05.

signal a retreat. It could indeed. It is a rational response to a world

:18:06.:18:10.

in which nothing is trustworthy. If you cannot trust anything, do not

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believe anything. Do not act. That basis for action, does that come

:18:17.:18:22.

from early education? Had you get a basis for action? Our senses tell us

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how the world is. We are very good at using them put up relying on

:18:28.:18:31.

other people, that is something you learn when they are trustworthy and

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when they are not. Unless you can get some experience in both sides of

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it, you're not going to be a fully performing, fully active adult. Does

:18:41.:18:49.

that fill you with dread? I have to say, it is a pretty troubling time

:18:50.:18:54.

over here in the US. We are seeing people retreat and say they are not

:18:55.:18:58.

looking at the news. People are already starting to say I am

:18:59.:19:02.

confused, worried and scared and I do worry about what that means. Is

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this now about the loss of control? There are so much of people's lives

:19:09.:19:12.

which are not in their control. It is another worrying aspect of modern

:19:13.:19:19.

life. I think certainly people feel overwhelmed by technology does it

:19:20.:19:22.

comes to them even when they are not ready for it. You see an update on

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your phone about something you did not expect. People feel out of

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control and overwhelmed. There is a huge proliferation. There used to be

:19:33.:19:36.

big blocks of media you could do to four different things. You knew what

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they did. There is a preferential of all sorts of websites. A lot of them

:19:41.:19:46.

are in high resolution, high technology sites. They look very

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ill. How you meant to know if they are real or false? You're not meant

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to know. That is the point. There are very systematic campaign is now

:19:58.:20:01.

to ensure people see the same messages. Over time we are seeing

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networks of information and systematic campaign to try to

:20:06.:20:08.

persuade people. It is very sophisticated. As much as we try to

:20:09.:20:13.

teach people to be critical, a lot of these things are really easy to

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fullback on. The people who benefit are dictators, people who manipulate

:20:20.:20:22.

the news for their own ends. Absolutely. We can see, even within

:20:23.:20:27.

Europe and the elections that are coming up with France, Germany and

:20:28.:20:31.

the Netherlands without huge concerns about systematic campaigns

:20:32.:20:35.

quit using social networks to change public opinion. That is definitely

:20:36.:20:39.

what is on the cards. How do you counter that? Thank God for the BBC.

:20:40.:20:53.

You looked at gold standard. Touch wood, we have the Times, the BBC.

:20:54.:21:02.

ITV and our colleagues. Now, of course, how long that will remain

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and whether indeed the BBC will, for example, remain Independent in the

:21:10.:21:14.

way that Donald Trump has ensured virtually no State Department can be

:21:15.:21:19.

Independent in the USA. That kind of dictatorship, that kind of change in

:21:20.:21:22.

Democratic politics is very worrying. Then we really do lose our

:21:23.:21:30.

morals. She told EU leaders she wanted

:21:31.:21:32.

to build a "strong partnership" with the EU and pledged the UK

:21:33.:21:36.

would be a "good friend This went down well

:21:37.:21:39.

with Chancellor Merkel. Better than her relationship

:21:40.:21:42.

with Donald Trump, After publishing the Brexit White

:21:43.:21:44.

Paper this week, we have a decent idea of what the government wants

:21:45.:21:48.

to get out if its negotiation. But what about those

:21:49.:21:51.

on the other side? Or policy editor, Chris Cook, has

:21:52.:21:52.

been speaking to the EU Competition Trying to find out why we still know

:21:53.:21:55.

so little. I think it is important

:21:56.:22:06.

that we leave some things for the people who will be

:22:07.:22:09.

in the room. The EU negotiator, the UK,

:22:10.:22:11.

and negotiating team because they will have to put

:22:12.:22:13.

together a new puzzle because some of the obvious signals from the UK

:22:14.:22:18.

Government is that they want a new relationship, not

:22:19.:22:23.

the Norwegian, not the Swiss, Therefore I am very careful not

:22:24.:22:25.

to prejudge things because I think the people in the room,

:22:26.:22:34.

they will have a task which is sufficiently difficult

:22:35.:22:40.

without the rest of us trying to... You have an insight

:22:41.:22:43.

into what Britain is planning which lots of people don't have

:22:44.:22:51.

because you've actually seen the undertakings they gave

:22:52.:22:55.

to Nissan and you've judged Well, of course we stay in touch

:22:56.:22:57.

with the UK Government on issues of this kind,

:22:58.:23:05.

just as well with a number The letter in itself,

:23:06.:23:08.

we don't have concerns of state You don't think that while we're EU

:23:09.:23:12.

members at the British Government is committing funds to Nissan

:23:13.:23:24.

which wouldn't be available That would be a very

:23:25.:23:26.

broad thing to answer. In the letter and the debates

:23:27.:23:31.

we have no concerns. Is there any public

:23:32.:23:33.

spending involved in this? Well, I think, eventually,

:23:34.:23:35.

probably you will know. But, for us, having seen

:23:36.:23:40.

the letter, we have no concern That is as well as we stay in touch

:23:41.:23:42.

with the number of other Is your understanding

:23:43.:23:51.

still that the commission's intention is that we'll have

:23:52.:23:57.

like the divorce proceeding and then in Brexit terms and then

:23:58.:24:12.

a trade negotiation? That is the most simple approach.

:24:13.:24:20.

The figure out where you stand and how you move on foot of it is a

:24:21.:24:25.

complex thing to be divorced and having some kind of partnership at

:24:26.:24:30.

the same time. Isn't part of the problem with this that the two

:24:31.:24:34.

things are not going to lie one to the other? Nothing will be decided

:24:35.:24:41.

until everything is decided. There will be things we want in the

:24:42.:24:44.

subsequent relationship but you might want to serve early. It seems

:24:45.:24:50.

very hard to disentangle these two things. These negotiations will be

:24:51.:24:54.

extremely complicated. Maybe you get something in between. To some

:24:55.:25:00.

degree, you can say this will happen to be solved also in a future

:25:01.:25:07.

relationship. This is definitely something where we will have a clean

:25:08.:25:12.

divide commits this can be done now. I think all of these details, they

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will have to be solved in the room. Not because discussions around the

:25:18.:25:21.

room. But because the responsibility of getting it right is exactly for

:25:22.:25:25.

the people who will be asked to do the deal.

:25:26.:25:29.

Time now for Viewsnight, a new feature of Newsnight.

:25:30.:25:31.

All week we've been bringing you new thoughts

:25:32.:25:33.

and ideas from a range of opinionated people.

:25:34.:25:35.

You might agree with them, disagree, or think again.

:25:36.:25:37.

Tonight, the British Senegalese activist and business

:25:38.:25:40.

The widely respected head of the American organisation

:25:41.:27:36.

Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, expressed his surprise this

:27:37.:27:39.

week at the appointment of the new deputy head of the CIA.

:27:40.:27:43.

As you might have noticed, we follow Trump's moves closely on this

:27:44.:27:46.

programme, and at the risk of breaking BBC rules on bias, we can

:27:47.:27:50.

Mr Roth was concerned that the new deputy had previously

:27:51.:27:57.

been connected to running a CIA black site for torture.

:27:58.:28:01.

We were more concerned at the double identity of those

:28:02.:28:04.

Emily has issued a kind of denial, but whatever

:28:05.:28:11.

the truth of the allegations, we here at Newsnight fully support

:28:12.:28:15.

Before we go, you may have read in the papers

:28:16.:28:22.

Storms in the Med have left us without fancy foreign

:28:23.:28:26.

imports like lettuce, broccoli and aubergines.

:28:27.:28:27.

This sceptred isle has weathered fiercer storms than this.

:28:28.:28:31.

There was once even a time when, yes, we had no bananas.

:28:32.:28:33.

We've ransacked the archive to find some advice

:28:34.:28:35.

So, here are some useful pointers when attempting

:28:36.:28:49.

to cook that decent, honest, British vegetable that never

:28:50.:28:52.

goes out of season or fashion - the humble cabbage.

:28:53.:28:54.

Sally's cabbage has been cooked in little water with the lid on,

:28:55.:28:58.

retaining the full value of the vegetable.

:28:59.:28:59.

Sally carefully pours the water into a cup.

:29:00.:29:01.

Jane, on the other hand, has drowned her cabbage in water and

:29:02.:29:06.

apart from losing the goodness, that cabbage is a wet soggy mess with no

:29:07.:29:10.

Now, never put so much water in the cabbage again, it makes it

:29:11.:29:36.

But you'll do it quite all right tomorrow.

:29:37.:29:43.

Good evening. Still some unpleasant weather out there if you are

:29:44.:30:04.

travelling. It could well be icy ones rain, sleet and snow meanders

:30:05.:30:11.

northwards. More rain in the South later. Let's take a

:30:12.:30:12.

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark. Stories include new US sanctions on Iran, an interview with Margrethe Vestager, and the new video tech that could make fake news easier. Also, should the UK invest more in Africa?