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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Former President Takes on Trump, Defends Hillary; Clinton On The Science Behind Living Longer. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired September 29, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:12] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, a special edition of Erin Burnett OUTFRONT. President Bill Clinton on Hillary and her track record as secretary of state.
BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I think see looks great. I think she did a great job.
BURNETT: And what the former president thinks about Donald Trump's attacks on his wife.
CLINTON: You shouldn't be able to insult your way to the White House.
BURNETT: Plus Clinton and a long-time friend talk about living forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You couldn't pick a better subject that we want to live a long time.
BURNETT: That's all ahead on a very special edition of OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: And good evening. Welcome to a special edition of Erin Burnett OUTFRONT with President Bill Clinton. I'm Erin Burnett and we are here today with the President at the Clinton Global Initiative. This is his organization dedicated to solving global problems. It's 10 years old. So, what is next for CGI and President Clinton as his wife runs for the White House?
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome President Bill Clinton.
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.
BURNETT: This is all coming of course on the heart of the 2016 election. We are right in it right now. So let me just ask you because the other day you said it was possible Donald Trump could win the nomination. Which republican do you think will win the nomination?
CLINTON: Let me first of all say this is my life now. (LAUGHTER)
I last ran for office --
BURNETT: This is your way of saying you don't want to be VP?
CLINTON: Yes. I also think it violates the spirit of the 22nd amendment. Even if Hillary did not run for president, someone else was nominated, I still shouldn't be vice president because I think it violates the spirit of the 22nd Amendment which clearly limits any individual to two terms. And you don't want the person who is first in line for the presidency to be somebody who can't serve because then, like consider what that would mean here. Means you would have, let's say if the Democrats win the White House, then the next person really in line to be President would be the republican speaker of the house which would undermine the intent of the government, the public and the election. So, it's a nice thing to talk about, but it's not going to happen and it shouldn't.
BURNETT: Now who is going to be the republican nominee?
CLINTON: The reason I said that is, I honestly don't know. And I don't think they know yet. Because if you look at it, I didn't see Mr. Trump's interview with you, but I read about it. And they are basically all still sort of stalking around trying to prove they're bona fide, as you know, who hates the Democrats the most, and who can blame President Obama for every bad thing that happened anywhere in the world. Somebody caught a cold in Bali yesterday, I told you we had no leadership.
You know, that kind of stuff. And two of them have dropped out, but we still haven't had any really serious discussion. We've been through five hours of debates and I watched it all maybe, but we had many serious discussions about, well if you were there, what would you actually do about this? So, I think, I don't know. I was asked if I thought he had a chance to win and I do. Because one of the things in a crowded field you have to do is stand out. You have to be able to brand yourself. You've got to be able to be identified. But at some point you also have to say, what are you going to do? You can't just spend all your time saying everything everybody else did was wrong. And they are all dufuses. You can't say that.
BURNETT: So, can I just on the dufus issue. Okay?
Marco Rubio called Donald Trump's campaign a freak show yesterday. Donald Trump called Marco Rubio a clown. And it goes on and on. What do you make of a race where these are the kinds of words that are being bandied about and discussed?
CLINTON: Well, I don't -- I think they believe that authenticity is created by making your campaign look as much leak a reality TV show as possible. I really do. And so they think that real voters have a limited bandwidth for policy. They think that everybody they are talking to would never consider voting for a democrat because they had him hooked up to siloed news coverage so they get very, you know, limited alternative views. It's a little bit of a problem on our side, too. You know, they think it's very hard to create space for an honest debate.
[19:05:06] CLINTON: So, I think, you know, it's just a reflection. And you see this in a lot of other countries, too. Where, but, you can't and you shouldn't be able to insult your way to the White House. Or using enough politically correct phrases to get your way to the White House on either side we live in a challenging time. There are -- and I personally think the main jobs are to restore broad-based prosperity instead of narrow prosperity now that we're growing the economy. And particularly to help families succeed in raising their kids and working and getting more women back in the work force.
We've fallen from first in the world to like 20th or something to place women in the workforce. We've got to create more jobs for young people. These are serious things, but I have a lot of sympathy about people who sit in your chair moderating these presidential debates. Because you don't want to deny anybody a chance to be heard and seen on the republican side. And we've had two withdrawals and there will be more in the coming weeks. And I think as the field whittles down, I hope it will get more serious. Because the American people deserve some sense of what the heck you're going to do if you actually get the job? Because the day after you take the oath of office --
BURNETT: It's yours.
CLINTON: You can't level an insult or you're not in an episode of "Survivor." You're actually supposed to show up and run the show.
BURNETT: You say you can't insult your way to the White House. You say Donald Trump could be the nominee. So, I have to play this for you. This is something he said in the interview yesterday about your wife and I want to play it for you and get your reaction. Here is Donald Trump in my interview yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I always respected him. I actually liked him over the years, but when we look at what's going on in the world, when we look at the job that Hillary did as secretary of state, she goes down as perhaps the worst secretary of state in history. And when I run against her evenly in the polls, I'm doing very well against Hillary and beating her. Erin, if you look throughout the world during her reign and the reign of Obama, the whole world is blowing up. We've lost our friendships, we've lost everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Well, be the thing about branding is you don't have to be -- you can be fact-free.
And I think so even the Republicans admit that the sanctions on Iran were well done and that it was a major achievement to get Russia and China to agree to sign off on these sanctions and to enforce them. She did that. That's what made the talks possible. So even the people that don't like the Iran deal like the sanctions. Second thing she did is to negotiate with her team at the State Department. The only thing that survived in the Russian reset, the new start treaty. In a world with all these tensions which you've already noted between the U.S. and Russia, having these two sides still committed to reducing the number of nuclear war heads and missiles, I think is a good thing. That's two.
Something I work on, aids, around the world. President Bush's PEPFAR program was saving 1.7 million lives with aids medicine when she took office, when she left, 5.1 million. She tripled it without spending one more dollar of tax money. Simply by going to the kind of medicines we routinely buy. Those 3.4 million people live in countries that kind of like America.
BURNETT: Donald Trump is dead wrong?
CLINTON: So, when she left, these are all facts. They are not common to the diatribe here. So, when she left office, the average approval rating of the United States was more than 20 points higher than it was when she came into office. I don't think that's nothing. And I could give you eight other examples. So, I would be happy to have this debate. Because there will be somebody on the other side of the debate, if he becomes the nominee, he'll have to sort of hone his criticisms a little more finely because the facts will be easier to marshal. But, you know, he's good at this, that's what he does. And the people that he is telling it to now basically have only heard that story so they believe it and it's probably good politics for him.
BURNETT: So --
CLINTON: Let me just remind you this.
BURNETT: Yes. What?
CLINTON: He asked her to come to his wedding when he found out we're going to be in Florida. And I don't know how many times he told me what a wonderful job she did for New York as a senator after 9/11.
BURNETT: You now infamously or famously depending how you view this, did attend that wedding.
[19:10:00] CLINTON: Yes. We did. And it was perfectly nice. I'm glad we did, but he also told me on more than one occasion what a good job she did in the Senate for New York after 9/11. So, you know, this is just heck, it's a crazy season. They've got to win on the field, win on the issues and get to it a number of people that the voters can, you know, really effectively compare on their side and then we'll see what happens. BURNETT: You know, voters are recently asked by Quinnipiac to
say the first word they thought of when they thought of her. Because when you're talking about branding, it seems to be one of the challenges she is facing. It's branding. The words, the top three words were, liar, dishonest and untrustworthy. Why is that?
CLINTON: Oh, come on, Erin. I've answered these questions for three days. And I'm not here to practice politics. If I were sitting in your chair and you were sitting here and you wanted to run for office, and I had four, five months to make sure nothing but the opposition's negative claims on you were run, and I presume your guilt with every question, and I beat up on you, you think I could your favorables down? You know, look, I trust the American people. They are innately fair. But they have to have more disclosure. She wants her e-mails released, the State Department and the intelligence agencies are arguing about whether any of them should be retroactively classified. That will play out however it does.
But she's the only secretary of state in history that ever said, just release them all, all my work-related e-mails. And so far, as I said, you get the record out, I think she looks great. I think she did a great job. And I think she's been doing a good job answering these questions now. I saw a poll today just in the newspaper saying that she was going well up again among people who don't get siloed news coverage. That is among Democrats and Independents that are open to voting for democrat. So, I'm just not worried about this. You just got to -- she's got to run that campaign, answer the questions and get back to the big issues of the election.
What should the American president do to keep these big bad things from happening and make more good things happen in the world? What should the American president do to help us have broad-based prosperity and help people succeed raising their kids and it worked?
CLINTON: So, we can get more women back in the work force. That's what I think, you know, it will be about. And I feel, I've been there, I've through this whole deal. And so, I'm not worried about it.
BURNETT: One final question. She was asked the other day about your marriage. And by Lena Dunham and here is what she said, I was terrified about losing my identity and getting lost in the wake of Bill's force of nature personality. I actually turned him down twice when he asked me to marry him.
CLINTON: That's true.
BURNETT: Okay. Just making sure the facts are accurate here. But the question is, how much of a force will you be in this campaign. We haven't seen a lot of you. But you're out here today. And I will say you just gave the most succinct and clear defense of her secretary of state tenureship that I heard.
(APPLAUSE) CLINTON: Well, first of all, it is true that I have done
markedly less to this point than I did eight years ago when she ran. Eight years ago I did a lot by now of what I've only done two things. I did some of the fund-raising events so she would be free to go out and campaign, but I couldn't do more because this year we had foundation trips to Africa and still one to finish to Latin-America. And it's the 20th anniversary of a lot of things that I was involved in. Normalization of relations with Vietnam. The peace in Bosnia. The Irish cease-fire that began the Irish peace process.
The 20th anniversary of Assad Rubin's death just a few days after he had the biggest handover of land to the Palestinian in the West Bank that they still govern on today. And so, my foundation life was full. And so now that when this is behind us, I'll be able to do some more of that. It's not to raise my profile. It gives me a chance to go talk to her supporters and tell them what I think they should know and answer their questions and frees her up to campaign more. I have no idea what else I'll do. I'll, you know, I'll do what I am asked to do within the limit. But I might, you know, she was great about this. She has said in the beginning, you've got to take care of the foundation first. It's your life. You've built it over 15 years. And whatever you can do when you can do it, I'll be grateful. And we sat down and mapped out the year and said, well, let's wait and I'll do the best I can.
BURNETT (voice-over): Next, much more with President Clinton and why he thinks President Obama needs Putin beat ISIS.
CLINTON: I still think it's possible to maybe reach an agreement with him.
Plus, later, President Clinton joined by his long-time friend. A world renowned scientist responsible for this discovery.
BURNETT: So, you're the maximum Neanderthal.
CLINTON: I don't know. But when I told Hillary this, she wasn't surprised.
[19:19:08] BURNETT: And we are back now with former President Bill Clinton from the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Obviously CGI is this week, the U.N. is this week, the Pope was just here. Pretty overwhelming.
CLINTON: Yes. He had a great visit. He did a wonderful job, I thought, in Washington, New York and Philadelphia. It was a great thing for Roman Catholics throughout the world and especially in America. But also, you know, and I liked it because I went to Georgetown which is the oldest Jesuit University in America and he is the first Jesuit pope, but I liked it because he was inclusive. It was communitarian. And you could have a fairly wide range of political views and still identify with his call to not forget the people who are the most unfortunate among us, and the fact we had to find a way to move forward together. It was very moving to me.
BURNETT: It truly was. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama at the U.N. They met. They hadn't met in a couple of years but met at the U.N. They're deciding what happens with ISIS and Syria. When they met, they gave, both gave dueling speeches. The speeches were very critical of each other, confrontational, their handshake was icy. How worried are you about how bad their relationship ISIS?
CLINTON: Well, only a little bit about that. What I worry about is that Putin intentionally changed the direction of Russian foreign policy in general, and decided to go all in on defining Russian greatness in the 21st Century in terms of their ability to control their neighbors and to have an influence in the Middle East, at least. That depends upon, at least to this point, they're increasing their influence at the expense of United States and Europe. And that ignores what I think should be the priority which is using their influence visa via Europe to build a cooperative relationship.
If they thought of Ukraine as a bridge between Europe and Russia, everybody would win. If they thought of how we could all help to stabilize the Middle East, everybody would win, but -- and that's the real problem, but I still think it's possible to maybe reach an agreement with him. He wants President Assad to stay in power. Because that keeps Russia's position in the Middle East stronger.
BURNETT: Why is that a bad idea though? I mean, there's so many --
CLINTON: Well, a lot of people believe that if you look at his father's success, there was a lot of violence in the beginning, and then he developed this sort of inclusive authoritarianism. And there were more women in government in Syria than most countries in the region. There was a place for all the various minority religions and sects there it seems clear the Syrian people would like a more representative government. But here's the deal. The number one priority now is to get hold of this ISIL threat. Because they say that they want to redraw all the national boundaries of the Middle East that were drawn after World War I. What I think that the President and President Putin are trying to do is to find some way to see if they can have a time-out without either one of them giving way to their, getting their convictions away and their position away so that we can join forces in fighting this.
I think now nobody else has an interest in ISIL breaking every cookie jar in the whole region and continuing killing all these innocent people. I think they are trying to figure out a way to work together without acknowledging any change in their long-term position on the future of the Assad government. That's what I think is going on. And I think that, you know, for all we know, they made more agreements than they led on.
BURNETT: Well, great, thank you very much, President Clinton. Thank you.
CLINTON: Thank you.
And stay with me. Because when we return, we'll going to be joined by a man renowned for his contributions in, well, maybe making us all live a whole lot longer. Craig Venter. We'll be right back.
[19:28:20] BURNETT: Welcome back to a special edition of Erin Burnett OUTFRONT with President Bill Clinton. The President is with me of course and joining us now, biologist and entrepreneur Craig Venter. He sequenced the human genome back in June of 2000. Dr. Venter was on stage with President Clinton in the east room of the White House, they were celebrating the completion of the first survey of the entire human genome. The President called it at that time, quote, "The most important, most wondrous map every produced by human kind." And Mr. Venter recently formed human longevity. It's a company that was focused on, well, extending our lives so that we can live longer, healthier and happier lives. Welcome to both of you.
J. CRAIG VENTER, MAPPED THE HUMAN GENOME: Thank you.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And you, that was wondrous, I mean, you use those words wondrous. But this is a man you have known for a very long time.
CLINTON: Yes. I've known him, admired him and been fascinated by him for more than 30 years.
BURNETT: And I guess, let me just go straight to you with the question. We have a man sitting here, a lot of people are watching, big fans of him, they wanted him to live a really long time. You still a very young ex-president. But are you going to be able to do that? Are you going to be able to extend how long people can live? How long President Clinton can live?
VENTER: Well, you couldn't pick a better subject that we want to live a long time. I think he is the most important historic figure that's alive today. And we would like to keep him around as long as we can. He's had good preventive medicine. He had cardiac bypass. Look how much slimmer he is from those photos in the White House 15 years ago.
CLINTON: Yes. I was pretty chunky, wasn't I?
VENTER: Oh, let's not talk about chunky right now. I haven't picked up your diet yet. I need to. Preventative medicine is the future. And it's going to be based on what we announced together 15 years ago. This next ten years is going to be the most exciting in the history of biology and medicine because what we did ten years ago that, cost my team $100 million for that first map. Today we can sequence a human genome for roughly $1,000. That is a big change in 15 years. His genome is obviously totally unique, but all of our genomes are. There is this three percent difference. We got an honorary degree together a few years back. And he was the speaker. He said he learned from me that he was 4 percent Neanderthal and that explained all the problems he had in the White House.
CLINTON: It is true, you know. Every human on earth whose ancestors do not come 100 percent from sub-Saharan Africa have a genome 4 percent Neanderthal.
BURNETT: So, you're the maximum Neanderthal?
CLINTON: I don't know, when I'm told -- Hillary this wasn't surprised.
CLINTON: But I was joking with Hillary and Chelsea because I found something, a factoid, before they did, and they were however astonished to find out they were part Neanderthal, too.
VENTER: It turns out they are positive traits, which is why they lasted. So, they, in fact, were part of your success in the White House.
CLINTON: Yes, they were bigger and stronger than we were.
BURNETT: Would you want to know? I mean, I guess this is one -- say when you get there and you can sequence the gene and all of a sudden, you know all kinds of things, personality traits, you know whether you are going to get Alzheimer's, you know things like that. I guess the question is, would you want to know?
VENTER: Knowledge is power. I can give you a very personal example.
Being the first one in history to have his genome sequenced, my genome has been examined quite extensively, and I found out early on I had a high risk for melanoma. In fact, I'm in the 90 percentile just based on my genome. If you add behavioral factors and sailing and surfing and being in the sun, I'm probably in the 100 percent.
Ten years ago, I noticed a small melanoma on my back and I had removed it immediately because I learned how to recognize them. That was it.
Had I ignored it for even six months, we might not have that conversation today. So, knowledge about yourself and what is unique to you gives each of us personal power, potentially, over our future. That's key.
BURNETT: So many incredible things it can do.
President Clinton, you know, the pope we were talking about the pope earlier when he was here in Congress he talked about the golden rule. One of the things he said was the golden rule reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. The human genome project, of course, has enabled us to learn a lot about genes, including chromosomes that could cost things like Down's syndrome. And now, people can get that information very early on, very early pregnant, you find out you have Down syndrome, you can choose to abort the baby and a lot of people do.
What do you think about that?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I met a lot of young children and not so young children with Down syndrome. And they are loving and loveable, life-enriching people mostly. The ones I met, I've been enchanted by.
But it's a decision, I think, that every family has to make. And a harder one, I think, than one of the things that has been thrown into high release by this recent debate about I see in the Republican presidential primary when I met three pro-life women who had, decided to terminate their pregnancies early because they had severely hydrocephalic children and they were told that these children would die for certain during childhood or immediately after. And if they didn't terminate the pregnancy early, by shrinking the size of the head, they might give up the opportunity to have more children.
These are the kinds of questions that as we learn more, we may confront. And I think -- I hope there will be some way to avoid that Hobson's choice. So, you can argue, and these women all decided, one was a Roman Catholic, one was an orthodox Jew, one was a Christian evangelical, they all decided the pro-life decision was to preserve their ability to have children with a reasonable chance to live.
[19:35:01] So, these are -- that's one of the reasons we created a space in our law to let women and their families and their doctors make this decision. I don't -- these are excruciatingly difficult choices. I've -- my choice might or might not be yours.
BURNETT: It sounds like you're saying you are going to get so much more information that maybe it would be tragic to abort a Down syndrome baby, but you don't want to draw the line there. But where do you draw the line?
CLINTON: In 20 years from now, we may make totally different decisions because we have practically different outcomes that we can choose. And I think -- that's one of the reasons why I think we have to keep investing in all this and keep pushing the frontier and learning more.
I agree with Craig. Knowledge is power. It's scary, but I mean -- you know -- I think one of the things that will happen with human genome is that we will be able to develop much more specific and granular knowledge about what diets are necessary to lengthen our lives and preserve our health, particularly against heart attack and stroke, as well as certain kinds of cancers.
VENTER: Also Alzheimer's.
BURNETT: Next, what's ahead for President Clinton.
CLINTON: Anybody who knows me knows that I am subject to serial excitement.
[19:40:34] BURNETT: I'm back with President Bill Clinton and Craig Venter here at the Clinton Global Initiative.
We talk about the difficult choice of abortion, which there will be a lot more choices as people get more information. But then there's also people who -- you know, in China this year when they were able to mess, for a lack of a better word, mess with a gene. You know, as this goes ahead and you're thinking on the moral frontiers, right, you might be able to say, well, not just do I want a baby with blue eyes or green eyes, but I want somebody with this personality trait or I want them to be that way. That power could be in our hands, though, right?
VENTER: It is in our hands today because -- except we don't know the genetics of different personality traits yet.
BURNETT: It's kind of terrifying though.
VENTER: I find it extremely exciting. That depends on how you use the information.
VENTER: Right now from pre-implantation testing, it's been used, you can select a cell. We can do the genome sequence on a cell and you can find a cell lacking mutation for a debilitating disease that will kill a child in its first ten years of life.
So, by selecting the right cell from knowing the genetic code, you can prevent having to make the decision about whether to have an abortion or not. It's inevitable that we will go in this direction. I'm hoping we will wait until we get more knowledge and wisdom to do it a little bit more intelligently.
CLINTON: Let's look at something I think will happen a little sooner. You have a lot of -- because of the practice now of studying people with cancer and trying to stop people from dying prematurely even if the cancer is addressed in later stages or if it's rapidly growing by analyzing the genome, the tumor, we know every one of us has about, what, 10,000 cancerous cells every day that our bodies just destroy. But there are a lot of genome researchers who believe that we
should basically be able to kill all these tumors the way our body disposes of others by attacking them with killer cells. So, on balance, this stuff is going to be way good for us.
At the margins, there will be continuing moral, ethical, practical questions to be resolved, and the matching your inner landscape to your outer reality will be a different kettle of fish 20 years from now than it is today, but that's always been part of the burden and the joy of being human, trying to decide what is the right thing to do in complicated circumstances.
But we shouldn't make the perfect the enemy of the good. On balance, I agree with Craig. This is going to be way good. I mean, it's going to be really, really good.
VENTER: In fact, if you have cancer, there is nothing more important you can know than the genetic code of yourself and your tumor, knowing a good oncologist is important, as well. But only about 3 percent of cancer patients in the U.S. have this information right now.
BURNETT: So you have ten years of CGI. Health has been a big part of it. You're talking about sequence of the genome, vaccines. I was with you in Africa once when you were doing some health projects.
BURNETT: But I know obviously you want your wife to win. She says she respect you doing this, the foundation. CGI is your passion. Is it going to keep being your passion? What are you most excited about, right?
This year we talk about future impact. What are you personally most excited about?
CLINTON: Well -- anybody who knows me knows that I am subject to serial excitement.
CLINTON: But --
VENTER: That is genetically predictable.
CLINTON: I'm about to go to Latin America. And I'm excited by the fact when I started this work there was a huge amount of interest and crying need in Africa, particularly on the health care side. There still is, but Africa's got six of the fastest growing economies in the world. You know, we are literally going to be in position to work ourselves out of a job in a lot of parts of Africa in the next few years. [19:45:02] Meanwhile, Latin America which used to be the most
unequal section of the world has people with money who are really getting interested in trying to build a more broadly shared quality of life.
So, I'm going to start a trip to Central and South America where we're essentially trying to do two things. We're trying to help countries become as energy-independent as possible in a way that maximizes their climate change impact, and we're going to begin in Panama where the man sitting right behind you has built the first 215 megawatts of massive wind facility that's going to provide, make Panama City one of the cleanest energy cities on earth.
And -- so, we're going to do that. And our other major prospect there is called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership which Carlos Slim is a big partner. And we distribute consumer goods to poor women who have never earned a regular income in their lives in remote Indian villages. So, I'm excited about that. I'm really excited about the promise.
I know that, you know, Mexico's income is down because oil prices are down and Brazil is having the trouble it's having. But on the long run, just like Africa, Latin America is a great bet for the future. You're going to -- ten years from now, you won't recognize either one in a good way.
BURNETT: Well, thank you both so much.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And when we return, actor/activist Edward Norton and first president of Facebook, Sean Parker.
We'll be back.
[19:51:05] BURNETT: And welcome back to this special edition of ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT.
I'm joined now by Edward Norton, a three-time Academy Award nominee, most recently for the film "Birdman". He's also a longtime social activist and the cofounder of Crowdrise, a micro donation fundraising platform.
Craig Venter also here, credited with sequencing the first draft of the human genome. He may help us live forever.
And Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook, and co-founder of the file sharing computer service Napster. His foundation, the Parker Foundation, has as its mission to, quote, "aggressively pursue large scale systemic change in three areas, life-style, public health and civic engagement"
Edward Norton, Craig Venter, Sean Parker, thanks very much to all of you.
The University of Michigan did a study a few years ago on what the web is doing to young people and the concept of social networking, right? But they found that college students are 40 percent lower empathy than their counterparts a couple of decades ago. And they actually cited Facebook and social networking in particular, because you can live a world online and as a result, you're not actually interacting with a human being, you're not meeting their eyes, you're not touching them. And it actually takes away from a connection.
Do you think that there is anything to that?
SEAN PARKER, CO-FOUNDED NAPSTER: I think the expectation that one would have in talking to me since I've been involved in so many social media project since before there was the term as social media is that I look at these things as entirely positive. I don't think that any technology is entirely positive or negative in its impact. And I think the end results is that these platforms are very good, maybe too good, at actually consuming your time and making you feel slightly connected to a lot of people, but not very intimately connected to anyone.
The trouble is that culture has not yet developed the immune system, that immune reaction that we have culturally hasn't yet caught up to these platforms. So, I think, eventually, and you see it with younger kids that are growing up with these mediums, I think they're beginning to self-regulate a little bit more. I'm not sure if that's great for my ownership in Facebook, but it's probably it's a good thing for society.
BURNETT: Yes. I want -- yes?
EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: This thing shifts to. I mean, this isn't a new question, you know, our parents' generation was worried about the same effect on television. So television came up and was totally a disruptive medium, and they were completely afraid of a generation of zombie-like children sitting in front of the television box, which I guess did happen. But --
You know, I think people raised a flag of concern every time there is a new form of social absorption, or something like that and it's legitimate. Yu know, if someone if people who ten years ago wanted to write off the whole idea of social networking or something like Facebook as white noise, a waste of time, you know, all of these kind of things, that that would have been really premature, because the speed with which the social networking space has matured and evolved.
And, you know, Crowdrise wouldn't exist if Facebook hadn't exist. LinkedIn wouldn't exist if Facebook had not existed.
BURNETT: When you look at Crowdrise, what are some of the most interesting or unusual things people are raising money for? NORTON: One thing you see within grassroots platforms, like
Crowdrise, like what Sean is doing with causes and political engagement -- and by causes I mean their platform that they had -- is that people, you know, you see American corporations and American foundations making a lot of effort to kind of select causes and then get people to engage with it.
And one thing we say to a lot of companies we work with is, people don't actually need a lot of coaching on finding a cause to be passionate about.
[19:55:00] Most people have something that has touched them in one way or another. Most people have two or three things that they're actually fairly passionate about. They don't really need identification of what to care about. They need mechanisms to act through, and I think that is one of the really gratifying things that we see is that people -- people in the United States and all over the world are actually very passionate and they're looking for -- they're looking for easier and more effective ways to engage within it.
BURNETT: All right, well, thank you very much to after you, Ed Norton, Craig Venter, and Sean Parker, we appreciate it.
And, of course, to all of you, you can see more of this panel on my show on CNN International this weekend.