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Transcript: Kara Swisher, "Pivot" co-host, on "Face the Nation," July 16, 2023

The following is a transcript of an interview with Kara Swisher, "Pivot" co-host, that aired on "Face the Nation" on July 16, 2023.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to Face The Nation. And we are continuing the theme with podcast host and tech watcher, Kara Swisher, talking about how technology is really changing so many industries. And you of course, you've watched this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you've also interviewed Barry Diller--
SWISHER:-- yes. Many, many, many dozens of times.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And I was reading an interview you did with him back in 2019. And it almost forecast some of this because he said Hollywood's irrelevant--
SWISHER:-- he did. He said-
-- the rise of tech companies.
SWISHER: Yeah, I think he said if they're- if their children had teeth- their children wouldn't have teeth because they're so inbred and they don't understand what's happening. He made some sort of colorful Barry Diller metaphor about that. But yeah, he was- he's been very pressing and honest and that's the reason I've known him for so long is he was one of the first people to contact me from Hollywood. And one of the only. There were just two, Bob Iger and him, about the Internet back in the early days, and everyone else thought it would go away. And I kept saying, it's not going away. And it's going to keep changing. And that's what's happening now. And it continues. And so Hollywood continues to struggle with the implications of technology, even at this advanced stage.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And that's the streaming and digital--
SWISHER: -- of the latest
-- using the pipes to get it out to consumers. But it's also the content makers.
Right. Absolutely.
It's that Apple makes content. And Amazon and--
-- that's right. They're competing with people with enormous amounts of resources and money that- that Hollywood doesn't compare to. Last year, I interviewed Bob Iger and he even said Disney was too small. When you think about that, think about the idea that Disney with its parks and its other characters, its IP, has a hard time competing with these tech companies that are getting better and better. Whether it's Apple TV, or it's Amazon. You know, obviously Netflix is really, you know, really plowed the field here. And it's now back again, in a very strong position as- as a standalone company versus a Hollywood company.
MARGARET BRENNAN:  The CEO of Disney Bob Iger got some criticisms, certainly from the union about his comment that this was just sort of the worst possible time to have this kind of negotiation because all of the strain on the industry.
SWISHER: Yeah, I think he's right. But they don't like that message. Right? I think he's probably right. At the same time, he earns an enormous salary. So it's easy to point to it and say, "what a greedy man," that kind of thing. And I get that. And I think it's important for them to talk about financials, but it almost has nothing to do with what's going on in Hollywood right now, which is the streaming, this shift to streaming, which is necessary and important, is expensive. The economics aren't worked out. They've overspent, there's enormous competition between and among all the different companies. And nobody's figured out how to pay for people. Now the actors are correct as they should get a piece of this and figuring out whose value- who values and who's valuable is going to be very hard. And- but there is a real strain on the- on these companies. At this moment in time. It doesn't mean it's not going to change. But it certainly is one of those sort of rubicon moments that Hollywood faces from time to time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And I'm guessing that the giving everyone a 25% pay cut is not something that- that proposal for Barry Diller is not gonna go anywhere.
SWISHER: No, I don't think so. But they're right, and like, what's their value? Whose value is what and who contributes to what and what happens over time when you could use AI and all kinds of things to replicate things rather easily, including writers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And that's what I want to ask you about is AI, because this isn't just the entertainment industry. This is every industry. People are saying, 'Am I going to be replaced by a robot?"
SWISHER:  Right. Right. So not a robot?
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well you know what I'm saying?
SWISHER: Yeah, yes. Maybe a robot--
MARGARET BRENNAN:  Well- anyway. But on that point, how is the tech industry thinking about this? Because when you hear the calls for legislation, things are not moving swiftly in Congress. They are just now really starting classified briefings on what AI is.
SWISHER: Right, well, they haven't legislated the old internet yet.
SWISHER: Not-not in 25 years, there's not been one piece of legislation. Not a privacy, not antitrust, not algorithmic transparency. So I imagine they'll get to this sometime in 2060- 70? I don't know. You know, they're more they find this more interesting. And they're actually moving a little faster. Because it's a global issue. It's a global issue and a competitive issue with China, for example. And so they're thinking about it, because of the implications of AI are much more profound. They're more like the shift- farming shift, the manufacturing shift, the internet shift. So this is a big moment actually. I don't- I know, Barry said it was undersung. No, it's not-- I thought crypto –
MARGARET BRENNAN: He said that about Hollywood, but then he didn't when he was talking about publishing.
SWISHER: Yes. Publishing. Of course. That's right. I think he's right. They're not going to suddenly make you know, an AI- I don't know Brad Pitt or something like that he'll- he'll be around till his career is over, essentially, and be fine. But I do think that there's implications on writers and everybody I mean, someone that in the in the- green room just said, is- "is AI going to kill us?" And I'm like, what do you do? You know, he's a lawyer, and I'm like, oh, yeah, kind of - like a lot of what you do, but it's going to change what you do versus - say you're a lawyer writing a contract, it can write a contract and then you can check it and it can write it faster. If you're a PR person, it will write a press release better and quicker. If you're in journalism, headlines faster and better, and then you can pick it. It's a lot like using a spreadsheet. I keep trying to explain to people, it's like, you don't use a calculator anymore. You use a spreadsheet. And you don't think that that's put all these accountants out of business. It just changed their work.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So what is the entry of Elon Musk announcing he has a new firm and also wants China to be-what did he say? On "team humanity" to shape artificial intelligence?
SWISHER: Sure, China's always really good that way.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It's a surveillance state
SWISHER: It's a surveillance state. You know, I think that. You know, I think it has to be a global solution for a lot of issues. Because when you think about things like killer robots, yeah, maybe we should all come- that AI robots, you need to be thinking about that. And there should be global decisions made as a group of countries discussing what should and shouldn't be used. But you know, every country is competing, and Elon was early to AI. I have interviewed him many times about it a decade ago. But he was late because he- Open AI and he parted ways for a variety of reasons. And then they of course, launched ChatGPT, etc. And Microsoft made the investments. So Elon was ahead, but then he was behind. And so now he's trying to be ahead again, after calling for a pause –
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. Oh, I remember that six month pause.
SWISHER: I know. It's so funny that he calls for a pause, and then started a company and then yeah. One would imagine that was hypocritical if one was of that mind.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, there was no pause. Right?
SWISHER: There was no pause.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is his entry- Elon Musk's entry in? Excuse me, he's already entered the social media space through Twitter. But what is the entry of Mark Zuckerberg's new product Threads mean for Twitter?
SWISHER: Very bad.
SWISHER: Very bad. First real- I mean, there's been a lot of really interesting efforts. I like them all. But this is someone who has an immediate social network that you can tap into, which is Instagram. Very smart way to do it. It's a good product. They're slowly rolling it out. It seems safer. It seems more civil. It's a real- Musk made gave Zuckerberg an opening. And if they were, say in a cage match, he would have had the stuffing knocked at him at this moment. We'll see if he can recover, but I don't think it can. Because advertising is way off. He's created a haven for white supremacists. There's no safety on that platform. And so Mark Zuckerberg can come in and say, "Oh, look, we have safety. Oh, look, we have a network." It was really smart of Mark and he's- he's sort of redefining his narrative. And hopefully he can get it right this time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Versus Facebook--
SWISHER: -- last time. Yes. Yeah,
MARGARET BRENNAN: -- All the criticism.
SWISHER: -- Yeah I think it's not going to be a huge business. It's, you know, maybe eight to $10 billion for him if he turns on the advertising and- and Twitter's gone from 5 billion to maybe 2 billion.
MARGARET BRENNAN: A 50% drop in revenue.
SWISHER: At least, if not more.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Kara Swisher. It's always great to have-- 
SWISHER:-- any time
MARGARET BRENNAN:-- particularly in person to help us think make sense of these- these shifts
SWISHER: -- thank you. Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN:-- that change our economy, or politics change our society. We'll be right back.