tv 60 Minutes CBS October 10, 2021 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
come aboard a medallionclass cruise with princess plus. visit princess.com or call 1-800-princess. and ford. we go further, so you can. >> that's where the magic happens. >> this is a deepfake-- hyper realistic video and audio recordings that use artificial intelligence to create "fake" content. ( laughs ) the u.s. government has become increasingly concerned about the use of deepfakes. >> it poses a major threat to the united states. >> we wanted to know more about how they worked, so we asked one of the best in the business to train the technology on us. this is how i looked 30 years ago. ( ticking ) >> remember the stories of migrant children being
purposefully separated from their parents at the u.s. border in 2018? well, three years later, at least 1,000 kids still haven't been returned to their parents. >> it is shocking. and really, what happened was that there was no system in place for documenting separations. so, there's nowhere to go to find out who was separated or not. it really is case by case detective work. ( ticking ) >> deep springs college is an oasis of green set amid a no-man's-land of sage-brush and endless sky. >> putting, like, philosophy and love into two orders. >> here, students from around the world labor in the classroom-- and on the grounds, where there is no football field, but there is an alfalfa field, and the syllabus includes philosophy, calculus and pre-dawn cow milking. ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl.
>> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm jon wertheim. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) ♪ have a good time 'cause it's all right ♪ ♪ now listen to the beat ♪ ♪ kinda pat your feet ♪ ♪ it's all right ♪ ♪ have a good time 'cause it's all right ♪ ♪ oh, it's all right ♪ ah! come on! let's hide in the attic. no. in the basement. why can't we just get in the running car? are you crazy? let's hide behind the chainsaws.
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walmart plus you get more with aarp medicare advantage plans from unitedhealthcare. like $0 copays on preventive dental care. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ so go ahead. take advantage now. ♪ wow! ♪ >> bill whitaker: you may never have heard the term "synthetic media," more commonly known as "deepfakes," but our military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies certainly have. they are hyper-realistic video
and audio recordings that use artificial intelligence and "deep" learning to create "fake" content-- or "deepfakes." the u.s. government has grown increasingly concerned about their potential to be used to spread disinformation and commit crimes. that's because the creators of deepfakes have the power to make people say or do anything-- at least on our screens. most americans have no idea how far the technology has come in just the last four years, or the danger, disruption and opportunities that come with it. >> deepfake tom cruise: you know i do all my own stunts, obviously. i also do my own music. >> whitaker: this is not tom cruise. it's one of a series of hyper- realistic deepfakes of the movie star that began appearing on the video-sharing app tiktok earlier this year. >> deepfake tom cruise: hey, what's up tiktok? >> whitaker: for days, people
wondered if they were real. and, if not, who had created them. >> deepfake tom cruise: it's important. >> whitaker: finally, a modest, 32-year-old belgian visual effects artist named chris umeé, stepped forward to claim credit. >> chris umé: we believed as long as we're making clear this is a parody, we're not doing anything to harm his image. but after a few videos, we realized like, this is blowing up; we're getting millions and millions and millions of views. >> whitaker: umeé says his work is made easier because he teamed up with a tom cruise impersonator whose voice, gestures and hair are nearly identical to the real mccoy. umeé only deepfakes cruise's face, and stitches that onto the real video and sound of the impersonator. >> deepfake tom cruise: that's where the magic happens. >> whitaker: for technophiles, deeptomcruise was a tipping point for deepfakes. >> deepfake tom cruise: still got it. >> whitaker: how do you make this so seamless? >> umé: it begins with training
a deepfake model, of course. i have all the face angles of tom cruise, all the expressions, all the emotions. it takes time to create a really good deepfake model. >> whitaker: what do you mean "training the model"? how do you train your computer? >> umé: "training" means it's going to analyze all the images of tom cruise, all his expressions, compared to my impersonator. so, the computer's going to teach itself: when my impersonator is smiling, i'm going to recreate tom cruise smiling, and that's, that's how you "train" it. >> whitaker: using video from the cbs news archives, chris uée was able to train his computer to learn every aspect of my face, and wipe away the decades. this is how i looked 30 years ago. he can even remove my mustache. the possibilities are endless, and a little frightening. >> umé: i see a lot of mistakes in my work, but i don't mind it, actually, because i don't want to fool people. i just want to show them what's possible.
>> whitaker: you don't want to fool people. >> umé: no.o tertaiople, nt to ras al going. >> nina schick: it is without a doubt one of the most important revolutions in the future of human communication and perception. i would say it's analogous to the birth of the internet. >> whitaker: political scientist and technology consultant nina schick wrote one of the first books on deepfakes. she first came across them four years ago when she was advising european politicians on russia's use of disinformation and social media to interfere in democratic elections. what was your reaction when you first realized this was possible and was going on? >> schick: well, given that i was coming at it from the perspective of disinformation and manipulation in the context of elections, the fact that a.i.
can now be used to make images and video that are fake, that look hyper realistic, i thought, well, from a disinformation perspective, this is a game changer. >> whitaker: so far, there's no evidence deepfakes have "changed the game" in a u.s. election, but earlier this year the f.b.i. put out a notification warning that "russian and chinese actors are using synthetic profile images," creating deepfake journalists and media personalities to spread anti- american propaganda on social media. >> robert ashley: so, how do you get deepfakes... >> whitaker: the u.s. military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have kept a wary eye on deepfakes for years. at this 2019 hearing, senator ben sasse of nebraska asked if the u.s. is prepared for the onslaught of disinformation,
fakery and fraud. >> ben sasse: when you think about the catastrophic potential to public trust and to markets that could come from deepfake attacks, are we organized in a way that we could possibly respond fast enough? >> dan coats: we clearly need to be more agile. it poses a major threat to the united states and something that the intelligence community needs to be restructured to address. >> whitaker: since then, technology has continued moving at an exponential pace, while u.s. policy has not. efforts by the government and big tech to detect synthetic media are competing with a community of "deepfake artists" who share their latest creations and techniques online. like the internet, the first place deepfake technology took off was in pornography. the sad fact is the majority of deepfakes today consist of women's faces, mostly ceit superd ontoideos. >>ick: t first use case in pornography is just a harbinger
of how deepfakes can be used maliciously in many different contexts, which are now starting to arise. >> whitaker: and they're getting better all the time? >> schick: yes. the incredible thing about deepfakes and synthetic media is the pace of acceleration when it comes to the technology. and by five to seven years, we are basically looking at a trajectory where any single creator, so, a youtuber, a tiktoker, will be able to create the same level of visual effects that is only accessible to the most well-resourced hollywood studio today. >> whitaker: the technology behind deepfakes is artificial intelligence, which mimics the way humans learn. in 2014, researchers for the first time used computers to create realistic looking faces using something called" generative adversarial networks," or gans. >> schick: so, you set up an adversarial game where you have two a.i.s combating each other
to try and create the best fake synthetic coen and as these two networks combat each other, one trying to generate the best image, the other trying to detect where it could be better, you basically end up with an output that is increasingly improving all the time. >> whitaker: schick says the power of generative adversarial networks is on full display at a website called www.thispersondoesnotexist.com. >> schick: every time you refresh the page, there's a new image of a person who does not exist. >> whitaker: each is a one-of-a- kind, entirely a.i. generated image of a human being who never has, and never will, walk this earth. >> schick: you can see every pore on their face. you can see every hair on their head. but now imagine that technology being expanded out not only to mas, in ill im, but alsovi anat's really where we're
heading right now. >> whitaker: this is mind- blowing. >> schick: yes. ( laughs ) >> whitaker: what's the positive side of this? >> schick: the technology itself is neutral. so, just as bad actors are, without a doubt, going to be using deepfakes, it is also going to be used by good actors. so, first of all, i would say that there's a very compelling case to be made for the commercial use of deepfakes. >> whitaker: victor riparbelli is c.e.o. and co-founder of synthesia, based in london, one of dozens of companies using deepfake technology to transform video and audio productions. >> victor riparbelli: the way synthesia works is that we've essentially replaced cameras with code, and once you're working with software, we do a lot of things that you wouldn't be able to do with a normal camera. we're still very early, but this is going to be a fundamental change in how we create media. >> this video was of course generated by synthesia. >> whitaker: synthesia makes and sells "digital avatars," using
the faces of paid actors to deliver personalized messages in 64 languages, and allows corporate c.e.o's to address employees overseas. ( speaking foreign language ) >> snoop dogg: ♪ did somebody say, just eat? ♪ >> whitaker: synthesia has also helped entertainers like snoop dogg go forth and multiply. this elaborate tv commercial for european food delivery service" just eat" cost a fortune. >> snoop dogg: ♪ j-u-s-t-e-a-t ♪ >> riparbelli: just eat has a subsidiary in australia, which is called menulog. so, what we did with our technology was we switched out the word just eat for menulog. >> snoop dogg: ♪ m-e-n-u-l-o-g did somebody say, menulog? ♪ >> riparbelli: and all of a sudden they had a localized version for the australian market without snoop dogg having to do anything. >> whitaker: so, he makes twice the money, huh? >> riparbelli: yeah. eight minutes of me reading a script on camera for synthesia
to create my synthetic talking head, complete with my gestures, head and mouth movements. another company, "descript," used a.i. to create a synthetic version of my voice. >> deepfake bill whitaker: this is bill whitaker's synthetic voice. >> whitaker: with my cadence, tenor and syncopation. >> deepfake bill whitaker: this is the result. the words you're hearing were never spoken by the real bill into a microphone or to a camera. he merely typed the words into a computer and they come out of my mouth. >> whitaker: it may look and sound a little rough around the edges right now, but as the technology improves, the possibilities of spinning words and images out of thin air are endless. >> deepfake bill whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. i'm bill whitaker. i'm bill whitaker. >> whitaker: wow. and the head, the eyebrows, the mouth, way is. iparbellt's al synthec. >> whitaker: i cld y, "fos-- you know, i'm not going to come in today. but you can use my avatar to do the work."
>> riparbelli: maybe in a few years. >> whitaker: don't tell me that. i'd be tempted. >> tom graham: i think it will have a big impact. >> whitaker: the rapid advances in synthetic media have caused a virtual gold rush. tom graham, a london-based lawyer who made his fortune in cryptocurrency, recently started a company called metaphysic with none other than chris umeé, creator of deeptomcruise. their goal: develop software to allow anyone to create hollywood-caliber movies without lights, cameras, or even actors. >> graham: as the hardware scales and as the models become more efficient, we can scale up the size of that model to be an entire tom cruise; body, movement and everything. >> whitaker: well, talk about disruptive. i mean, are you going to put actors out of jobs? >> graham: i think it is a great thing if you're a well-known actor today because you may be able to let somebody collect data for you to create a version of yourself in the future where you could be acting in movies after you have deceased.
or you could be the director, directing your younger self in a movie or something like that. >> whitaker: if you are wondering how all of this is legal, most deepfakes are considered protected free speech. attempts at legislation are all over the map. in new york, commercial use of a performer's synthetic likeness without consent is banned for 40 years after their death. california and texas prohibit deceptive political deepfakes in the lead-up to an election. >> schick: there are so many ethical, philosophical gray zones here that we really need to think about. >> whitaker: so, how do we as a society grapple with this? >> schick: just understanding what's going on. because a lot of people still don't know what a deepfake is, what synthetic media is, that this is now possible. the counter to that is, how do we inoculate ourselves and understand that this kind of content is coming and exists without being completely
cynical? right? how do we do it without losing trust in all authentic media? that's going to require all of us to figure out how to maneuver in a world where seeing is not always believing. ( ticking ) >> when any video can be faked, how do you prove when one is real? >> if everything can be faked then anything can be denied. >> at 60minutesovertime.com. is one of the best parts of being a parent. one of the most important is giving them ways to fulfill them. for over 150 years, generations have trusted the strength and stability of pacific life. because life insurance can help protect talk to a financial professional
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>> sharyn alfonsi: it's been 35 years since congress last passed a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system. so, president after president has careened from crisis to crisis at the border. president biden is no different. his administration is struggling to deal with one of the largest surges of migrants at the southern border in 20 years while, at the same time, trying to clean up another immigration mess you might think was already fixed. remember the stories of migrant children being intentionally separated from their parents at the border in 2018? the practice sparked widespread, bi-partisan outrage, and forced president trump to order an end to the separations. soon after, a federal judge ordered the government to reunite the families. but three years later at least 1,000 children have not been returned to their parents.
we went to southern indiana to meet two of those children from eldo his brother adonis is nine. mother crossed this bridge that links mexico to the united statesyson't remember much about the trip, but jaime has a vivid memory of when u.s. border officers took his mother away. when they took your mom away, do you remember what she said to you? >> jamie: yeah, she told me to be a strong brother, to help my brother and everything, to never feel bad. don't worry about what happened, worry about your brother. >> alfonsi: jaime and adonis were among the first of nearly 4,000 children to be intentionally separated from their parents at the border as part of the trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy.rnme to ree e
famies within ay thas in 18. i think a lot of people will say to themselves, like, "how can they not have reunited these families already? there's parents and there's a kid, and you've gotta get them together." why is it so difficult? >> michelle brane: it's been three plus years for a lot of these families. they have moved to different places. so, they're no longer at the addresses we may have last had for them. they-- in many cases, these children are with sponsors who they now call mommy and daddy, right? and so, it's not as simple as just saying, "going to put you on a plane, and reunify you, and then we're done." >> alfonsi: michelle brane leads the family reunification task force formed by president biden in the first weeks of his presidency. four federal agencies arethr pon months, they've only reunited 52 families. >> brane: we estimate that over
1,000, somewhere between 1,000, 1,500 maybe more, remain separated. it's very hard to know because there's no record. >> alfonsi: how do you separate a child from their parents, and there's no documentation? >> brane: it is shocking. and really, what happened was that there was no system in place for documenting separations. so, there's nowhere to go to find out who was separated or not. it really is case by case detective work. >> alfonsi: a federal investigation described the government's record keeping during child separations as "ad-hoc." one border station "used a basic whiteboard" to keep track of the children. phone numbers, addresses and names for parents were missing. the federal judge who ordered the u.s. government in 2018 to reunite the families wrote, "migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property." >> lee gelernt: when i began investigating this did i think
that, in 2021, i'd be sitting here in el salvador, still looking for families, not in a million years. looking back, maybe i was naiïv. >> alfonsi: lee gelernt is a lawyer with the american civil liberties union. we met him in central america. gelernt led the lawsuit to stop the practice of family separation. for two years, he's been working with local teams to help find the parents that were separated from their children and then, deported. >> gelernt: when we got the first list of children and there were children under a year old, six months old, hundreds-- we were shocked. i mean-- really shocked. >> alfonsi: i think a lot of people might think, "if someone took my child and s e ori-- i'd be at the u.s. embassy banging on the door to get my kid back." why aren't they banging on the
doors of the embassy, saying, "i want my child back?" >> gelernt: one mother said to me, "i got up the courage to ask, 'where are you taking my child?' and they said, 'chicago.'" and she said, "i had no idea if that was a person, a place, a government agency. but i was too scared to ask a follow-up question." >> alfonsi: one of the parents his search team found in el salvador was this woman. her name is sulma, and she is the mother of those two boys we met in indiana. the stories of separated families are rarely simple, and neither is theirs. sulma told us she first sought asylum in the u.s. in 2014 with her two daughters because they were threatened by a gang leader. but a year later, she returned to el salvador because she says her estranged husband failed to care of her two boys and the gangs were now targeting them. sulma decided to flee to the u.s. again, this time with
adonis and jaime who were five and nine years old. so, what happened when you presented yourself to the border agents? >> ( translated ): when i got across with the kids, they saw my file and they said i was trafficking people and those children were not mine. that the birth certificates that i showed were not originals and that i had made them up. >> alfonsi: how long after you crossed the border were you separated from your sons? >> ( translated ): i spent maybe four hours with them. >> alfonsi: did you get to say goodbye? >> ( translated ): yes, a little, because it was close to midnight, so they were asleep when they came in to say they were taking them away. >> alfonsi: this report filed by u.s. customs and border protection supports her story. it says the family crossed legally at the bridge and sulma told officers she was afraid to return to her country and but u.s. border officers took her boys from her.
what sulma had no way of knowing is that the trump administration had already started quietly separating children from their parents at the border. the practice wouldn't become public for another five months. when they said they were going to deport you, did you say, "i want my kids to come back with me"? >> ( translated ): yes, with me. yes, i told them and they said no, and that i couldn't do anything because i had brought them and turned them in to immigration. >> alfonsi: sulma says an immigration judge warned her if she tried to cross the border again, she'd be banned from the united states for life. she was deported back to el salvador on one of the jets chartered by u.s. immigration and customs enforcement. each flight costs u.s. taxpayers about $64,000. when you look back on it, do you regret trying to cross the border with your boys? >> ( translated ): yes, my whole
life, yes all the way. that's what hurts the most, what i carry the longest in my heart, that deep regret. if i could go back, i never would have left. >> alfonsi: jaime and adonis were sent to new york where they spent five months in a group home before they were ultimately sent to indiana to live with their sister, katherine. she was one of the daughters sulma brought to the u.s. seven years ago, and is still waiting for her own asylum claim to be resolved. even though sulma and her sons spoke constantly by phone, they somehow were lost in the system. because of that shoddy government record keeping within u.s. immigration, their names didn't appear on any of the lists given to search teams. so, for two years, they werewatg to get them back together.
when their file was finally discovered it was incomplete. there was no phone number or address for sulma or her boys in indiana. it took the a.c.l.u. and the team in el salvador three months to track her down through relatives and friends. >> welcome to indianapolis international airport. >> alfonsi: this summer, the u.s. government brought the parents of 42 of the children into the country to be reunited. sulma was one of them. she whispered a prayer of thanks as she made her way to the arrivals area at the indianapolis airport. and into the arms of her sons, for the first time in 3.5 years. it was also the first time she'd been with her oldest daughter in six years, the first time she held her granddaughter, and the
first time she could thank jaime in person for taking care of his little brother. we heard her say, again and again, "i'm sorry." when you got off the plane, you apologized to the kids. >> sulma: yes. >> alfonsi: why did you do that? >> ( translated ): because i felt like it was my fault that everything had happened, and so i felt guilty and when i saw him i had to ask him for forgiveness. >> alfonsi: and what's it been like, now that you're all together? >> jaime: amazing. >> alfonsi: amazing? >> jaime: yeah. >> alfonsi: but it's not the end of their story. when we checked in with sulma last week, she told us she had job prospects, but could not start because she was still waiting for her work papers. sulma's permission to stay here expires in three years. the future is also murky for her sons. according to government
statistics, less than 10% of migrant children are granted asylum. the a.c.l.u's lee gelernt wants congress to step in and give the separated families a permanent home in the united states. >> gelernt: whatever else is going on at the border, and there are a lot of challenges at the border, this is a distinct group of families who were brutalized by our government and deserve relief from our government. >> alfonsi: you want to see-- this group set aside from everything that's happening at the border right now. >> gelernt: we do. there's a lot of problems at the border, and they need the biden administration's attention, but i would hate to see the larger border issues affect how we deal with these families. >> alfonsi: but startling images last month from texas show an immigration system already overwhelmed. the u.s. has expelled more than 7,000 haitians in the last three weeks, and more migrants are on
the way. the department of homeland security says it is committed to picking up the pace and reunifying more families like sulma and her boys. late last week, the task force told us they've identified 82 families they believe will be reunified, while at least 1,000 children remain separated from their parents. ( ticking ) . >>
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will help you get there as you plan, protect and retire. this is lincoln financial. the x-rays from your urgent care visit look good. just stay off that leg, okay? what about my rec team? i'm all they got. next season. thanks doc. wow, he already scheduled my pt. i love doctors who work with athletes. does he know you tripped over a basketball? that's a sports injury. at kaiser permanente, we make getting care easy so you can get back on the court quicker. ( ticking ) >> jon wertheim: ah, college. lazy afternoons on the quad, parties, homecoming games and, too often, crippling student debt. tonight, we'll take you to a school that has none of those.
in terms of class size, it's one of the smallest colleges in the country. in terms of landmass, one of the largest. for two years, around 26 of the world's brightest come to california to live in seclusion, govern their own affairs, and submit to rigorous coursework and hard labor on a working ranch. an experiment in education designed to forge the leaders of tomorrow, dreamt up by an eccentric industrialist a century ago. think your school was rigorous? think your school had its quirks? join us on a visit to deep springs. in the shadow of eastern california's high sierra, hemmed by twisting mountain passes, deep springs college is an oasis of green set amid a no-man's- land of sage-brush and endless sky. >> putting, like, philosophy and love into two orders. >> wertheim: here, students from around the world labor in the classroom and on the grounds,
where there is no football field, but there is an alfalfa field, and the syllabus includes philosophy, calculus and pre- dawn cow milking. student-farmers grow the produce that student-cooks prepare. there are student mail carriers, student mechanics, and student ranchers who drive some 300 head of cattle across a valley almost twice the size of manhattan. had you ever ridden a horse before you came here? >> ziani paiz: ah, like a pony ride once or twice. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: when we visited, ziani paiz was one of two students assigned to work as a deep springs cowboy. >> tim gipson: step on up there a little bit ziani. >> paiz: up? >> gipson: there you go. >> wertheim: you could have gone to a school with-- with concerts, and parties, and football games. do you ever feel like you're missing out? >> paiz: no. ( laughs ) not at all. i feel like never again in my life am i going to have an
opportunity to live in a place like this. >> wertheim: like everybody here, ziani was an academic all-star in high school. people back home in east l.a. found her choice of college mystifying. what'd your friends say when you told them where you were going to school? >> paiz: oh, they thought i was so stupid. >> wertheim: what do they think you should have done? >> paiz: taken a four-year scholarship to a real school. >> wertheim: was that-- was that an option? >> paiz: yeah. >> wertheim: can i ask what school? >> paiz: berkeley. ( laughter ) >> wertheim: you had a four-year scholarship lined up to berkeley? >> paiz: yeah. >> wertheim: you said, "nah. i'm-- i'm going to come to the desert and-- be--be a cowhand." >> paiz: yeah. >> wertheim: what-- what is this feeding in you? what-- what are you getting out of this? >> paiz: at base level, you know, fun. it's a lot of fun to, like, run on a horse and chase a cow, you know. but i think you-- you also do genuinely learn life skills from that. i think you-- you can't quit when the work gets hard, you know. >> wertheim: deep springs was built on a kind of formula: take a handful of the best and brightest... >> the law. >> wertheim: put them in the middle of nowhere. add rigorous academics, labor, and autonomy, and you'll get
future leaders. ♪ ♪ ♪ it's not for everyone. a particular type of person finds all this appealing. content practicing brahms and bailing hay. casual, brainy, indifferent to sleep. what else, uh-- typifies a deep springs student? >> paiz: we're typically pretty awkward. in the real world, we're definitely not the cool kids. what else? we're not delicate, usually. we're not usually some delicate people. >> wertheim: they can't be. students are required to perform at least 20 hours of labor a week on top of a full college course load. >> alice owen: and then we're going to grab these other pipes. >> wertheim: alice owen took us through her routine maintaining irrigation lines. as we quickly learned, summer camp, this ain't. >> owen: yeah. >> wertheim: this is significant, hard, potentially dangerous labor.
when people make mistakes inevitably, what is the consequence of that? >> owen: if i can't grow a field of alfalfa, then the cows will not have anything to eat. if you can't get dinner ready on time you have to apologize to people, and sometimes the mistakes, um-- are really hard to fix, or they're unfixable and then you just have to take the weight of, "well i, i messed up really big." >> wertheim: it seems sometimes today that colleges do everything they can to shield kids from discomfort, from hardship. that doesn't seem to be the philosophy here. >> padraic macleish: no, it-- it absolutely isn't. >> wertheim: that's padraic macleish, a student here 20 years ago who was so entranced by this place, he came back to work as director of operations. >> macleish: if you want to finish the job before dinner, you need to put some hustle in and work a little bit harder. >> wertheim: but why? what-- what's the reasoning behind that? >> macleish: what we are doing is trying to prepare them to live lives of service. >> will the oil come out there? >> macleish: when they see a problem, when they see something that needs to be done, you
shouldn't go looking over your shoulder for somebody else to do that. >> wertheim: there's a self- reliance you get here. >> macleish: exactly. i hope so, anyway. >> wertheim: padraic is part of a motley crew of more than a dozen faculty and staff. the salary is modest compared to other schools, but food and housing are included, and many live here with their families. some come armed with phd's. >> because we missed a class for shakespeare week. >> wertheim: others with high school diplomas. >> gipson: hit the nail, don't hit anything else. alright, good job. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> wertheim: tim gipson showed up here with his guitar five years ago, after running cattle from montana to texas. these are some of the smartest kids in the country. can you tell that when you're out here on the ranch? >> gipson: sometimes no. ( laughs ) put your hands-- one hand or the other. >> wertheim: as ranch manager, he fills a variety of roles. among them, cowboy coach. >> gipson: there you go. keep it up. >> wertheim: these kids could go to college almost anywhere in the country. why would you do this? >> gipson: one thing they have in common, almost all of the
students that come here, is that they're searching for something diffeent and unique. and, uh-- they're really searching for a deeper meaning of life. >> wertheim: it's a two-year school, after which, students usually transfer to finish their degrees at the most selective universities. alumni include diplomats, pulitzer prize winners and famed physicists. >> sarah stickney: one of the classic things that happens to students when they come here is, they've been the best wherever they were. and suddenly, they're with 15 other people who have also been the best. and i think that's a hard moment for students. and that seems sort of more companionable. >> wertheim: when we met her, sarah stickney was deep springs' dean. i can't imagine they're easy to teach? >> stickney: oh, my gosh, they're magnificent to teach! they're much better than easy, you know, um, they have high standards. and they want a lot of attention, but not in a needy
way, more like their own voraciousness and interest. >> wertheim: like everyone else, stickney wasn't just teaching these students, she was part of their lives, and lived just steps away-- not that there are many options out here. it's hard to exaggerate the remoteness of this place, but here's one indication: for years, the nearest drop point for students arriving by bus was about 50 miles away, on the other side of the nevada state line, in front of a brothel. this extreme isolation formed one of the core principles for the school's founder l.l. nunn, an eccentric electricity and mining baron who believed the desert held spiritual qualities and lacked the distractions and seductions of the real world. he bought an old ranch down in this valley, and in 1917 christened deep springs college. nunn, whose presence here is still ubiquitous, put up money for the school, but specified the student body should be all male. it took a century, but three
years ago, deep springs finally went co-ed and today, men, women, everyone gets access to the free education at deep springs-- that's right, all the students here get a full ride. >> sue darlington: i don't think you can learn about this until you're here and you're doing it. >> wertheim: among her many duties, president sue darlington raises money from alumni needed to keep this experiment going. does this place work if you charge tuition? >> darlington: no. >> wertheim: why not? >> darlington: the students are not consumers. therefore they're not turning around and saying, "i have the right to this because i've paid for this." everybody is getting the same deal. and that levels a certain kind of playing field. >> wertheim: the tradeoff: while other schools offer five-star amenities, here the trappings are, well... spare. a lot of colleges and universities, they-- they pride themselves on their facilities and the high tech and gym. you're laughing. ( laughs ) before i even finish the
question. >> darlington: yep. >> wertheim: that description does not apply here. >> darlington: does not apply here. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: describe the decor. >> darlington: it-- ( laughs ) it's worn by the sand, the wind, the people. so, we prioritize that everything works, and that the students also take some of the responsibility for the upkeep. >> order! >> wertheim: and they take responsibility for running the school. >> i don't know, i don't want to vote for something that is going to, like, extend that power over my free time. >> wertheim: some rules are firm: students at deep springs can't drink or, except in rare circumstances, leave this valley during the semester. but just about everything else comes up for exhaustive debate, then a vote in weekly student meetings that can make the u.s. senate look efficient. >> when we pass things and then we don't do them it's super depressing. >> i don't see that as community building. >> owen: we spend our friday nights having student body meetings. >> this is an opportunity for us. >> owen: we really do govern ourselves and-- and that can be tense. >> i just see that as kind of an imposing of... >> owen: but ultimately it-- it can be a really exciting space,
because the conversations that go on there are ones that, um-- have really high stakes for us. >> so, all those wishing to hear this amendment... >> wertheim: students vote on matters essential and not. dormitory decor... >> camera pointed at my face in my room... >> wertheim: and whether to allow "60 minutes" on campus. >> the collective of citizens... >> wertheim: also, which courses are offered and what professors they want to hire. >> there's no way of understanding political society without marx. >> wertheim: and they sift through the 200-300 applications every year to pick the dozen-or- so students they'll accept for the incoming class. handing over power and authority to-- to 18 and 19-year-old kids, it could lead to-- to "animal house," it could-- ( laughs ) lead to "lord of the flies." but that doesn't-- >> stickney: yeah. >> wertheim: seem to have happened here? >> stickney: yeah. >> wertheim: why? >> stickney: why do we imagine that giving people who are becoming adults authority and power in their own lives, why do we imagine that's a bad thing? >> wertheim: the knee-jerk answer would be "life experience." ( laughs ) and their-- and their response here might be, "life experience?"
>> stickney: right. >> wertheim: i-- i'm out here with an irrigation contraption. >> stickney: exactly. >> wertheim: what's your life experience? >> stickney: exactly. >> wertheim: but from time to time, the adults have to step in. when covid first hit the u.s., some students wanted the school to continue as usual in spite of california's lockdown. administrators intervened, padraic macleish among them. difficult conversation? >> macleish: it wasn't an easy one, but it was an important one. uh, you know, defining the limits ofself-governance are part of talking about what self-governance actually means at deep springs. >> wertheim: and speaking of experiences not offered at state-u... >> gipson: ease on up here. >> wertheim: ziani paiz was preparing for an adventure, driving cattle on horseback up a remote mountain top for summer grazing. >> paiz: we're going to chase 'em up. we'll keep them where they need to be. we'll work long hours. we'll read sometimes. >> wertheim: it fell to tim gipson to get her ready for that journey. we talked to ziani, she'd never
been on a horse, barely, before she-- she got here. >> gipson: she's from east l.a.. ( laughs ) >> wertheim: how-- how'd you swing that one? >> gipson: now, she had a lot of try, a lot of determination. she has a lot of desire. and that's what it takes. >> wertheim: when these kids go off to harvard and yale. >> gipson: yeah. >> wertheim: what can they bring with them they learned on the ranch? >> gipson: work ethic. diligence. responsibility. >> wertheim: skills that will transfer when the students transfer as well taught as they are by socrates, shakespeare... >> gipson: ♪ i'll fly away ♪ >> wertheim: and singing cowboys. ( playing guitar and singing "i'll fly away" ) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> gipson: relax! ( ticking )
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>> alfonsi: in the mail this week: viewers commented on scott pelley's interview with the facebook whistleblower. several years ago, someone said" facebook is the devil's newspaper." your piece with the whistleblower affirms that statement. where is the message about parents allowing their children to access these sites? it's incumbent on the adults to keep their children safe. anderson cooper's story about tony bennett-- now battling alzheimer's disease-- as he prepared for his final concert with lady gaga, touched many viewers' hearts. was moved to tears watching
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