Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Time Frames: A John King Special
Aired November 25, 2010 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America's space program will go on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who does this victory truly belong to? It belongs to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: My real apology to her will not come in the form of words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, HOST: Welcome to TIME FRAMES. I'm John King.
For the next hour, CNN and "TIME" magazine will look back at the major events of the first decade of this new millennium. Not just to recount those events, but to examine lessons learned and how perspective often changes when framed in the passage of time.
It is a decade of incredible moments and conflicting emotions; the optimism of the new century; the heart-wrenching despair and anger of terrorism, gnawing economic anxiety; and the frustration and loss of trust voiced by much of the American people.
Time immortalized the euphoria of the millennial celebration with the joyous riot of New York's Times Square, a hopeful block party at the crossroads of the world. But 10 years later, a very different attitude. A provocative look at the decade from hell.
Hard to remember, perhaps, at the end, but for most of the decade, world markets enjoyed relatively strong economic growth. The number of billionaires in the world nearly tripled. But any sense of economic security, especially here in the United States, is in shambles after the past three years.
So as we review this consequential decade and its important lessons, let's frame the challenge with the help of "TIME" managing editor Rick Stengel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a decade where things didn't work.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear --
I can hear you!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pope John Paul II has died.
GEORGE W. BUSH: The Columbia is lost.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: We want help! We want help!
RICHARD STENGEL, MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME": The law that seems universal is the law of unintended consequences. Whether it was the election in 2000, 9/11, Katrina, the war in Iraq, in every case, the things we expected to happen didn't happen. And we didn't always deal with the unexpected well.
OBAMA: I accept your nomination.
SARAH PALIN (R), FMR. ALASKAN GOVERNOR: I will be honored to accept your nomination.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- or that we are now in a recession --
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": The worst quake in centuries --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- 100 Israelis air strikes today.
STENGEL: All of these things that we thought had been straightened out all went awry. And we end the decade in some ways almost like where we started, with so many things uncertain.
KING: Trust is a word, I think, that means less -- I'm not sure if that's the right way to put it -- at the end of the decade than it did at the beginning.
GEORGE W. BUSH: And Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.
KEN LAY, CHAIRMAN, ENRON: I'm innocent of the charges against me.
TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BP: We're doing everything we can to stop the damn leak.
STENGEL: And government wasn't always straight with us. I think people are skeptical now about institutions and believe that some of that old trust was misplaced. PALIN: How is that hopey, changey stuff working out for you?
STENGEL: Now, history doesn't necessarily repeat itself, but it rhymes. So, looking back, we want to see, how does that dispose us and teach us about how to look forward, too?
KING: So was there rhyme or reason in American politics? If there is a single lesson in all of these "TIME" magazine covers, it is that we end the decade in many ways, just as we began it, deeply divided, red versus blue.
Back in 2000, it was hanging chads and a contested presidential election settled by the Supreme Court. Now, a resurgent Republican Party anchored on a "Stop Obama" message.
But to call it a decade of status quo politics is to ignore wild swings and historic milestones, including the election of our first African-American president. What happened to all that talk of post- racial, post-partisan America? And is the Tea Party just a fad or a force to shape the next decade?
I'm joined now by Joe Klein, "TIME" political columnist, and David Von Drehle, editor-at-large at "TIME."
Gentlemen, thanks for being here.
Let's start with the what happened to Kumbaya post-partisan, post- racial America? Were we naive to think it for a second?
JOE KLEIN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "TIME": Yes.
KLEIN: I mean, it was always going to be -- it was always going to be tough for the president. But, you know, I kind of thought and I think a lot of people thought that the pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan and kind of came to a shuddering end with George Bush -- you know, two wars, the country in -- you know, in a terrible recession -- the pendulum was going to be able to start swinging back. And as soon as it starts swinging back just a little bit, it hit a brick wall, and that was the president's inability to sell his big ideas to the country.
KING: If politics is supposed to be about big ideas, if you have these wild swings and the lack of trust, how do we ever deal with big ideas?
KLEIN: Well, I don't know that politics is supposed to be about big ideas. It certainly hasn't been in this country. But then, all of a sudden, our world changed on September 11th.
And then it changed again in the fall of 2008, when the financial market froze in a way that it had never done before, which required some really major action on the part of the government, which people weren't expecting. I don't think people are comfortable with big moves in this country.
DAVID VON DREHLE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "TIME": I think they're very leery of big moves, big ideas. The Bush years were very damaging because this was -- remember, he wasn't going to do nation-building. He was going to walk humbly in the world, and he was going to be fiscally responsible. And instead, what he got was an extremely ambitious foreign policy, trying to change the whole map of the Middle East, and then a spendthrift Congress.
And then, I think, the reason the reaction was so rapid to Obama was the feeling that it had happened again, that he said he was a centrist, he was going to be in the middle, it wasn't about red, it wasn't about blue. And then here he is with these big Democratic programs.
KING: You kick yourself a little bit when you look back at a position you took during the Bush administration when George W. Bush, to his credit, if you will, tried to tackle Social Security. The controversy ensued when one of his proposals was to allow people to take a small percentage of their money that goes into Social Security and instead decide to put it in Wall Street, put it into private investment accounts.
At the time you wrote, "Good for you, Mr. President." Now you think, bad idea?
KLEIN: Yes. Well, if you have an issue like the time frames issue, where you're looking back on the decade, rather than go through my many moments of many weeks of sheer genius, I think it would be a good idea to go back and take a look at something I got wrong.
KLEIN: And the reason why I got Social Security and privatization of Social Security wrong is because I grew up during these last 60 years, and I had never seen the kind of economic hard time we had. And I didn't understand that there are some social programs where you want to give people an incentive, you want to give them a choice, and especially when they're trying to rise up out of poverty.
But there are other programs like Social Security, like food stamps, where you just want to provide something solid. And that's the case with Social Security. You didn't want to bet on the stock market when the stock market was going to go in the tank the way it did.
KING: We started with a contested election. Now we have this movement called the Tea Party that sort of has -- took over the Obama movement, which was supposed to be the big thing out of 2008. Maybe we'll find out in 2012 if they still love him, but they didn't love the Democratic party in 2010.
Who are these new players?
VON DREHLE: Well, this is -- I think these next two years are going to be fascinating for precisely this reason. All the cards have been thrown up in the air. Which ones are going to come down face-up? You know, this Tea Party movement that's not really a movement yet, where is that going to go? It's an impulse. They've brought a lot of energy, but they haven't really brought a candidate. They don't have a leader, an organization.
KLEIN: Up to this point, the Tea Party has had a tremendous impact on the Republicans and on who the Republican candidates were this past year. But it hasn't had that much of an impact on the larger body politic.
And the next election is going to be like the last one. It's going to be about that 10 percent or 15 percent in the middle.
KING: And what does it say if -- George W. Bush began the decade as the face of the Republican Party. What does it say about the shift in the party that you could make the argument that Sarah Palin is the face -- at least the best-known face of the Republican Party right now?
VON DREHLE: Well, one thing it tells you -- and Palin is going to be very interesting, because what we see is people -- the hot politicians are the ones who just got here. And, as a rule, sort of the more we see of them, the less we like them.
Can she continue? What's her upward curve when she becomes old news?
KLEIN: You know, I saw Sarah Palin speak to the Republican Party of Iowa in September. And she's really -- you know, she's fun -- "How's that hopey-changey thing working for you?" But you and I, and you and I, have spent many moons in Iowa, and they want meat and potatoes. They want to know what your position is on every issue.
And she didn't say a word about any issue. And so I think that she -- you know, let's see how she holds up over a couple of years of doing that if she chooses to run.
KING: Joe Klein, David Von Drehle, thanks, gentlemen, for coming in.
And when we return, space tourism. Yes, it's a reality.
And a familiar face who says China is eating our lunch.
TIME FRAMES continues after this.
KING: Tall billings are no stranger to one of two entrepreneurial titans I met with to discuss the decade. The other is reaching for the stars.
Donald Trump and Sir Richard Branson, who perhaps surprisingly see eye-to-eye on one thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: We are rapidly declining as a nation, in my opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIR RICHARD BRANSON, CHAIRMAN, VIRGIN GROUP: America is a weak country at the moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But their solutions could not be more different.
I began my conversation with Donald Trump by asking what he thought we as a country got right these past 10 years, if anything.
TRUMP: Very little. We got very little right.
We are in two wars that we shouldn't have been in. At least one of them, definitely, we shouldn't have been in.
We are losing ground rapidly to other countries, in particular China, but to other countries. We are rapidly declining as a nation, in my opinion, very strongly. And we are just not doing very well. And people talk about jobs, but you can't have jobs when our products are made outside of the United States.
KING: Compared to the beginning of the decade, now that we're at the end of a decade, a steady decline on the test that you just laid out? Any bright spots in there?
TRUMP: Yes, I would say it's been a steady decline. It's been a solid, steady decline.
And the decline is really taking place because other places in the world, which heretofore didn't really exist from an economic standpoint, you know, as competitors, they are just eating our lunch. And I see things happening that I've never seen before in terms of -- in terms of our economy. And I sort of -- I don't smile because there's nothing to smile about, but I do listen to the economists and various of the morning shows, and they talk about jobs.
And they say, how do you create jobs? They say, well, job growth, job growth. But how do you create jobs when China is making our furniture, when I order curtain walls and the glass is ordered from China, curtain walls for buildings, when so many other products are made outside of the United States?
Toys are made outside of the United States. They used to be made in the United States. Furniture is made -- tremendous amounts of furniture comes in from other countries, in particular, China.
And we're rebuilding other countries. And nobody seems to do anything about it. And nobody really picks up the mantle. I mean, I'm very strong on it. I'll do your program. I'll do other programs. I'll talk about how China is taking advantage of this country.
KING: But what do you do about it? Whether it's your view that they're cheating or just that they are eating our lunch because they're faster, more nimbler, smarter, what do we do about it in this country? I assume you don't support protectionism. One answer would be just to wall off the country. But where does that get you?
TRUMP: Well, no. I would tax Chinese products.
Now, when you say cheating, they are cheating, because they're manipulating their currency. It's very hard for this country to compete -- companies within the country -- to compete with Chinese companies and the nation because, in many cases, some of these companies are the nation because of the manipulation of the currency.
I read the other day a little article that China is starting to make airplanes. And now they're going to make a plane to compete with the Boeing 737. And they're going to throw them out like gravy. And they have 100 orders already. This is the first.
To be honest with you, I wouldn't want to own stock in Boeing, because between manipulation of their currency and other things, it's going to be very hard for Boeing and Airbus and others to compete. That's just a little article I read where they're making -- watch what happens. I hope you can rebroadcast this in five years. Boeing will suffer.
Now, we think, oh, Boeing is a great exporter, and that's fine. And by the way, if our planes are better, and everything else, we'll still -- they're still going to have to buy them. Even if we do something with -- what I advocate -- I advocate a 25 percent tax on all Chinese products coming into this country.
And if you do that, you know, people say, oh, but they're our banker. Sure, they're our banker, because we're giving them so much money. Think of it. We're giving them so much money, and then they're loaning it back to us.
KING: So why won't the political leadership do something?
TRUMP: Now, I can only think of one thing because it makes so much sense. It's so simple. And I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I understand economics. It's so simple.
I can only understand -- really think of one thing. Whether it's OPEC or China, it's called lobbyists. OPEC has the biggest, most powerful lobbyists in Washington. I believe those lobbyists get the politicians to leave OPEC alone.
KING: If 9/11 is one big legacy of the last decade -- and it's the biggest, I would think -- another is the banking crisis. If there's a guy out there in middle America right now who wants to be the next Donald Trump, and has a good idea, can he get the money? TRUMP: John, I see it all the time, where people sign for a house, they put down a deposit, then they end up losing that deposit because they can't get a mortgage. And it's just as bad today as it was a year ago.
And it's sort of interesting, because the regulators are very tough on the banks. And yet the banks, you know -- the banks took in all of this money. And if you want to just say, metaphorically, they took in the people's money, and now they're not loaning it back to the people.
So I'm very disappointed in the banking industry. I think it's terrible, what's happened. But I will say, if you want to start a business, if you want to open -- now, if you have a company, a great company that has a AAA standard, then you get money for nothing. It's unbelievable.
The interest rates are so low. But the only people that can get -- in theory, when you can't get money, the interest rates should be through the roof like they were many years ago, where the prime rate went up to, like, 18.5 percent. You couldn't get money, so, therefore, the rate went up.
Here, you can't get money, and yet the rate is like -- I'm getting on CDs now less than one percent -- substantially less than one percent. I've never seen that before, and yet there's no money around.
KING: All right. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
KING: And for a very different view, a man who's innovated his way to success over and over and over again. Next, our chat with Sir Richard Branson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In the past decade, what was your best bet?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But first, milestones, some of the notable passings of the past 10 years.
KING: Sir Richard Branson not only believes the solution to the struggling U.S. economy lies in embracing globalism, he sees a path to prosperity and adventure above the globe, in outer space.
KING: You are one of the world's best-known risk-takers. In the past decade, what was your best bet? BRANSON: I hope our best bet will be deciding to go into creating a commercial spaceship company. And Virgin Galactic was born. You know, the spaceship is now finished, the mothership is now finished. The spaceport is nearly finished. And President Obama has basically been indicating that he wants commercial spaceship companies to offer space travel to people rather than spending all that money on NASA in the future.
KING: I want to come back in a moment to some of the challenges here on Earth.
But how important is it -- to you, ,it's part of a business model, but how important do you think it is for society, for cultures, for individuals or groups of individuals to dream like that, to dream the impossible?
BRANSON: I think it's enormously important. I think, you know, the 400 people who have been to space all come back changed people. They all come back, you know, wanting to protect this beautiful world that we live in.
And, you know, I think we've got to, you know, aspire for -- you know, we've got to reach for the stars. And if you're in a position to do so, you mustn't waste that position.
KING: What about Richard Branson personally? Which decision do you wish, or which investment, or which gamble do you whish you could go back and have a do-over?
BRANSON: I think the last decade saw the end of recorded music, as we know. We had tremendous fun over the years, you know, with wonderful, wonderful bands -- The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Sex Pistols, lots of great bands. But recorded music is -- has almost died in the last decade, thanks to iPod and downloading. It's still alive and well with live music on -- you know, so the bands touring and, you know, attracting enormous crowds. But, you know, that whole industry has pretty well died.
KING: It has been a flat or down decade when it comes to the economy, and people seem threatened by globalization. It was once the great promise. It brought us all closer together. We would understand different people.
Now it seems to many to be a threat. Over your shoulder is a cover that says, "How to Restore the American Dream." Many Americans feel the fundamental basic foundation of our society that we will hand off to our children, a better world than we inherited, is somehow at risk.
Do you see that? In the last decade, did something happen economically?
BRANSON: Well, look, I think the most important thing for Americans to realize is not to be frightened of globalization. If you start -- America is a weak country at the moment. You know, where you should be trading is with countries like India, China, the Far East. Africa is about to boom. You know, South America is booming. The last thing you want to do is, you know, pull up the draw bridges, because, you know, the way to get out of your problem is get out there and trade with these companies -- and with these countries all over the world. And so, you know, it is completely counterproductive to start being -- you know, being frightened of globalization. We should welcome globalization and realize what mistakes have been made.
And, you know, there have been some catastrophic mistakes made here in America over the last 10 years, but those mistakes have been acknowledged. The banks have been propped up.
And now, over the next decade, we've just got to start the long climb back up again. And I'm sure that -- you know, you've got lots of great entrepreneurs here in America. You can get back up and on top again.
KING: Sir Richard Branson, thank you for your time.
BRANSON: A pleasure. Thank you.
KING: When TIME FRAMES continues, it's Lady Gaga versus Harry Potter, the top entertainment stories of the last 10 years. And one man's fascinating look into the future and its blinding speed of innovation.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED ROGERS, HOST, "MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD (singing): It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood --
JULIA CHILD, CHEF: Welcome to "The French Chef." I'm Julia Child.
RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, HOST: From the end of the "Star Wars" saga, to the rise of reality television, the influence of pop culture in this decade, for better or worse, has been more pervasive in our society than ever before.
Joining me now to talk about it, John Poniewozik, he is "TIME's" media and television critic; Belinda Luscombe, editor-at-large at "TIME"; and Radhika Jones, assistant managing editor of "TIME." Thanks for being with us.
One constant in the decade is the culture of celebrity or the celebrity culture, call it what you will. That has been with us, pervasive. Has it changed over the decade?
BELINDA LUSCOMBE, EDITOR AT LARGE, TIME: I think what you found is with the rise of the Internet and people blogging, a lot more was said about celebrities. Juts a lot more volume of material about celebrities, some of it completely untrue, some of it wacky and some of it are getting very close to home. So, there was just more of it coming in.
And then towards the end of the decade, interesting, you saw the celebrities beginning to use it for themselves, having their own Twitter feeds, having their own blogs so they could talk directly to the people without going through media, which I think is a very interesting development.
RADHIKA JONES, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, TIME: The other weird thing about celebrity I think in the decade --
KING: Weird? Celebrities are weird?
JONES: No. Well, some of them maybe. But is that you saw the rise -- with the rise of reality television, you see the rise of this sort of regular person celebrity, which is a strange fit, but has become more and more pervasive.
KING: We've redefined celebrities with "Real Housewives" and shows like that. Why? Do we want to be voyeurs?
JAMES PONIEWOZIK, TV AND MEDIA CRITIC, MEDIA: Well, you know, I think if there's, you know, an overarching trend of the last decade, it was the decade where you could see everything, where there was a screen everywhere, where everybody had a camera in their pocket and so on.
I think that reality TV was kind of in the spirit of that. You know, it was this notion that if you could just be a fly on the wall and watch, you know, a regular person or a group of housewives in Beverly Hills or a bunch of people stranded on an island, you would see fascinating drama unfold. Now, that might have been manipulated, but I think that was really powerfully attractive to people.
KING: Who wins the decade? Harry Potter or Lady Gaga?
LUSCOMBE: Harry Potter. I think Harry Potter wins the decade just because he had a longer life, I think. And he dresses better.
JONES: Wait a minute. I don't know about that.
PONIEWOZIK: Doesn't have a brassiere that he can fire things from, but I believe there's a spell for that that they didn't cover in the books.
JONES: I will be really interested to see -- I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books. I will be really interested to see how they stand the test of time, you know, whether kids who weren't reading those books, weren't, 10, 11, 12, growing up with those books, you know, 10, 20 years from now, is that series going to be as potent as it is. I mean, possibly -- with the other, you know, the other big series and movies that you have this decade was "The Lord of the Rings," bringing back, you know, a classic of the 20th century and bringing it to the screen.
And so, there are definitely are ways to keep those kinds of stories alive.
KING: So, technology makes it much more accessible, but at the same time, it gives the providers power, power to steer you, to sort of push you somewhere?
LUSCOMBE: Well, not just the providers. I don't think we can talk about recommendations without talking about Facebook and how many people find their -- the things that they watch and the things they listen to through other people's Facebook pages and Twitter and recommend -- you know, their recommendations. So, it's become a much more social event, the sharing of this stuff.
PONIEWOZIK: Yes, I mean, everybody has kind of become their own producer and distributor of culture now. You know, I think you see this a lot in television where, you know, say there's a really -- there's a "Saturday Night Live" skit that goes viral. You might have seen it on TV or you might have seen it embedded in a blog somewhere or you might have gotten it e-mailed to you.
You know, it's harder to control where it is and how people experience culture because things spread so much more easily. And people are kind of, through their Facebook pages or whatever, we're all kind of the programmers of our own, you know, cultural networks.
KING: We talk about clutter. And there's certainly a lot of clutter, a lot of noise, a lot of static because we have so many choices. One of the things that you don't like, that you write about, is you don't like all this stuff -- all this stuff right down here on the screen below us in television -- the crawl, the ticker, the flipper.
PONIEWOZIK: Oh, yes. I mean, you know, when we were working on this project, one thing I thought is, you know, what is the one thing on television that kind of defined the decade for me? And, you know, it occurred to me that if there's just an image that was that decade for me on television, it was the idea which emerged or was popularized anyway, the morning of September 11th of this little crawl of information that was constantly going across the bottom of the screen. And that after the morning of September 11th, just kind of stuck around.
And to me, it kind of symbolizes this hyper-stimulation that you see in the media now. There are, you know, millions of screens within screens. And, you know, all of these streams of data that we have to process. And I think -- you know, to me, the crawl just -- it represents this notion of this kind of constantly agitated, look at this, look at this, look at this. There's always more going on than you can process that I think is just a spirit of consuming media today.
KING: Does that scare you or do you like more information or does it make you ADD?
JONES: You know, I think you have to learn how to turn it off every once in a while. And our technology still does come with off buttons. And you still can, you know, pick up a book and read it, and the book doesn't have a ticker. Or you can go to a movie theater and watch a movie. I mean, there are still sanctuaries --
LUSCOMBE: Or a play. Imagine that.
JONES: -- or opera, which still exists. There are still sanctuaries of culture.
And, you know, pop culture, like anything else, has partly to do with escapism. So, in a way, it becomes self-defeating if in doing it, you're sort of agitating yourself even more.
PONIEWOZIK: Unless your book is on your iPad, in which case your book can turn into angry birds, which is awesome.
JIM: Which is awesome.
Jim, Radhika, Belinda, thanks for coming in and being with us.
When we return, I'll speak with a futurist who says technology -- technology could lead to the fountain of youth. More of "TIMEFrames" after this.
KING: The explosion of information technology is a global phenomenon. In the past decade alone, Internet usage in China, up from 22 million users in 2000 to 420 million today. In India, cell phone usage soaring from just 2 million handsets in 2000 to approximately 545 million cell phones in use now.
My next guest says technology won't just continue to expand, but that growth will accelerate at an even faster pace.
Futurist and author Ray Kurzweil believes that accelerating technology will adapt to our lives, may even help us live longer. We began our discussion by looking back at the biggest developments of the decade.
RAY KURZWEIL, AUTHOR AND INVENTOR: Well, the Web was very informative 10 years ago. Most people did use search engines. Think about that. That sounds like ancient history. And, of course, even five years ago, most people didn't use social networks, wikis, blogs. So, the world has changed dramatically and it's going to continue to move in the future.
KING: And will we control the technology in that reality or will sometimes the technology control us?
KURZWEIL: Well, we see examples of both good and bad in every technology. I would say that really it is very empowering of the individual. A couple of kids started Facebook. A couple of kids started Google.
The tools of creating change in the world are in everybody's hands. A kid in her dorm room can create a whole orchestra. My father was a composer. He had to hire an orchestra to hear his compositions.
So, I think it's very democratizing and allows people to express themselves. We really are, for the most part, in control of the technology. And we do have new challenges, like maintaining privacy -- used to be enough just to close the curtains in your bedroom. Now, we have 1,000 virtual windows on our lives. But we're learning how to deal with these issues.
KING: Most of that is an upside. We learn new things about ourselves. We learn how to keep ourselves alive. Is there a down side?
KURZWEIL: A profound one is on biology. So, the same technology that will enable us to reprogram biology away from cancer and heart disease, which I believe will happen over the next decade or so, could also enable a bioterrorist to reprogram a routine biological virus to be more deadly, more communicable, create a super weapon.
We're not defenseless. We can and we should and, in fact, we are creating a rapid response system. So, if somebody does that, we can create the defenses very quickly. But that's not a pat solution. It's something we really need to invest in.
KING: Then you say extend human longevity. Do you have a target there? Do we extend the average life span by two years, five years? Or is extending it by 10, 20, or longer years within our realm?
KURZWEIL: Well, people ask me, how long can we extend our lives when these things happen? But it's not one thing. We get to a point, say, 20 years from now, we'll have new technologies then that enable us to go another 20 years and then at that point, we have yet more technologies.
We'll get to a point where we're adding more time than is going by -- by my calculations, in about 15 years. It's not a guarantee of everlasting life, but it will change the metaphor of the sands of time running out.
KING: As humans use this technology, have access to so much more information, can be constantly wired and plugged in, is one of the -- is it an inevitable or not, but is it not one of the results that somehow we -- all of us tend to have more ADD because we have so many things at our disposal and at our fingertips?
KURZWEIL: Well, the technologies that succeed are the ones that become like us, rather than us having to change ourselves to become like an old-fashioned concept of a machine. So, I think technology can actually make us smarter. It is already. I've got all of human knowledge on my belt.
We do have to choose what we're going to spend our time on. Time triage for our personal lives has always been an issue. We have many more choices today. But ultimately, that's a good thing, and the power is in our hands as to what we want to spend our time on.
But if you want to create music or graphic arts or software, you don't have to be fabulously wealthy to do these things. The tools are very available to everyone.
KING: So then look ahead to your predictions -- give me some of your list for the next decade. Then I assume leaps and bounds advancement in energy is one of them. What might be others?
KURZWEIL: We really will be meeting a big part of our engineering needs in 10 years. Definitely within 20, we'll be meeting virtually all of our needs from these renewable, inexpensive sources. We will see some real fruits from the biotechnology revolution.
In about 15, 20 years, I believe we will really have conquered all the major diseases. But 10 years, we will see major strides against cancer, heart disease, other diseases, by being able to reprogram our biochemistry. We'll be able to turn off the fat insulin receptor gene and eat as much as we want without retaining all these excess fat in our bodies, things like that.
The computing technology will be so tiny it will be in our clothing, in our belt buckles. We'll be online all the time. We'll have images written directly to our retina. We'll be in a full immersion, virtual reality or augmented reality environment.
Search engines won't wait to be asked. They'll see you struggling with something and they'll just put a little pop-up in your visual field of view reminding you of the name of that actress or whatever it thinks the information that you'd benefit from.
KING: When "TIMEFrames" returns, the constantly evolving English language and how two opposing words became matched up into one of the more commonly used words in today's lexicon.
Stay with us.
KING: I, for some reason, did not get a Bently in the last decade. Language is a living organism that grows with our experiences in this last decade. Of course, no exception. Summing up the decade in just a few notable new words is the unenviable task of my next guest.
Nancy Gibbs is "TIME" magazine's executive editor. Thanks for being with us. Let's start with one you make note of in the magazine, locavore. NANCY GIBBS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, TIME: Locavore, which originated for World Environment Day around 2005, really captures the movement to eating foods that are grown locally, sustainability, all those farmer markets everywhere. We are all locavores now.
KING: Frenemy? You're my friend or my enemy.
GIBBS: Frenemy actually first appeared in print in 1953, but this was really the decade, I think especially maybe with reality TV that no one was really sure who was a friend, who was a rival, who was an enemy. So, that word really came into common usage I think.
KING: Do you only have friends on Facebook or can you have frenemies?
GIBBS: Well -- of course, well, friend itself turns into a verb. Unfriend as well. The word friend went through a lot of new iterations this decade.
KING: And a term we heard especially after the recession, around the recession, staycation.
GIBBS: Staycation. There's actually a British version of that. If they're not going on holiday, it's a holistay. Staycation is when you can't afford to go anywhere so stay at home and clean up and watch a lot of movies.
KING: A holistay.
GIBBS: A holistay.
KING: It sounds more romantic than a staycation, doesn't it?
GIBBS: Waterboarding, which dates back at least to the Spanish inquisition, but I would warrant that before this decade, very few of us could have defined it, much less have it come, sadly, into common usage in our political and national security debates.
KING: An example, though, of history does repeat itself.
KING: And subprime.
GIBBS: Subprime, a -- one of those squirrely loans to a dodgy consumer, officially anyone whose credit rating is below about 640. But by 2007, when it was declared the word of the year, unfortunately, that was a word that defined to much of our financial dealings with one another.
KING: What will be the new word of the next decade?
GIBBS: Oh, I hope it's a very hopeful one.
KING: A hopeful one would be a good one. Nancy Gibbs, executive editor of "TIME," we appreciate your time.
And thank you for joining us for TIMEFRAMES. For all of us and from all of our colleagues here at CNN and "TIME," have a great holiday.
The news continues here on CNN.