60 Minutes – October 31 2021 – Democracy Lost, A New Model, The Future of Sapiens

On Sunday October 31 2021 at 7:00pm ET/PT and 6:00pm CT, CBS broadcasts an episode of 60 Minutes with a story on President of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega and the country’s lost democracy, a feature on MASS – the Model of Architecture Serving Society and an interview with world-renowned author Yuval Noah Harari on human data and AI.

Scroll down below to watch and for a summary of tonight’s (10/31/2021) episode of 60 Minutes on CBS.


Democracy Lost

Once considered a revolutionary, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has changed laws, silenced the media and jailed his political opponents in his efforts to cling to power in the Central American country. Sharyn Alfonsi reports. Oriana Zill de Granados and Emily Gordon are the producers.

Victoria Cardenas and Berta Valle have not seen or heard directly from their husbands in months. Both men – Juan Sebastian Chamorro, Cardenas’s husband, and former cabinet member Felix Maradiago, Valle’s spouse – were planning to oppose Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in elections next week and were put in prison for their ambitions, their wives say. Cardenas and Valle speak to Sharyn Alfonsi in their first interviews for U.S. television, on the next edition of 60 MINUTES Sunday, Oct. 31 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Chamorro and Maradiago were considered leading candidates to oppose Ortega. Cardenas says police had already been harassing Chamorro for months when they came to take her husband away last June. “Eight police patrols were coming. There was a lot of cars, a lot of noise, a lot of people jumping in our wall,” recalls Cardenas. “He was on the floor with his hands up saying, ‘I am here. Please don’t do anything to my wife. We are unarmed.’ …They took him violently.”

Since returning to power in 2006 by claiming he would curb corruption, Ortega has taken steps to tighten his grip on the poor, Central American country, including changing the country’s constitution to allow him more terms as president. He also made his wife vice president and his children presidential advisors or executives in Nicaraguan oil and media companies. In 2018, Nicaraguans erupted against Ortega in part because of his proposed cuts to social security payments to seniors. These cuts were in sharp contrast to the riches reaped by the first family in the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

At least 350 people were killed by police or paramilitaries supported by the Ortega regime, thousands were injured, and more than 700 were arrested as fed-up Nicaraguans hit the streets calling for the president and first lady to step down.

Maradiago was one of Ortega’s chief critics. He had spoken out on the international stage, calling Ortega a dictator. He was teaching Nicaraguan students about non-violent activism when he was beaten by Ortega supporters and hospitalized in 2018. After that, for the past few years he’s been followed by police, says his wife Valle, “They watch him… they put patrols in front of his house…the police would tell him that he was not able to go out…”

A former cabinet minister, Maradiago was dragged out of a car by police, beaten and taken away, says his lawyer, who was with him on that day in June 2021. Maradiago’s and Chamorro’s attorneys recently were allowed to see the men inside El Chipote Prison, a place human rights activists call a dungeon. They say the two prisoners have lost significant weight and have been subjected to psychological torture.

“It’s a violation of the basic human rights …it’s not only my family who is suffering, it’s more than 140 families who have political prisoners who are innocent and are living this awful situation,” Cardenas tells Alfonsi. She and Valle were interviewed in Washington, D.C. where they have been appealing for help to free their husbands. Their efforts have resulted in the Ortega regime charging them with being “traitors to the homeland.” They cannot return to their country for fear of arrest, says Valle. “Not only arrested, but if they condemn me, that would be life, life [in] prison.”

Jose Miguel Vivanco, who is with Human Rights Watch, says President Ortega’s acts are a disturbing throwback to another era. “Ortega’s deliberate and flagrant crackdown against peaceful opposition leaders is something without any precedent in Latin America since the ‘70s and ‘80s, when most of the region was under military dictatorship,” says Vivanco. “Since Ortega controls Congress, he managed to pass legislation at the end of last year, that sanctioned – as treason essentially – any criticism of the government.”

A New Model

Lesley Stahl reports on a non-profit architectural firm called MASS (Model of Architecture Serving Society) whose work in countries like Rwanda is influencing new architectural concepts here in the U.S. Shari Finkelstein and Braden Cleveland Bergan are the producers.

Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks were still students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design when they were asked to help design a hospital in a remote, rural district of Rwanda for the nonprofit organization Partners in Health. The pair says lessons learned on that project inspired them to develop a new model of architecture, one focused on serving the needs of the community and providing beautiful design to groups and communities typically unable to afford great architecture. Their non-profit firm, Model of Architecture Serving Society, or MASS, has projects in Rwanda, many other African nations, and now here in the U.S. Lesley Stahl reports from Rwanda, where the idea for MASS began, on the next edition of 60 MINUTES Sunday, Oct. 31 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

MASS today has a large presence in Rwanda, with a staff of more than 200 in its capital city, Kigali, and several large construction projects around the country. Though started by Americans and headquartered in Boston, more than half the firm’s staff are Rwandan, and its Kigali office is headed by Rwandan architect Christian Benimana, who was impressed by MASS’ emphasis on employing local labor and materials to make the building process as helpful to the community as the finished product. “It is critical for us to have prospect[s] for a better future,” Benimana tells Stahl.

The firm’s ethos grew out of mandates given by Partners in Health founder Dr. Paul Farmer, when the young architects were designing that first hospital: it had to be beautiful; it had to employ as many local citizens as possible; and it had to have natural airflow to prevent the spread of airborne diseases like tuberculosis. Natural ventilation to allow buildings to breathe became a central theme of MASS’ work going forward. Says Murphy, “This entire hospital is designed around that simple idea that air flow, air movement, are the basic premise that we should design our buildings around, and in particular our hospitals, so that patients don’t transmit airborne diseases to each other.” It’s a concern that has become particularly critical in this time of COVID-19.

That hospital project spurred the local economy in Butaro, located in a district of 350,000 people that previously didn’t have a doctor. Heavy machinery was expensive and difficult to get to the site, so the project hired local workers to dig the foundation by hand. It cost less money, took less time, and gave many people needed work. Materials, too, were difficult to get to the location. But noticing the generous amount of volcanic stone in the area – a nuisance to farmers – they decided to fabricate the hospital’s façade with it. The idea spawned a masonry industry in the region. Murphy tells Stahl that more than 4,000 people worked on the project.

Word soon spread in architectural and non-profit circles, and Murphy, Ricks and a few colleagues launched MASS as a non-profit architecture firm to continue their new model of building design. “Very quickly we had a lot of work, because there weren’t many other people doing this,” says Ricks.

Murphy grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He took 60 MINUTES back there to see what MASS is doing for the old Hudson River town whose industries dried up years ago. “We had just been in one of the most rural places in the world, and we had seen a hospital change the economy. I said, ‘Why can’t we do that same thing here in Poughkeepsie?’”

MASS opened a small office in the town and got to work. Murphy showed Stahl some of the results: an old trolley barn converted into an art space, housing, a food hall, and a headquarters for the environmental group, “Scenic Hudson,” being converted from an abandoned factory.

MASS is also working in other U.S. cities, including Cleveland, Santa Fe and Birmingham. Murphy says MASS and its new model are making a difference. “There’s some clear simplicity to it. There’s things we have to build. There’s people we have to hire. There’s materials we have to use. And if you think about the whole thing as a design project, you can have a lot more impact.”

The Future of Sapiens

The future could see the world’s human data, delivered through the rising power and reach of artificial intelligence, in the hands of a powerful few – a recipe for a dystopian tomorrow populated by “hacked humans,” says Yuval Noah Harari. Anderson Cooper interviews the world-renowned author. Denise Schrier Cetta is the producer.

Full Interview with Yuval Noah Harari

The future could see the world’s human data, delivered through the rising power and reach of artificial intelligence, in the hands of a powerful few – a recipe for a dystopian tomorrow populated by “hacked humans,” says Yuval Noah Harari. The world-renowned author tells Anderson Cooper that nations must begin cooperating to prevent this by regulating artificial intelligence and the collection of data across the world. The interview with Harari will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday Oct. 31 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Harari says the countries and companies that control the most data will control the world. “The world is increasingly kind of cut up into spheres of data collection, of data harvesting. In the Cold War, you had the Iron Curtain. Now we have the Silicon Curtain, that the world is increasingly divided between the U.S.A. and China,” Harari tells Cooper. “Does your data go to California, or does it go to Shenzhen and to Shanghai and to Beijing?”

Harari, a history professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, published his first book, Sapiens, in 2014; it was a global best-seller. He has since published two more books with futuristic themes, Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The three books together have sold 35 million copies in 65 languages. He has been warning people of a not-so-distant future of incredible change.

He says the artificial intelligence at work today through algorithms will only strengthen its grip on humans. “Netflix tells us what to watch, and Amazon tells us what to buy. Eventually within 10 or 20 or 30 years, such algorithms could also tell you what to study at college and where to work and whom to marry and even whom to vote for,” says Harari. And, he points out, the pandemic has opened the door to even more intrusive collection of our data.

“It’s data about what’s happening inside my body. What we have seen so far, it’s corporations and governments collecting data about where we go, who we meet, what movies we watch. The next phase is surveillance going under our skin,” he warns.

“Certainly, now we are at the point when we need global cooperation. You cannot regulate the explosive power of artificial intelligence on a national level,” says Harari, who tells Cooper what he feels needs to be done. “One key rule is that if you get my data, the data should be used to help me and not to manipulate me. Another key rule is that whenever you increase surveillance of individuals, you should simultaneously increase surveillance of the corporation and governments and the people at the top. And the third principle is never allow all the data to be concentrated in one place. That’s the recipe for a dictatorship.”

Harari says humans are at risk of becoming “hacked” if artificial intelligence does not become better regulated. “To hack a human being is to get to know that person better than they know themselves. And based on that, to increasingly manipulate you,” Harari says.

There’s an upside to the rise of artificial intelligence, too, says Harari, but only if accompanied by regulation. “The whole thing is that it’s not just dystopian. It’s also utopian. I mean, this kind of data can also enable us to create the best health care system in history,” he says. “The question is what else is being done with that data? And who supervises it? Who regulates it?”


The oldest and most-watched newsmagazine on television gets the real story on America’s most prevalent issues. CBS News correspondents contribute segments to each hourlong episode. Topics range from hard news coverage to politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. The correspondents and contributors include Sharyn Alfonsi, Anderson Cooper, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, Norah O’Donnell, Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Lesley Stahl, Jon Wertheim, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Whitaker. 



About 60 Minutes

The oldest and most-watched newsmagazine on television gets the real story on America’s most prevalent issues. CBS News correspondents contribute segments to each hourlong episode. Topics range from hard news coverage to politics, lifestyle, pop culture, business, health, and science. The correspondents and contributors include Sharyn Alfonsi, Anderson Cooper, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, Norah O’Donnell, Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Lesley Stahl, Jon Wertheim, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Whitaker.

This show is broadcast on CBS, also known as the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Latest Episodes of 60 Minutes

About CBS

CBS is an American television network, and is one of the main television networks in the United States. It broadcasts in English.

Some of the most popular shows and programs on CBS include:

  • NCIS
  • FBI
  • SEAL Team
  • Survivor
  • S.W.A.T
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Blue Bloods
  • Bull
  • Young Sheldon
  • NCIS: Los Angeles
  • Madam Secretary
  • NCIS: New Orleans
  • Mom
  • Big Brother
  • Criminal Minds
  • MacGyver
  • 60 Minutes
  • The Amazing Race

Television in the United States

The main United States networks are:

  • NBC (National Broadcasting Corporation)
  • CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System)
  • ABC (American Broadcasting Company)
  • Fox (Fox Broadcasting Company)
  • CW Television Network
  • PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)

You will find articles on all your favourite TV shows on every network, everyday on TV Everyday!

Discuss the Show