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of. Profiling Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Examining the sport

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Sonia Sotomayor; Sports>

March of the Machines (Harry A. Radliffe II/Maria Gavrilovic) Justice Sotomayor (Henry Schuster) Free Diving (Michael H. Gavshon/Paul Bellinger) The Wasteland (Solly Granatstein/Nicole Young)

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Everyone has a different idea of what a robot is and looks like, but the broad universal definition is a machine that can perform the job of a human. Tonight, you`ll see how they have marched out of the realm of science fiction into the mainstream, competing for jobs and changing the economy.

You think they`d run into each other?

BRUCE WELTY: Yeah, you think that, but it never happens.

ANDREW MCAFEE: When I see what computers and robots can do right now, I think we`re going to find ourselves in a world where the work, as we currently think about it, is largely done by machines.


SCOTT PELLEY: This is where you grew up?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: In a public housing project.

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

WOMAN: Welcome to your old neighborhood.

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor`s parents came from Puerto Rico. She and her little brother were raised in public housing in the Bronx, New York, where she was laying down the law even then.

Your brother told us that more than once in this neighborhood, he got beaten up.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: And more than once, I beat up the person who beat him up.


SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): So how did she move from this neighborhood to this one? That`s our story tonight.


BOB SIMON (voiceover): This is called lung packing, and William Trubridge is doing it to attempt something known as a freedive--going down more than four hundred feet, longer than a football field, on a single breath. He carries no weights, but he`ll go down quickly. At seventy feet, he`ll lose buoyancy and will be pulled by gravity alone. Medical scholars say the sport is revealing human capabilities that are making them rewrite textbooks on human physiology.


STEVE KROFT: I`m Steve Kroft.

LESLEY STAHL: I`m Lesley Stahl.

MORLEY SAFER: I`m Morley Safer.

BOB SIMON: I`m Bob Simon.

LARA LOGAN: I`m Lara Logan.

SCOTT PELLEY: I`m Scott Pelley. Those stories tonight on 60 MINUTES.



STEVE KROFT: One of the hallmarks of the twenty-first century is that we are all having more and more interactions with machines and fewer with human beings. If you`ve lost your white-collar job to downsizing, or to a worker in India or China, you`re most likely a victim of what economists have called technological unemployment. There`s a lot of it going around with more to come. At the vanguard of this new wave of automation is the field of robotics. Everyone has a different idea of what a robot is and what they look like but the broad universal definition is a machine that can perform the job of a human. They can be mobile or stationary, hardware or software, and they are marching out of the realm of science fiction and into the mainstream.

(Begin VT)

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): The age of robots has been anticipated since the beginning of the last century. Fritz Lang fantasized about it in his 1927 film Metropolis. In the 1940s and fifties, robots were often portrayed as household help.

(Excerpt from movie)

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): And by the time Star Wars trilogy arrived, robots with their computerized brains and nerve systems had been fully integrated into our imagination. Now they`re finally here, but instead of serving us, we found them competing for our jobs. And according to MIT professors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, one of the reasons for the jobless recovery.

ANDREW MCAFEE: Our economy is bigger than it was before the start of the Great Recession. Corporate profits are back. Business investment in hardware and software is back higher than it`s ever been. What`s not back is the jobs.

STEVE KROFT: And you think technology and increased automation is a factor in that?

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: Abso-- absolutely.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): The percentage of Americans with jobs is at a twenty-year low. Just a few years ago if you traveled by air you would have interacted with a human ticket agent. Today, those jobs are being replaced by robotic kiosks. Bank tellers have given way to ATMs, sales clerks are surrendering to e-commerce.

AUTOMATED VOICE: I`m an automated system that can--

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): And switchboard operators and secretaries to voice recognition technology.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: There are lots of examples of rou-- routine, middle- skilled jobs that involve relatively structured tasks and those are the jobs that are being eliminated the fastest. Those kinds of jobs are easier for our friends in the artificial intelligence community to design robots to handle them. They could be software robots. They could be physical robots.

STEVE KROFT: What is there out there that people would be surprised to learn about in the robotics area, let`s say?

ANDREW MCAFEE: There are heavily-automated warehouses where there are either very few or no people around. That absolutely took me by surprise.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): It`s on display at this huge distribution center in Devens, Massachusetts, where roughly one hundred employees work alongside sixty-nine robots that do all the heavy lifting and navigate a warehouse maze the size of two football fields--moving ten thousand pieces of merchandise a day from storage shelf to shipping point faster and more efficiently than human workers ever could.

BRUCE WELTY: We think it`s part of the new American economy.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Bruce Welty is CEO of Quiet Logistics, which fills orders and ships merchandise for retailers in the apparel industry. This entire operation was designed around the small orange robots made by a company outside Boston called Kiva. And can now be found in warehouses all over the country.

Now this is the order that she is filling, right, on this screen?

BRUCE WELTY: Yes, in a typical warehouse, she`d have to walk from location to location with a number of totes. And that`s the innovation here is that the product comes to her.

STEVE KROFT: And all of this is preprogrammed? Nobody has to sit there and tell these robots where to go?

BRUCE WELTY: No, no, it`s all done with algorithms. It`s a lot of mathematics, a lot of science that went into this.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Customer orders are transmitted from a computer to Wi-Fi antennas that direct the robots to the merchandise, guiding them across an electronic checkerboard with barcodes embedded in the floor panels. Once the robot arrives at its destination, it picks up an entire shelf of merchandise and delivers it to the packing station. It then speeds off to its next assignment.

BRUCE WELTY: They know if they need to get from point A to point B and they are not carrying anything, they can go underneath the grid. We call that tunneling. So they are very smart.

STEVE KROFT: You think they`d run into each other.

BRUCE WELTY: Yeah, you think that but it never happens.

STEVE KROFT: If you had to replace the robots with people, how many people would you have to hire?

BRUCE WELTY: Probably one and a half people for every robot.

STEVE KROFT: So it saves you a lot of money?


STEVE KROFT (voiceover): And it`s not just going on in warehouses. El Camino Hospital in California`s Silicon Valley has a fleet of robots called TUGs that ferry meals to patients, medicines to doctors and nurses, blood samples to the lab and dirty linen to the laundry. A hospital spokesman told us the TUGs are supposed to supplement nurses and hospital staff--not replace them. But he also believes that robots and humans working together is the beginning of a new era. Robots are now wielding scalpels for surgeons, assisting in the most delicate operations allowing them to see and snip their way through prostate surgeries with minimal damage. And they have begun filling prescriptions in hospital dispensaries and local pharmacies. Economic evolution has been going on for centuries and society has always successfully adapted to technological change creating more jobs in the process. But Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of MIT think this time may be different.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: Technology is always creating jobs. It`s always destroying jobs. But right now the pace is accelerating. It`s faster we think than ever before in history. So as a consequence, we are not creating jobs at the same pace that we need to.

ANDREW MCAFEE: And we ain`t seen nothing yet.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): The changes are coming so quickly it`s been difficult for workers to retrain themselves and for entrepreneurs to figure out where the next opportunities may be. The catalyst is something called computer learning or artificial intelligence-- the ability to feed massive amounts of data into supercomputers and program them to teach themselves and improve their performance.

WOMAN: What`s the weather like today?

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): It`s how Apple was able to create Siri, the iPhone robot--

AUTOMATED VOICE: Here`s the weather for today.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): --and Google, its self-driving car.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: We`ve been amazed at how rapidly this has been happening.

(Excerpt from Jeopardy)

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: IBM`s deep QA system that plays Jeopardy, we had a contest here that played against our best MIT students, the best Harvard students we could put it up against. And not surprisingly, Watson won. And it`s being used in real practical applications now on Wall Street and in-- in call centers. Siri, millions of people are using that every day.

ANDREW MCAFEE: The fact that computers can now understand and respond to human speech, the fact that they can actually generate prose of decent quality, they can drive cars, they can win at Jeopardy. We-- we`re seeing technology demonstrate skills that it`s never, ever done before.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): And it`s putting new categories of jobs in the sites of automation--the sixty percent of the workforce that makes its living gathering and analyzing information. This piece of software called e-discovery is now used by law firms in the discovery portion of legal proceedings, a job that used to require hundreds of people sifting through boxes and boxes of documents. We now have robots gathering intelligence and fighting wars, and robot computers trading stocks on Wall Street. It`s all part of a massive high-tech industry that`s contributed enormous productivity and wealth to the American economy but surprisingly little in the way of employment.

ANDREW MCAFEE: We absolutely are creating new jobs, new companies, and entirely new industries these days. When-- when Erik and I go out to Silicon Valley and look around, the-- the scale and the pace of creation is astonishing. What these companies are not doing, though, is hiring a ton of people to help them with their work.

STEVE KROFT: Because they don`t have them? Because they can`t find them? Because--


STEVE KROFT: --they don`t need them?

ANDREW MCAFEE: --no, they can`t-- they can`t find everyone they need, but they don`t need that many people to work in these incredibly large and influential companies. To make that concrete--Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are now all public companies. Combined, they have something close to a trillion dollars in market capitalization. Together, the four of them employ fewer than a hundred and fifty thousand people; and that`s less than the number of new entrants into the American workforce every month.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): And it`s roughly half the number of people that work for General Electric. Ironically, one of the few bright spots is a modest rise in U.S. manufacturing: an early casualty of automation that is making a comeback because of it. This Tesla factory in California turns out battery-powered cars, using state-of-the-art robots that can change tools and perform a multitude of different tasks negating some of the advantages of moving jobs offshore. Annual investment by U.S. manufacturers in new technology has increased almost thirty percent since the recession ended. And research institutions and robotics companies, funded by venture capital, are constantly searching for innovations like the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

RODNEY BROOKS: Traditional robots inside factories--

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): That was the brain child of Rodney Brooks, a pioneer who ran the artificial intelligence lab at MIT, before launching iRobot--one of the most successful robotics companies in the U.S. This is his latest progeny--a friendly, affordable chap named Baxter.

RODNEY BROOKS: It`s meant to be able to go in a factory where they don`t have robots at the moment. And ordinary workers can train it to do simple tasks.

STEVE KROFT: Mm-Hm. Such as?

RODNEY BROOKS: Well, a simple one is just-- for instance, picking stuff up off a conveyor belt. So it`s going to go down and-- and find-- find the object and grab it and bring it over and put it to another-- another spot.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Baxter costs twenty-two thousand dollars, and could be trained to do a new task by a coworker in a matter of minutes. It can also be upgraded like an iPad with new software as new applications are developed.

RODNEY BROOKS: And when you`re training it--

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Brooks and investors in his new startup, Rethink Robotics, see a potential market worth tens of billions of dollars, and believe that Baxter could help small U.S. manufacturers level the playing field against low-cost foreign competitors.

RODNEY BROOKS: If you`re using robots to compete with a-- the simple task that a low-paid worker does in a foreign country you can bring it back here and do that task here.

STEVE KROFT: Baxter costs twenty-two grand?


STEVE KROFT: How long does he last?

RODNEY BROOKS: It lasts three years.

STEVE KROFT: Three years?

RODNEY BROOKS: So you can-- you can think that as sixty-five hundred hours.

STEVE KROFT: I think it works out to about three dollars and forty cents an hour?

RODNEY BROOKS: About that, yeah.



STEVE KROFT: Three dollars and forty cents, that`s probably the wages of the Chinese worker, right?

RODNEY BROOKS: It`s just about right there now.

STEVE KROFT: So here you could-- you could buy one of these robots and it would be like getting a Chinese worker?

RODNEY BROOKS: In a-- in a manner of speaking.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): That strategy has already had some success at Adept Technology, the largest manufacturer of industrial robots in the country with a wide and varied product line. John Dulchinos is the CEO.

JOHN DULCHINOS: So this is our flagship product. This is our Cobra robot. This is the class of robot that was used to automate Philips electric shavers.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): The robots at the Dutch company`s factory in the Netherlands proved to be so efficient and economical that Philips decided to move its main shaver assembly line out of China and back to Holland.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: I think that those workers in China, in India, are more in the bull`s-eye of this automation tidal wave that we are talking about than the American workers.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): But even if offshore manufacturing returns to the U.S. most of the jobs will go to robots.

ANDREW MCAFEE: When I see what computers and robots can do right now, I project that forward for two, three more generations, I think we`re going to find ourselves in a world where the work as we currently think about it is largely done by machines.

STEVE KROFT: And what are the people going to do?

ANDREW MCAFEE: That`s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. Science fiction is actually my best guide because I think we are in that time frame going to be in a very weird, very different place.

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): It brings to mind Stanley Kubrick`s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the rebellious computer robot HAL. Technologically speaking, we are just about there.

(Excerpt from 2001: A Space Odyssey)

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): Everyone agrees that it`s impossible now to short circuit technology. It has a life of its own and the world is all in for better or for worse.

(Excerpt from 2001: A Space Odyssey)

STEVE KROFT (voiceover): We wanted to leave you on this positive note.

ERIK BRYNJOLFSSON: One thing that Andy and I agree on is that we`re not super worried about robots becoming self aware, and-- and challenging our authority. That part of science fiction I think is not very likely to happen.

(End VT)



SCOTT PELLEY: Interviews with Supreme Court justices are rare, but tonight even more so because in two hundred and twenty-three years, there has never been a justice like Sonia Sotomayor. Among other things, she`s the first Hispanic on the Court. She`s the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants who settled in the Bronx--that New York melting pot that pours out streetwise kids and American success stories. Sotomayor, now fifty-eight years old, calls the streets of her childhood, "My Beloved World," and that`s the name of her new memoir. In her first broadcast interview, she told us that the neighborhood gave a poor girl, with a serious illness, a chance to serve and an opportunity to become one of the most powerful women in America.

(Begin VT)

SCOTT PELLEY: This is where you grew up?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: In a public housing project. I lived in this one on the corner. Hold on. I`m trying to--

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

WOMAN: Welcome to your old neighborhood.

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): You could believe that she never left. They remember and she`s never forgotten. Seems the only difference is the security detail which she really never needed in the Bronx.

You know, your brother told us that more than once in this neighborhood he got beaten up.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yep. And more than once I beat up the person who beat him up.

SCOTT PELLEY: You stood up for your brother.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Oh, you asked me the other day if I was a tough cookie, and---

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): A tough cookie who never crumbled at a setback.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I am the most obstinate person you will ever meet. I have a streak of stubbornness in me that I think is what has accounted for some of my success in life. There is some personal need to persevere, to fight the fight. And if you just try and be stubborn about trying you can do what you set your mind to.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Sonia Sotomayor set her mind to being a judge at the age of ten. And three Presidents agreed. Appointed to a federal court by the first George Bush, she was promoted to the Appeals Court by Bill Clinton, and in 2009 selected for the Supreme Court by President Obama.

Your first day working here: terrifying?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Overwhelmingly terrifying. I was so nervous that day that my knees knocked. And I thought everybody in the courtroom could hear them knocking.

SCOTT PELLEY: Well, come on. You`d been a federal judge for more than fifteen years at that point.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I had not been a Supreme Court justice. It`s a very different stage.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): On this stage, she`s one of the most vocal questioners. And her vote most often falls on the liberal side. She helped uphold the Health Care Act and strike down tough illegal immigration statues. Back in the Bronx as a girl, she set her heart on being a cop-- inspired by Nancy Drew novels and TV. But by the age of eight, the plot of her life was rewritten by diabetes.

The doctors told you because of your Type 1 diabetes--

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Because of my Type 1 diabetes. At any rate--

SCOTT PELLEY: --you couldn`t be a cop.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Yes, I couldn`t be a cop. I figured out very quickly, watching Perry Mason, that I could do some of the same things by being a lawyer.

(Excerpt from Perry Mason)

SCOTT PELLEY: So we are sitting in the Supreme Court today--


SCOTT PELLEY: --because you read Nancy Drew and watched Perry Mason on TV?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: That`s exactly right.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Her body would forever be dependent on insulin but her ambitions were set free.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: I had a life in which I was in a hurry.

SCOTT PELLEY: How long did you expect to live?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: At that time, it was not unusual for most juvenile diabetics to die in their forties.

SCOTT PELLEY: And this was-- this was hanging over you; this was something you thought about?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Oh, I thought about it a lot. And I got in as much as I could do at every stage of my life. I studied very hard. I partied very hard. I love playing very hard. And I did it all to try to pack in as much as I could.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Did she ever? Honors in Catholic high school led to a scholarship to Princeton. Top honors there led to law at Yale, and then straight to New York as a prosecutor. The pay was lousy, the hours inhuman. She was smoking three and a half packs a day--listening to victims, sending thieves and killers to prison, and learning something about people.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: They can be evil. I don`t know that before I came to the DA`s office that I understood that there were some people who were that bad. It`s one of the reasons I left the DA`s office, because that lesson made me realize that if I stayed in the practice of criminal law, I might lose some of my optimism about human nature.

SCOTT PELLEY: Are some people beyond redemption?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: People do some very bad things that are still human beings with some redeeming qualities. They can do some horrible things, but they`re still valuable human beings in other ways. But yes, I do believe there are some people who are evil and perhaps can`t be redeemed.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): After four year with the DA, and the end of her marriage to her high school sweetheart, Sotomayor cleared her mind and the air. She quit smoking and joined a firm practicing corporate law where some of the men didn`t seem all that comfortable with her.

You write in your book that one day one of the associates, one of your colleagues was on the telephone and he described you, your words, not mine, as--


SCOTT PELLEY: --"As one tough bitch."


SCOTT PELLEY: And when you heard that, you thought what?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: What in the world is wrong with me? I was a pretty tough negotiator and hard to push around. And I don`t think they were used to my kind of toughness then.

SCOTT PELLEY: Is his description in any way unfair?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Probably not.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): She`s been called a lot of things, but she told us more than Madam Justice she prefers another title.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: It`s Sonia from the Bronx.

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

SCOTT PELLEY: What does it mean to be Sonia from the Bronx?


It means to be a part of this particular community.



A vibrant, loving, giving community. And it`s something very special.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): The Bronx of her childhood was a place where immigrants got a foothold on the dream. It`s a picture she paints in the memoir My Beloved World and a life she lives today. You`ll find her with the Bronx Bombers in Yankee Stadium and at the annual Dream Big celebration thrown by the Bronx Children`s Museum.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Don`t ever stop dreaming, don`t ever stop trying, there`s courage in trying.

SCOTT PELLEY: Why is it important to you?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Kids are important to me. I want one of the hallmarks of my tenure to be that I gave something to kids, that I gave something to our future.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Her own inspiration was her mother Celina Sotomayor, who would end up raising the children mostly alone.

Your father was an alcoholic?


SCOTT PELLEY: Did you understand what that meant as a child?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: No. I had sort of a childlike appreciation that he couldn`t help himself. I also watched him die from drinking.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): He died when she was nine. Her mother pushed education. And in 1972, Sotomayor was near the top of her high school class when she got an offer from a university she had never heard of, Princeton. It was a combination of talent, perseverance, and affirmative action.

Do you think anyone ever resented the notion that you might have had a door opened for you by affirmative action?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: You can`t be a minority in this society without having someone express disapproval about affirmative action. From the first day I received in high school a card from Princeton telling me that it was possible that I was going to get in, I was stopped by the school nurse and asked why I was sent a possible and the number one and the number two in the class were not. Now I didn`t know about affirmative action. But from the tone of her question I understood that she thought there was something wrong with them looking at me and not looking at those other two students.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): Now essentially the same question that the nurse asked is before Sotomayor on the Court. A white student has filed suit saying that affirmative action kept her out of the University of Texas.

You have declined to talk to us about cases before the Court, whether they`re before the Court currently or have already been ruled on by the Court, and I wonder why.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: People sometimes don`t understand that judges can have personal experiences even personal opinions. But I think that if you talk publicly about those things, that people will jump to the conclusion that you`ve already made up your mind in some way.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): On affirmative action her personal experience has been powerful.

Is there a role for it today?

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: The affirmative action of today is very different than it was when I was going to school. And each school does it in a different way. I can`t pass judgment on whether there`s a role for it or not without it being seen as I`m making a comment on an existing case. But I do know that for me it was a door opener that changed the course of my life.

SHARI ADLER: Hi, Shari Adler.

SONIA SOTOMAYOR: Hi, how are you? Hello.

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): What never changed was diabetes but it hasn`t slowed her down, she tests her blood and takes insulin when and where she needs to.

(Sonia Sotomayor speaking foreign language)

SCOTT PELLEY (voiceover): In her chambers you hear Spanish in the air. And it was here that we met a woman of great ambition--but even she, Celina Sotomayor, had to be amazed that this was her daughter`s office and that she would hold the Bible at the swearing in of a justice.

CELINA SOTOMAYOR: I didn`t have to do anything. I just taking the-- glory for that. But-- it had n-- nothing to do with it.