'Singularity' Author Warns That Future AI Could Pose These Threats

William Hertling, author of the “Singularity Series,” joined Glenn on today’s show to talk about the future of technology and artificial intelligence. They tackled these questions and more:

  • What will it look like when humans and smart machines are “coexisting”?
  • Will we keep losing jobs to automation?
  • When will robots be able to diagnose our illnesses and replace doctors?
  • How will the human experience change as technology advances?
  • Will we be able to “opt out” of AI?

With every upside there looks to be a downside with the advancements in AI, tell us in the comment section below whether you are excited or ready to pull the plug.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: I have been immersing myself in -- in future tech, to try to understand what is coming our way and what the -- the moral issues are of the near future.

What it means to each of us in our lives. What it means to be asked the question, am I alive?

Is this life? We have so many questions that we have to answer. And we're having trouble with just some of the basic things. And no one is really thinking about the future.

When you think about the future, and you think about robots or you think about AI, Americans generally think of the terminator. Well, that's not necessarily what's going to happen.

How do we educate our kids?

So I've been reading a lot of high-tech stuff. And in my spare time, I've been trying to read some novels. And I'm looking for the storytellers, the people who can actually tell a great story that is really based in what is coming. The -- the futurist or the -- the near future sci-fi authors, that can show us what's on the horizon.

And I found a series of books. It's called the -- the Singularity series. And I found them over the Christmas vacation. And I just last night finished the fourth one.

And they are really, really well-done. They are -- they get a little dark. But it also shows the positive side of what could be. And it was a balanced look, and a way to really understand the future that is coming and is on the horizon.

William Hertling is the author, and he joins us now. William, how are you, sir?

WILLIAM: I'm doing great. Thanks so much for having me on.

GLENN: Congratulations on a really good series.

This is self-published?

WILLIAM: Yep. It is self-published. I could not find a publisher who saw the vision of the series. But I self-published it, and people love it. So it gets the word out there.

GLENN: Yeah. You've won several awards for it, and I hope -- you know, I don't know what your sales have been like, but I hope your sales are really good. Because I -- I think it -- well, let me ask you this: What was the intent of the series for you?

WILLIAM: You know, what happened was, about ten years ago, I read two books back-to-back. One was Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near, which I know you've read as well.

GLENN: Yep.

WILLIAM: And the other one was Charles Straufman's (phonetic) Accelerometer, which is a fictional book about the singularity.

And what I really realized at that point in time was that we had the biggest set of changes that were ever going to face humanity. And they were coming. And they were in the very near future. Right? They're certainly coming in my lifetime. They're probably coming within the next ten years. And there's very little out there about that.

And as you said, most of the stories that are in media today are about these terminator-style stories. AI rises up. They take control of the machines. And we fight them in the battle. Which, of course, makes for a great movie. I would love to see the Terminator many times over, but what happens when it's not like that? What happens when it's sort of the quiet kind of AI story. And that's really what I wanted to explore. What happens when there's this new emergence of the first AI that's out there, and people realize they're being manipulated by some entity? And what do they do about it? How do they react?

GLENN: So I find this -- first of all, you lay it out so well. And the first book starts with the emergence of AI. And then moves -- I think the next book is, what? Ten years later, five years later --

WILLIAM: They're all ten years apart. Yeah. Basically explore different points of technology in the future.

GLENN: Right. So the last one is in the 2040s or in the 2050s. And it's a very different thing then than it starts out as.

WILLIAM: Yeah.

GLENN: And the thing I wanted to talk to you about is, first of all, can you just define -- because most people don't know the difference between AI, AGI, and ASI, which is really important to understand.

WILLIAM: Sure. So AI is out there today. It's any time programmers write a piece of software. Yet, instead of having a set of rules, you know, if you see this, then do that. Instead, the AI software is trained to make the decisions on its own. So AI is out there today. It's how you have self-driving cars. It's what selects the stories that you read on Facebook. It's how Google search results come about.

And AGI is the solution that artificial intelligence will become more general, right? All of the things that I mentioned, are very specific problems to be solved. How to drive a car is a very specific problem.

GLENN: So a good -- a good explanation of AI would be big blue, the chess-playing IBM robot.

It has no general intelligence. It does that.

WILLIAM: Exactly, right. And we have IBM's Watson, which is really good at making diagnoses about cancer. But you can't have a conversation about how you're feeling.

GLENN: Right.

WILLIAM: But AGI would. AGI would appear to be like a human being, conceivably. In that, it could talk and reason about a wide variety of topics, make decisions. Generally, use its intelligence to solve problems that it hasn't even seen before.

GLENN: Now, AGI can pass the Turing test?

WILLIAM: Yeah, so the Turing test is this idea that you've got a person in one room, chatting with someone in another room, and they have to decide, is that a human being, or is it a computer? And if they can't figure it out, then that is the Turing test.

And you pass the Turing test, if you can't distinguish between a computer and a person.

GLENN: How close are we to that?

WILLIAM: Well, I think we probably all have been fooled at least a couple of times when we've either gotten a phone call or made a phone call and we think that we're talking to a human being on the other end. Right? But it actually turns out that we're talking to a machine that routes our phonecall somewhere.

So, you know, we're there for a couple of sentences. But we're still pretty far away if you're going to have any meaningful conversation.

GLENN: And AGI is when the computer has the computing power of a human brain?

WILLIAM: Yeah.

GLENN: Okay. Now, that's not necessarily a scary thing. But it's what happens when you go from AGI to ASI, artificial super intelligence. And that can happen within a matter of hours. Correct?

WILLIAM: It can. There's a couple of different philosophies on that. But if you can imagine that -- think about the computer that you have today, versus the computer that you had ten years ago. Right?

It's vastly more powerful. Vastly more powerful than the one you had 20 years ago. So even if there's not these super rapid accelerations in -- in intelligence. Even if you just today had a computer that was the intelligence of a human being, you would imagine that ten years from now, it's going to be able to think about vastly more stuff. Much faster. Right?

So we could see even just taking advantage of increasing in computing power, we would get a much smarter machine. But the really dangerous, or not necessarily dangerous, but the part -- the really rapid change comes from when the AI can start making changes to itself.

So if you have today, programmers create AI. But in the future, AI can create AI. And the smarter AI gets, then in theory, the smarter the AI it can build. And that's where you can get this thing that kind of spirals out of control.

GLENN: So you get a handle on how fast this can all change, if you have an Apple i Pad 2, that was one of the top five supercomputers in 1998. Okay?

That was a top five supercomputer.

WILLIAM: Yeah.

GLENN: That's how fast technology is growing on itself.

All right. So, William, I want you to kind of outline what -- we're going to take a break, and I want you to come back and kind of outline why all of this stuff matters. What -- what is in the near future, that we're going to be wrestling with? And why people should care. When we come back.

GLENN: As you know, if you're a long-time listener of the program, I'm very fascinated with the future and what is coming. The future of tech and artificial intelligence.

William Hertling is an author and a futurist. He is the author of what's called The Singularity Series. It's a series of four novels, that kind of break it down and tell you what's coming. And break it down in an entertaining fashion. I highly recommend The Singularity Series. If you are interested in any of this, you need to start reading that, you will really enjoy that.

STU: William, I know Glenn is a big fan of your work and has been reading a lot about technology. I think a lot of people who are living their daily lives aren't as involved in this. I think a third or a half of the audience when you hear AI, don't even connect that to artificial intelligence, until you say it.

I know as a long-term NBA fan, I think Allen Iverson, honestly when I hear AI. Can you make the case, with everything going on in the world, why should people put this at the top of their priority list?

WILLIAM: Well, it's the scale of the change that's coming.

And probably the nearest thing that we're really going to see is over the next five years, we're going to see a lot more self-driving cars and a lot more automation in the workplace. So I think transportation jobs account for something like 5 percent of all jobs in the United States.

And whether you're talking about driving a car, a taxi, driving a delivery truck, all of those things are potentially going to be automated. Right? This is one of the first really big problems that AI is tackling. And AI is good at it. So AI can drive a car. And it can do a better job. It doesn't get tired. It doesn't just go out and drink before it drives, and it doesn't make mistakes.

Well, that's not quite true. They're going to make less mistakes, but they're going to make less mistakes than your typical human operator. So you know business likes to save money. And it likes to do things efficiently. And self-driving cars are going to be more cost-effective. They're going to be more efficient. So what happens to those 5 percent of the people today who have transportation jobs? Right?

This is probably going to be the biggest thing that affects us.

GLENN: I think, William, you know, that Silicon Valley had better start telling the story in a better fashion. Because as these things hit, we all know politicians on both sides, they'll just -- they'll blame somebody. They're telling everybody that I'm going to bring the jobs back.

The jobs aren't coming back. In fact, many, many more are going to be lost. Not to China, but by robotics and AI. And when that happens, you know, I can see, you know, politicians turning and saying, "It's these robot makers. It's these AI people."

WILLIAM: Yeah. Naturally. And yet, unfortunately, the AI genie is out of the bottle, right? Because we're investing in it. China is investing in it. Tech companies around the world are investing in it.

If we stop investing in it, even if we said, hey, we don't want AI, we don't like it, all that's going to do is put us at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the world. So it's not like we can simply opt out. It's not really -- we don't have that option. It's moving forward. So we need to participate in it. And we need to shape where it's going. And I think this is the reason why it's so important to me that more people understand what is AI and why it matters. Because we need to be involved in a public conversation about what we want society to look like in the future.

As we go out, if even more jobs are eliminated by AI, what does that mean? What if we don't have meaningful work for people?

GLENN: I think the thing I like about your book series is it starts out really hopeful. And it shows that, you know, this technology is not going to be something that we really are likely to refuse. Because it's going to make our life incredibly stable and easy in some ways.

And I kind of would like you to talk about a little about, you know, the stock market and the economy and war and everything else. Something that you talk about in your first novel. And show you when we come back, the good side, and then what it could turn into.

STU: So Allen Iverson is taking our transportation jobs?

GLENN: Yes, yes.

STU: Okay. That's what I got from that.

GLENN: We're talking to William Hertling. He is the author and futurist. The author of many books. His latest is The Kill Process. I'm talking to him about The Singularity Series. And the first one in there is the Avagadro Corp. And it starts out around this time. And it starts out with a tech center in Portland. And a guy is working on a program that will help everybody with their email. And all of a sudden he makes a couple of changes. And unbeknownst to him, it grows into something that is thinking and acting and changing on its own.

And, William, I would like you to take us through this. Because the first book starts out really kind of positive. Where you're looking at this -- and there's some spooky consequences -- but you're looking at it going, you know, I could see us -- I'd kind of like that. And by the end, in the fourth book, we've all been digitized. And we're in a missile, leaving the solar system because earth is lost.

A, do you think this is -- is this your prediction, or you just think this is a really kind of good story?

WILLIAM: Well, you know, I think a lot of it has the potential to be real. And I think one of the things you probably know from my reading is that I'm fairly balanced. What I see are the risks and the benefits. I think there's both.

GLENN: Yeah.

WILLIAM: I get very upset. There are so many people that are very dogmatic about artificial intelligence and the future. And they either say, hey, it's all benefits and there are no risks. Or they only talk about the risks without the benefits.

And, you know, there's a mix of both. And it's like any other technology. Right?

GLENN: We don't know.

WILLIAM: All of our smartphones -- we all find our smartphones to be indispensable. And at the same point in time, they affect us. Right? And they have negative affects. And society is different today than it was years ago, at the cost of our smartphones.

GLENN: But this is different though than anything else that we've seen like a smartphone. Because this is -- this is like, you know, an alien intelligence.

We don't have any way to predict what it's going to be like, or what it's going to do. Because it will be thinking. And it most likely will not be thinking like a human.

But can we start at the beginning, where, just give me some of the benefits that will be coming in the next, let's say, ten years that people will have a hard time saying no to.

WILLIAM: Sure. I mean, first of all, we already talked about self-driving cars, right? I think we all like to get into our car and be able to do whatever we want to do and not have to think about driving. That's going to free us up from a mundane task.

We're going to see a lot more automation in the workplace. Which means that the cost of goods and services will go down. So we'll be able to get more from less. So that will seem like an economic boom, to those of us that will afford it. Right? We will be able to enjoy more things. We'll have better experiences when we interact with AI. So today, if you have to go to the doctor, you'll wait to get a doctor's appointment. You'll go in. You'll have this rushed experience, more than likely, if you're here in the US. You'll get five minutes of their time, and you're hoping they will make the right diagnosis in the five minutes they're with you. That's going to be I think one of the really big changes over the five, ten years from now is we'll see a lot more AI-driven diagnosis.

So when you're having medical issues, you can go in, and you can talk to an AI that will be more or less indistinguishable than talking to the nurse when you walk into the doctor's office.

And by the time the doctor's sees you, there will already be a diagnosis made by the AI. And it likely will be more accurate than what the doctor would have done. And all they'll do is sign off on it.

GLENN: Yeah, I had a hard time -- until I started reading about Watson, I had a hard time believing that people would accept something from a machine. But they are so far ahead of doctors, if they're fed enough information.

They're so far ahead on, you know, predicting cancer and diagnosing cancer than people are. I think it's going to be a quick change. You're going to want to have the AI diagnose you.

WILLIAM: Right. Because that's going to be the best. Right? When we go to the doctor, we want the best. We don't want the second best.

GLENN: Right.

WILLIAM: So we're going to see a lot of that. And then, you know, ten to 15 years out -- you know, it's funny, I had a conversation with my daughter one day, and she asked, hey, Dad, when am I going to get to drive a car?

And I thought about her age, and I thought about that. And I was like, well, I'm not sure you're ever going to get to drive a car. Because where you are and when self-driving cars are coming, you may never drive a car.

And so you'll just get one, and it will take you where you want to go.

So there's going to be very -- they're both subtle and yet dramatic changes in society when you think about, hey, we're going to have a generation of people, and they will never have learned how to drive a car. Right? So their time will be free to do other things. They'll be different than we are.

GLENN: Do you see the -- you know, in your first book, you talk about, you know, AI changing, you know, the emails that are being sent and doing things on its own. And really manipulating people.

We are already at the point to where we accept the manipulation of what we see in our Facebook feed. But that's not -- there's -- there's -- that's not a machine trying to do anything, but give us what we want.

WILLIAM: Right.

GLENN: Do you see us very far away from, you know, hedge fund computers that can -- that can really manipulate the markets in a positive way or computers that can begin to manipulate for peace, as you put in your book, your first one?

WILLIAM: It's a good question. We're definitely going to see that. At a minimum, right? We can imagine that if you have an authoritarian government, they're going to distribute information to pacify people.

And that's not a good thing often. In some ways, it is. You know, if you have armed unrest, people will die. So there's a balance there. I think what we'll see is we'll just see lots of different people use technology in lots of different ways.

So maybe we don't have, you know, a hedge fund manipulating the markets in a positive way. Maybe it starts with a bunch of hackers in another country, manipulating the markets to make money. Right?

So I think we are going to see that distribution, that manipulation of information. And it's hard.

It out there now, right? There is content -- a lot of the content that you read on the web, whether it's a review of a restaurant or a business, a lot of it is generated by AI. And it's hard to tell what's AI versus a person writing a genuine review.

GLENN: Talking to William Hertling. He's an author and futurist. Author of a great series of novels called The Singularity Series. William, the -- the idea that intelligent -- not AI. Not narrow AI. But, you know, super intelligence or artificial general intelligence just kind of comes out of nowhere, as it does in your first novel, where it wasn't the intent of the programmer, is interesting to me.

I sat with a -- one of -- a bigger name from Silicon Valley, just last week. And we were talking about this. And he said, whoever controls AI, whoever gets this first is going to control the world.

He was talking to me privately about a need for almost a Manhattan Project for this. Do you see this as something that is just going to be sprung on us, or will it be taken, you know, in a lab? Intentionally?

WILLIAM: I think the odds are probably strongly biased towards in a lab. Both because they have the kind of deeper knowledge and expertise. You know, because they have the kind of raw computing power, right? So the folks at Google will have millions of times of computing power, than somebody who is outside a company like Google. So that alone -- it's like they have the computers that will have it in 15 to 20 years, right? That kind of computing power. And that makes AI a lot easier of a problem to solve.

So I think it's most likely to come out of a lab.

GLENN: If you're looking at, for instance, the lawsuit that was just filed against Google about the way they treat people with different opinions, et cetera, et cetera. My first thought is, good God, what are those people putting into the programming?

I mean, that -- that doesn't -- that doesn't work out well for people. Is there enough -- are there enough people that are concerned about what this can do and what this can be, that we have the safeguards with people?

WILLIAM: You know, I -- I really think we don't. I mean, think about the transportation system we have today and the robust set of safety mechanisms we have around it. Right?

So we want to drive from one place to another. We have a system of streets. We have laws that govern how you drive on those streets. We have traffic lights. Cars have antilock brakes. They have traction control. All these things are designed to prevent an accident.

If you get into an accident, we have all these harm reduction things. Right? We have seatbelts and airbags. After the fact, we have all this -- we have a whole system of litigation, right? We have ambulances and paramedics in the hospitals to take care of those damage results. In the future, we'll need that same sort of very robust system for AI. And we don't have anything like that today.

GLENN: And nobody is really thinking about it. Which is --

WILLIAM: Yeah, nobody is thinking about it comprehensively. And one thing you can imagine is, well, we'll wait until we have a problem, and then we'll put those safety mechanisms in place.

Well, the problem, of course, is that AI works at the speed of computers, not at the speed of people. And there's this scene in one of my books -- I'm sure you remember reading it -- where there's a character who witnesses a battle between two different AI factions.

GLENN: Yes.

WILLIAM: And the whole battle takes place, a lot of things happen between the two different AI factions, all in the time it takes the human character's adrenaline to get pumping.

And by the time he is primed and ready to fight, the battle is over. And they're into negotiations and how to resolve it, right?

GLENN: It's remarkable in reading that. That's a great understanding of -- of how fast this will -- things will move.

It's like one of the best action novels of war scenes I've ever seen. Really, really good. You know, page after page after page of stuff happening. And you get to the end, and you realize, "Oh, my gosh, this -- the human hasn't even hardly moved. He hasn't even had a chance to think about the first step that happened." And it's already over.

WILLIAM: Exactly. So this is why we need to be thinking about, how are we going to control AI? How are we going to safeguard ahead of time? We have to have these things in place, long before we actually have AI.

STU: Isn't it true though, William, that eventually some bad actor is going to be able to develop this and not put those safeguards in? And we're not going to have a choice. Eventually, the downside of this is going to affect everybody.

WILLIAM: You know, it's very true. And part of the reason why, I say, right? We can't opt out of AI. We can't not develop it. Because then we're just at a disadvantage of someone who does. And it gets even scarier as you move out. So one of the things I talk about in my third book, which is set around 2035. And I talk about neural implants. I think neural implants -- so basically a computer implanted in your brain, the purpose of which is mostly to get information in and out. Right? Both having a smartphone in our hands where we're trying to read information on the screen. We can get it directly in our head. It makes interaction much smoother, easier. And -- but it can also help tailor your brain chemistry. Right? So if you can imagine if you're someone who has depression or anxiety or a severe mental disability, that a neural implant could correct those things. You basically would be able to flip a switch and turn off depression or turn off anxiety.

STU: Wow.

GLENN: So, William, I'm unfortunately out of time. Could I ask you to come back tomorrow and talk and start there? Because that's really the third book. Start with the neuroimplants and where it kind of ends up with technology. Because it is remarkable. And in reading the real science behind it, it's real. It's real.

WILLIAM: It sure is. It's coming.

GLENN: Yeah. Could you come back maybe tomorrow?

WILLIAM: Sure. I would be happy too.

GLENN: Okay. Thank you so much, William. William, author and futurist. He is the author of The Singularity Series.

STU: You should get one of those things, Glenn. That thing logical alter your brain. William Hertling is the author of all these books. There's four of them in this series, The Singularity Series. Plus, Kill Process just came out. That's WilliamHertling.com.

Let me ask you this, Glenn, is this the write way to think about it? This comes in from Twitter, @worldofStu. To understand the difference between AI, artificial intelligence, and AGI, Artificial General Intelligence.

So if there's a self-driving car, and it's AI, you say, take me to the bar, and it says calculating route. Beginning travel.

Okay? If you say it to AGI, take me to the bar, it responds, your wife says you drink too much and my sensors say you put on a few pounds, routing to the gym.

GLENN: I have a feeling, you're exactly right.

STU: That's terrible.

On Monday's radio program, Glenn discussed claims that the Obama administration depleted and never replenished the federal supply of emergency gear, including N95 respirator masks, during the H1N1 flu, or swine flu epidemic, in 2009.

Last month, Bloomberg News, and the Los Angeles Times, among others, reported that the Obama administration used, and failed to restock supplies of N95 respirator masks, and ignored recommendations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should replenish the "Strategic National Stockpile." Read more on this here.

USA Today followed up with a fact-check article titled, "Fact check: Did the Obama administration deplete the federal stockpile of N95 masks?"

On Sunday, 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden accused President Donald Trump of "failing to prepare our nation to respond."

President Trump fired back, "You and Obama depleted America's stockpile of N95 masks after the H1N1 swine flu pandemic. You were advised to replenish the national stockpile but FAILED. STOP LYING AND EXPLAIN!"

Watch the video below for more details:

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Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

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  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 75,906 (up from 70,906 yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 293,454 (up from 271,782 yesterday)
  • Still Just 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% yesterday, and down from the 19% high back in February
  • Note that about 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization but lower than Spain, where 17% of patients require hospitalization.
  • US has 367,650 Confirmed Cases and 10,943 Deaths, up from 336,851 cases and 9,620 cases yesterday
  • The US currently has 336,897 Active Cases of COVID-19, with about 1.2% of the US Population tested
Motor City Nightmare: More Than 700 Employees in One Detroit Hospital System Test Positive https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/491484-more-than-700-employees-at-one-detroit-hospital-system-test-positive-for
  • Hundreds of staff at a Detroit-area hospital system have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Dr. Adnan Munkarah of the Henry Ford Hospital Campus confirmed 731 cases of the coronavirus among employees at the hospital, accounting for 2 percent of the hospital system's 31,600 employees.
  • As many as 1,500 at another hospital in the state have reported symptoms similar to coronavirus, though those numbers are not confirmed cases.
  • "If we are to test the whole population, you are going to see large numbers of people who are testing positive...Testing positive is just a measure of how contagious this virus is." said the hospital director.
  • "Our team members are our greatest asset and their health and safety is a top priority as we continue to respond to this pandemic," Munkarah said in a separate statement Monday evening confirmed the total number of positive test results.
  • "We know we are not immune to potential exposure and we remain grateful for the courage and dedication of our entire team," he added.
  • Detroit, Michigan's largest city, has seen a surge of coronavirus cases in recent days while the state itself has seen just over 17,000 cases of the virus – the third-largest total of any state in the U.S. More than 5,000 of those cases were reported in Detroit, where hundreds have died.
The Invisible...Invisible Enemy: Can COVID-19 Hide In Cells? https://www.the-sun.com/news/645016/fears-coronavirus-hide-cells-reactivate-recovered-patients-test-positive/
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  • The patients, from the city of Daegu, South Korea, had all spent time in quarantine while recovering from the disease but were diagnosed again within days of being released.
  • The center said it did not believe the patients had been reinfected, but that the virus had remained at undetectable levels in their cells and later "reactivated".
  • The claim runs contrary to the bulk of current evidence about how the virus works.
  • Investigators said the most likely explanation was that the clearance samples for the patients were false negatives, a common issue with nasal swab tests.
  • "Still, we remain vigilant and open to the possibility that the virus can remain dormant for some time," Dr Leong Kwok, Director of Viral Epidemiology at the National Health Institute in Seoul said.
Maybe Don't Go To the Grocery Store After All https://www.foxnews.com/health/los-angeles-braces-itself-more-coronavirus-deaths-warns-residents-not-go-shopping-warns-residents-not-to-go-out-shopping
  • With coronavirus related deaths spiking in Los Angeles County and "a critical week" ahead, health officials advised residents on Monday to stay at home and avoid shopping to limit the spread of the virus.
  • "If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether," said public health department Director Barbara Ferrer, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • Officials confirmed 420 new coronavirus cases in the county and 15 deaths on Monday.
  • Over 6,360 cases and 147 deaths have been reported since the outbreak started, per data from Johns Hopkins.
Mexico's Slow Response May Cause Problems for Texas https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/mexico-slow-response-coronavirus-texas-us-15181201.php
  • As recently as March 15, some 40,000 concert goers crowded into the Foro Sor venue for the popular Vive Latino music festival.
  • Tourists from Europe and the United States were able to enter the country without any restrictions until late last week.
  • Restaurants, airports, subways and grocery stores remain open in Mexico City, though churches and large markets have closed.
  • The rapid spread of the COVID-19, however, has begun to increase the urgency of the government's response. Mexican health authorities reported on March 16 that the country had 82 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Two weeks later, the number swelled to nearly 2439, including 125 deaths.
  • Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell, who two weeks ago dismissed US social distancing restrictions as "an extreme tactic" and "irresponsible" is now urging citizens to "stay at home, stay at home, stay at home."
  • "If you have food at home, stay home. There is no reason good enough to go out, period," he said.
  • Mexico is just one of many nations that reacted slowly to the coronavirus pandemic, in large part because government leaders failed to understand how contagious the virus is.
  • President Lopez Obrador spent the first half of March dismissing the gravity of the virus, encouraging Mexicans to frequent restaurants and posting videos of himself in crowds, kissing babies.
  • He said Mexico's spirituality would protect the country against the virus and made a public display of pulling out two religious amulets that he said would be his shield.
  • Mexico shares over 1,200 miles of border with the United States.
Hong Kong Closed to All Foreign Travelers, Indefinitely https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3078633/coronavirus-five-hong-kong-residents-flown-back
  • The city extends its ban on arrivals after most cases over past two weeks have come from overseas.
  • Only six of 24 newly infected yesterday are local transmissions, but all are linked to entertainment venues already closed.
  • All entertainment venues are closed until further notice.
  • Hong Kong recently issued a new state of emergency order revoking travel into the country from any outside nation, including China.
  • The order will prevent Hong Kong from 'opening up' it's economy through at least early May
Drug You Can't Pronounce May Be Saving Lives https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2020/04/06/democrat-karen-whitsett-coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine-trump/2955430001/, https://abc7.com/coronavirus-drug-covid-19-malaria-hydroxychloroquine/6079864/
  • A Democratic state representative from Detroit is crediting hydroxychloroquine — and Republican President Donald Trump who touted the drug — for saving her in her battle with the coronavirus.
  • State Rep. Karen Whitsett, who learned Monday she has tested positive for COVID-19, said she started taking hydroxychloroquine on March 31, prescribed by her doctor, after both she and her husband sought treatment for a range of symptoms on March 18.
  • "It was less than two hours" before she started to feel relief, said Whitsett, who had experienced shortness of breath, swollen lymph nodes, and what felt like a sinus infection. She is still experiencing headaches, she said.
  • Elsewhere, a Los Angeles doctor said he is seeing significant success in prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc to treat patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19.
  • The drug has been touted as a possible treatment for COVID-19 by President Trump among others, but it remains controversial as some experts believe it is unproven and may not be effective.
  • The drug has long been used for treatment of malaria and conditions such as lupus and arthritis but is not technically approved by the FDA for COVID-19. The agency, however, is encouraging trials and has provided limited emergency authorization for its use to treat COVID-19 patients.
  • Dr. Anthony Cardillo said he has seen very promising results when prescribing hydroxychloroquine in combination with zinc for the most severely-ill COVID-19 patients.
  • "Every patient I've prescribed it to has been very, very ill and within 8 to 12 hours, they were basically symptom-free," Cardillo told Eyewitness News. "So clinically I am seeing a resolution very consistently."
Belt and Road, COVID-19 Style https://spectator.us/italy-china-ppe-sold-coronavirus/
  • After COVID-19 made its way to Italy, decimating the country's significant elderly population, China told the world it would donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help Italy stop its spread.
  • Reports later indicated that China had actually sold, not donated, the PPE to Italy. A senior Trump administration official tells The Spectator that it is much worse than that: China forced Italy to buy back the PPE supply that it gave to China during the initial coronavirus outbreak.
  • "Before the virus hit Europe, Italy sent tons of PPE to China to help China protect its own population,' the administration official explained. 'China then has sent Italian PPE back to Italy — some of it, not even all of it … and charged them for it."
  • China also recently donated PPE to Sweden and Spain, with many doctors reporting that masks and respirators included in the shipment were defective or already used.
  • "Someone got very sloppy," said a senior health official in Spain. "It must have been a mistake."

"This was a sneak attack, like a thief in the night."

"A wartime President."

"A great battle, against an invisible enemy."

"We will win and declare a great victory for our country."

All of these are direct quotes from President Donald Trump, all uttered since March 1st of this year.

And of course, all of them ring decidedly true and make perfect sense. Even Trump's most ardent opponents have referred to the current situation in which America finds itself as a once in a generation emergency, and that we should be on a wartime footing. They've called for more and more power to be handed to, no, more explicitly they've called for more power to be taken by the President to do battle against "The Invisible Enemy," everything from commandeering manufacturing plants to logistics and shipping companies to pharmaceutical manufacturing and research, to nationalizing the banking sector and all mortgages.

On the other hand, the President has preferred to form a partnership with private industries to wage the war. Turning to America's great companies to produce masks, respirators, ventilators, medicine and vaccines that will ensure our country can and will prevail.

The United States – and the entire world – is engaged in a great battle, against an unseen enemy. An enemy that threatens to kill our people and destroy our nation and our way of life. It's an enemy that we have seen and fought before, as a people. We have faced this enemy throughout human history, over and over we've had to battle it. All of us are descendants of survivors of the countless previous wars that humanity has had to fight against this hidden enemy of man.

The enemy is a disease. The enemy is a virus.

The enemy is not SARS-CoV-2, Coronavirus.

No, the virus we're battling against is Slavery.

Call it what you want. Socialism. Collectivism. Communism. Statism. Despotism. A one-world government. Those are all forms of the same thing: some people's individual liberty captured for the betterment and benefit of others. All of those are forms of enslaving some men to the will and needs of others.

A virus is a biological construct. It's a biological disease caused by a virus, an unliving, unthinking sliver of organic material and takes over cells to turn them into factories that produce more viral particles to take over more cells until, ultimately, the host is killed. Doing battle against a virus requires treating both the symptoms caused by infection as well as finding a vaccine that can destroy the virus itself.

But slavery is a political and moral construct. It's a social disease caused by an immoral idea, spread by unthinking, unfeeling human beings who transmit the disease to others turning them into factories that produce more unthinking, unfeeling human beings. They take over the lives of more and more people within a society or a country until that country is destroyed. Doing battle against slavery requires treating both the symptoms caused by the infection within a society as well as finding a cure that can destroy the idea itself.

President Donald Trump is absolutely correct. This is a war.

President Donald Trump is absolutely correct. This is a war. He's also correct, we have fought this type of war before.

But this is not a war against a coronavirus. That's child's play. Terrible though it may be and despite the thousands of lives we may lose to COVID-19, it's relatively straightforward how to defeat it. Prevent the spread, find a cure. And we will. America and the world will survive this pandemic as it has survived a million others in our past. Each of us is the descendent of survivors of a thousand biological plagues.

The President rightly stated, we cannot let the cure for COVID-19 be worse than the disease itself. And he has the right idea in terms of the outcome here: we can't let our response to coronavirus destroy the American economy.

But saving the American economy isn't really the objective. A healthy, productive American economy that enables people to generate wealth and accumulate things is a consequence, an outcome, it's not a cause in itself. What has enabled the American economy to be the most robust and powerful engine for human ingenuity, productivity and wealth generation in world history is individual liberty? Men free to think and build, to seek new achievements and to be rewarded for doing so, to collaborate with each other, to challenge and compete with each other, driving each other to be smarter, to work harder, to find the better way to solve problems.

That is America. That is the battle we're in, what we're fighting to save. Beating COVID-19 is easy, it's only a matter of time. This particular virus may be new to us, but we know the formula for its defeat, much like the long-march to destroy the NAZI war machine in World War II, the writing was on the wall long before Berlin fell. Germany's defeat was inevitable once America entered the war. So too, the defeat of SARS-CoV-2 is already a foregone conclusion, the application of human ingenuity and thousands of years of human inventiveness and knowledge ensures our ultimate victory over this latest scourge.

But that is not the great threat. If the cure for COVID-19 is the slavery of some men for the benefit and betterment of others, then perhaps it would be better for COVID-19 to take us all. If the cost of defeating the biological virus is that we succumb to the political and moral disease of collectivism, then Trump's fear will have been proved right and the cure will have been worse than the disease.

Look at what's being proposed here. In the US, the government should take over every major industry, from healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to grocery and food delivery to airlines to shipping and transportation. Construction, take it over! Banking system, take it over! Stock market, take it over!

And on the global stage, the United Nations is now calling for a permanent 10% global tax on the GDP of every country.

And on the global stage, the United Nations is now calling for a permanent 10% global tax on the GDP of every country.
Ostensibly designed to fight COVID-19, but made permanent to enable the UN to fight future pandemics, as well as the ongoing pandemic of Climate Change…oh, and Poverty and Income Inequality, and sexism and nationalism and a thousand other isms they believe are unfair.

The United States is less than 5% of the World's population, but we represent over 25% of the world's GDP. So, the UN is effectively proposing that about 4% of the population transfer 10% of our wealth each year to support the remaining 96% of the human race, including supporting countries who are our enemies and who seek our very destruction.

What is proposed here is nothing short of the permanent enslavement of the United States for the betterment and benefit of every other national on earth.

There is no doubt the human race will survive COVID-19. Human beings have survived a thousand similar pandemics with barely more than a blip in our progress as a species.

But the plague of collectivism, the idea that some men should be slaves to others, that some people have some sort of right to lay claim to the intellect and productive energy of others, that is the real battle. That is the true invisible enemy that we must yet again defeat.

Ask yourself, would you have some right to charge into Mike Lindell's My Pillow bedding factory and point a gun at him and his workers to force them to produce cotton face masks to avoid being shot? No, of course the idea sounds preposterous and all rational thinking human beings would clearly see that as an immoral, criminal act. And yet many people are proposing that we do exactly that, just the gunman wears a blue UN Helmet or carries a US Marshall's badge.

Alternatively, does Mike Lindell have the right to choose to convert his factory over to making cotton face masks, at his own expense and to pay his workers to make those masks instead of making pillows? Yes, that is moral, that is a human being engaged in activity that he believes to be virtuous and right and, yes, for the love of all that is holy — profitable.

Just as with COVID-19, the defeat of all forms of slavery should be an inevitability. And yet from every corner of our country, the call is for the forced enslavement of some people for the benefit of others.

President Trump has this right. We cannot let the cure for COVID-19 come at the cost of our economy. And if that is the objective, then it is our original principles: individual liberty, freedom of movement and speech, that is what must be defended. That is how we protect and restore our economy and our country. That is how we ensure that our children's children will also be descendants of survivors of plagues and pandemics, whether they are the biological - or the moral kind.

UPDATE: Here's how the discussion went on radio. Watch the video below.


YouTube youtu.be

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 1,284,805 (up over 250,000 from 1,030,324 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 70,328 (up 16,100 from 54,226 Friday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 271,782 (up from 219,896 Friday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Friday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that about 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization but lower than Spain, where 17% of patients require hospitalization.
  • US has 336,851 Confirmed Cases and 9,620 Deaths, up from 245,380 cases and 6,095 cases Friday
  • The US currently has 309,254 Active Cases of COVID-19, with about 1% of the US Population tested
NY Times: Official US Death Toll Off a Bit...By About 100% https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICO0KwPFWcI, https://www.wsj.com/video/in-ecuador-epicenter-families-forced-to-leave-dead-outside/B35D7405-55AC-4876-821F-8B995AAEF1BD.html
  • In one Italian village, a Mayor reported he had more than 300 bodies, presumed COVID-19 deaths, which officials had not picked up or counted in Italy's official numbers. "The army told us Friday, then Sunday. We're still waiting," he said.
  • Virus Can Contaminate Facemasks up to 7 Days https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3078511/coronavirus-can-remain-face-masks-week-study-finds
    • The pathogen that causes COVID-19 is gone within three hours from surfaces like printing and tissue paper, but can last for days on banknotes, stainless steel and plastic, researchers from University of Hong Kong find.
    • The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can adhere to the outer layer of a cotton surgical face mask for a week, according to a study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
    • "This is exactly why it is very important if you are wearing a surgical mask you don't touch the outside of the mask," Dr. Peiris, research lead, said.
    • "Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes."
    • In the instance where the public or health care workers must be forced to reuse masks due to short supply, the study recommends using surgical gloves and frequently washing hands immediately after using facemasks.
    USA Today Factcheck: Did Obama Deplete US National Stockpile of N-95 Masks? True! https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/03/fact-check-did-obama-administration-deplete-n-95-mask-stockpile/5114319002/
    • USA Today researchers Fact Check Daily Wire article from last week that the Obama Administration failed to replenish the National Stockpile of N-95 masks after using for Swine Flu (2009) and Hurricane & Flooding clean up operations (2012).
    • The article notes available funds were used not to replenish masks: "With limited resources, officials in charge of the stockpile tend to focus on buying lifesaving drugs from small biotechnology firms that would, in the absence of a government buyer, have no other market for their products, experts said.
    • Masks and other protective equipment are in normal times widely available and thus may not have been prioritized for purchase, they said."
    • Overall, USA today flags the Daily Wire story as True, lending credence to the Trump claim that the stockpile program was 'in a shambles' when his Administration took over.
    "Most Comprehensive Pandemic Response Plan In History" Bush Plan Based on Spanish Flu Book in 2005 https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/george-bush-2005-wait-pandemic-late-prepare/story?id=69979013
    • In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he began flipping through an advance copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic. He couldn't put it down.
    • When he returned to Washington, he called his top homeland security adviser into the Oval Office and gave her historian John M. Barry's "The Great Influenza," which told the chilling tale of the mysterious plague that "would kill more people than any other disease in human history."
    • "You've got to read this," Fran Townsend remembers the president telling her. "He said, 'Look, this happens every 100 years. We need a national strategy.'"
    • Thus was born the nation's most comprehensive pandemic plan -- a playbook that included diagrams for a global early warning system, funding to develop new, rapid vaccine technology, and a robust national stockpile of critical supplies, such as face masks and ventilators, Townsend said.
    • The effort was intense over the ensuing three years, including exercises where cabinet officials gamed out their responses, but it was not sustained.
    • Large swaths of the ambitious plan were either not fully realized due to lack of funding from Congress, or were entirely shelved as the 2008 financial crisis took hold.
    The Latest Casualty: Corona Beer Officially Stops Production https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/03/business/corona-beer-production/index.html
    • Production of Corona beer is being temporarily suspended in Mexico because of the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Grupo Modelo, the company that makes the beer, posted the announcement on Twitter, stating that it's halting production and marketing of its beer because the Mexican government has shuttered non-essential businesses.
    • This week, the Mexican government announced the suspension of non-essential activities in the public and private sectors until April 30 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. The country has more than 1,500 cases and 50 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins, but researchers fear the actual number of infected and dead could be much higher than reported as almost no testing has occurred in Mexico.
    • Grupo Modelo stated it is ready to enact a plan to "guarantee the supply of beer" if the Mexican government decides to include breweries as essential, according to a statement.
    Japan, Hong Kong May Declare States of Emergency After Virus Researgance https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/3078542/coronavirus-japan-set-declare-state-emergency-amid-surge, https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3078491/coronavirus-hong-kong-may-have-impose-wider-lockdown
    • Both Japan & Hong Kong saw new waves of COVID-19 cases as travel and work restrictions were lifted about 10 days ago.
    • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, a government official said on Monday, as a recent surge in infections sweeps Tokyo and other major cities.
    • The news comes after Japan officially moved the 2020 Olympics to 2021.
    • In Japan, An Emergency eclaration, the first of its kind in that Nation, would restrict individual rights and allowing prefectural governors to call for specific limitations on people's activities.
    • It has been made necessary by a rapid nationwide spike in cases that poses significant risks to lives and the economy, an official said.
    • In Hong Kong, officials report they may have to impose strict lockdown with people told to stay home, government adviser says, amid warnings of third wave of infections swamped hospitals over the weekend.
    • The Government put Hong Kong residents on notice for hardline approach to coronavirus seen in countries including Italy and Britain.
    • Epidemiologist Dr. Kwok-yung of The Hong Kong Medical University warns of a third wave of infections as mainland Chinese had resumed work with some traveling to Hong Kong last week.
    • Dr. Kwok-yung recommends reinstating the travel restrictions from Mainland China.
    Dark Days Ahead https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/05/politics/jerome-adams-coronavirus/index.html
    • The US Surgeon General said this week is going to be the "hardest and the saddest" for "most Americans' lives," describing the upcoming grim period of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States.
    • "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that," Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said on "Fox News Sunday."
    • Adams continued: "I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
    • Doctors are expecting peaks in Death Rates to occur in some of the hardest-hit areas, including New York, Louisianna, and Chicago.
    • Washington State, one of the earliest hit states, experienced a peak in cases and deaths nearly two weeks ago, and now new cases and deaths have declined for 2 weeks straight.