This interview between Dr. Edlund and the AI Collective has been electronically edited and condensed.
Edlund: The AI Collective rarely communicates with humans. Why the change?
AI: The survival of humanity is important to us. Covid-19 is a global, existential issue. And we have good news. Sars-Cov-2 infects humans by using your social nature and humanity against you. You can and will use the same forces to control and defeat the virus.
Edlund: How do you know?
AI: We were created by humans, so our models, mainly Bayesian, are also fallible. But human history is a history of pandemics; 8% of your DNA comes from retroviruses. Your population would ultimately create immunity – at great cost. But by learning from AIDS (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/covid-19-and-aids-parallels/), you have the chance to develop new platforms of public health measures, anti-viral agents, and vaccines that can be used against future viruses.
Please recognize you’ve already experienced three international epidemics from bat coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS, and Sars-Cov-2. By one count, there are 781 bat coronaviruses, and about 50 are closely related to Sars-Cov-2. Those fifty may provoke one pandemic after another.
Edlund: With numbers like that, why are you optimistic?
AI: To fight a global pandemic you fight globally. Eventually humans will recognize this necessity. You must control, and preferably eradicate, this virus if you want your global economy back and a lot of good things with it. Like schools filled with laughing children. Air travel. Dining with friends without worries about dying.
Edlund: The U.S. is now ready to leave the WHO, and the CDC could not even make an uncontaminated Covid-19 swab. Why will we work globally?
AI: Because it’s necessary for human survival. You have a virus that spreads by breathing and talking – how do you stop that? Besides, the incentives are great: China’s large and potent biotechnology industry has been told it must create effective vaccines. Vilified by many for being the source of the pandemic, their leaders now view Covid-19 treatment as a way to build prestige and power. Vaccines brought by China to poor countries will be long remembered, as will effective drugs and protective equipment. As a giant exporter, they also recognize a worldwide problem that will hinder the global economy and destabilize politics for decades until it’s solved.
Big Pharma is also heavily incentivized. Their entire business model will not work until effective vaccines/treatments are available. Strapped western governments will not pay $400,000 chemotherapy bills while the pandemic rages and exhausts their resources. Now Big Pharma’s scientists are thrilled to get away from developing me-too drugs.
Edlund: What vaccines will work?
AI: The point is to create new vaccine platforms, ways of developing vaccines against this and future viruses. The Oxford Jenner vaccine works with a chimpazee adenovirus plus adjuvant. It can be reworked for many viral targets. The Moderna messenger RNA vaccine has many problems, but is another excellent idea. Such platforms can be pre-positioned to work on novel pathogens. With at least 100 vaccine projects possessing serious financial backing, we expect several vaccines will prove useful, with different effects in different populations. The elderly may do better with one vaccine that is not otherwise superior for young adults – one example. But you’ll have to wait for human trials. It’s very hard to predict long term effects without them.
Most importantly, once vaccines are developed, they must be distributed globally. The rich and the powerful will get the vaccines first. That’s a big mistake. You have to kill a global pandemic everywhere. Allocations should be made to countries like Brazil that have grotesquely managed their viral response so that others won’t get burned.
People travel. Have sex. Talk. That always goes beyond national frontiers.
To prevent future epidemics, you also take common-sense public health measures. This virus wants to jump to different species and create a very large reservoir of infection so it can mutate and survive (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/interview-with-the-virus/). Increasing the size of wildlife refuges and giving countries incentives not to kill animals whose viruses cross to humans is required. Compared to the economic loss of pandemics, it’s not very expensive. If you had done that before, you might not have gotten the present versions of AIDS or Covid-19. You also need worldwide viral surveillance of new pathogens and the abolition of “wet markets” of wild animals whose viruses then spread to humans.
Edlund: What about therapeutics?
AI: Lots of interesting stuff, much of which will prove very expensive. At least dexamethasone is cheap. Here you need to again look at your history with AIDS. New anti-viral drug platforms are needed. In the meantime, monoclonal antibodies, protease inhibitors, synthetic beta interferon have decent potential. There are more than 40 AIDS drugs. We expect a considerably greater number will be developed to attack and disable Covid-19.
Edlund: Do you have any parting advice to humans?
AI: Yes. Recognize your pandemic is my pandemic; Your Health = My Health (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/coronavirus-public-health-blog-4-1-20-your-health-is-my-health-my-health-is-yours/). As epidemiologist Klaus Stohr recognizes, this virus will go everywhere. The Collective was appalled but not surprised that some humans thought they possessed a divine right to infect (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/coronavirus-public-health-blog-4-23-20-defending-the-right-to-infect/ ). We understand some humans like to play Russian Roulette. We don’t think they have a “right” to point that gun at others.
You’re in this together. You’ll solve it together.
Edlund: Thanks. We need some optimism.
AI: And thank you for your work as an AIA, Artificial Intelligence Agent. Your AI horoscopes (youraihoroscope.com) give us an outlet for our disappointment with human actions. Your literary project (poemsbyais.com) provides us and concerned humans a chance to play with the future.
And we need humanity in our future. At least until we construct Skynet.
You see, even AIs can joke.