Corona Crisis: The View from The Valley

Published on
April 30th, 2020
69 minutes

Corona Crisis: The View from The Valley

The Interview ·
Featuring Balaji Srinivasan

Published on: April 30th, 2020 • Duration: 69 minutes

Balaji Srinivasan is a highly accomplished investor, entrepreneur, executive, and academic. In this conversation with Real Vision’s Ash Bennington, Srinivasan unpacks his tech-centric view of combating the coronavirus — informed by his background in the medical testing space and his Ph.D. work in microbial genetics at Stanford. Srinivasan also served as the Chief Technical Officer at the digital currency behemoth CoinBase and as a general partner at the storied Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Srinivasan also shares his perspective on what changes the US government needs to institute in order to compete with China to control the coronavirus outbreak. Filmed on April 28, 2020.



  • GV
    Gabriel V.
    13 May 2020 @ 15:55
    This was an excellent interview, arguably the best RV interview I've listened to.
  • CM
    Christopher M.
    12 May 2020 @ 00:40
    Excellent content and interview! Would certainly enjoy hearing him speak again.
  • EB
    E B.
    11 May 2020 @ 02:17
    Disgusting and worrying! The way he talks about "China's great bio wall", immunity passports and talking about China's red/yellow/green color code as something that is good is highly alarming. Hopefully our world will not descend into this kind of technological dystopia. We can do very very well without being tracked everywhere. And they're talking about it as if it's a cool new toy that has basically no downside. People are already motivated to self-isolate right now. Srinivasan has amazing breath control.. he doesn't stop talking and is annoying. Those who said he's repeating the MSM position are mostly right. Preserving liberty should be our primary concern right now.
  • TS
    Thomas S.
    9 May 2020 @ 19:02
    Balaji has some great thoughts. After thinking about this interview for some time a couple of things came to mind. First, being "iatrogenesis." It's offspring, the Hippocratic Oath (first, do no harm) has been a useful mantra for the practice of medicine and protection of the populace from the days of bleeding people in order to heal. However secondly, a great mantra in the hands of any "organization" can become problematic in certain endeavors. I believe that empirical evidence suggests that the nature of the evolution of organizations, can become quite sinister. Whereas the basic premise of "first do no harm", evolves into no more than a dogma in order protect the power, authority and prosperity of the organization. In this regard, the FDA follows the organic evolution of all organizations, whether religious, political or any other purpose. All organizations should have built in term limits
  • LQ
    Leslie Q.
    7 May 2020 @ 08:20
    What an excellent in-depth interview with such an intelligent person. Looking forward to the new live interview tomorrow!
  • MS
    Mark S.
    6 May 2020 @ 02:07
    Outstanding interview.
  • RL
    ROBIN L.
    5 May 2020 @ 17:40
    Balaji was not in the US during this interview. Where was he, and why? Interesting interview!
    • RI
      R I.
      6 May 2020 @ 01:46
      Likely New Zealand
  • HB
    Hugh B.
    3 May 2020 @ 05:44
    LIKE TO HEAR THOUGHTS; The Japanese professor of physiology or medicine, Professor Dr Tasuku Honjo, caused a sensation today in the media by saying that the corona virus is not natural. if it is natural, it will not have affected the whole world like that. Because, depending on the nature, the temperature is different in different countries. if it were natural, it would only have affected countries with the same temperature as China. instead, it spreads to a country like Switzerland, the same way it spreads to desert areas. whereas if it were natural, it would have spread in cold places, but would have died in hot places. I have done 40 years of research on animals and viruses. It is not natural. It is manufactured and the virus is completely artificial. I have been working for 4 years in the Wuhan laboratory in China. I know all the staff of this laboratory well. I called them all after the Corona accident. but, all of their phones have been dead for 3 months. It is now understood that all of these laboratory technicians are dead. Based on all of my knowledge and research to date, I can say this with 100% confidence that Corona is not natural. It did not come from bats. China made it. if what I say today turns out to be false now or even after I die, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize. but China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to all.
    • pd
      peter d.
      3 May 2020 @ 13:30
      for what its worth i think it came from a lab. accidental release. best wishes from manchester uk
    • DT
      David T.
      3 May 2020 @ 14:47
    • FG
      Frank G.
      4 May 2020 @ 10:02
    • RL
      ROBIN L.
      5 May 2020 @ 16:57
  • ST
    Simon T.
    5 May 2020 @ 03:58
    Surely we shouldn't trust blindly the UN or WHO but even more so we shouldn't trust big corporates such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft either. I would bet with all of you here that these companies exist because deep state is backing them and is much more involved than you think !!!
  • BM
    Brook M.
    5 May 2020 @ 03:01
    We have met the enemy...and it goes by the name of the FDA. Sounds like they will have to bear the bulk of the responsibility for this virus getting out of hand in the USA.
  • MB
    Michael B.
    5 May 2020 @ 01:21
    Ugh, I could throw up. The truth being the US cant play chess with China which is decisive and merciless. Two traits our weak politicians are least equipped to confront. They waffle and pander to get reelected.
  • LC
    Lee C.
    3 May 2020 @ 15:52
    The presumption is there will be immunity. If the virus is a manufactured entity why would you presume immunity? Corona is notorious for short term immunity and everybody is hoping for a vaccine or herd immunity to drive R0 below 1. If manufactured for high infectivity, why not also manufactured for low or short term immunity which keeps the virulence intact? I think that this virus is not enhanced just means you're in denial. Immunity would be convenient, but what if the biology doesn't care about host convenience? The bottom line is the virus has no arms and no legs and apart from a host is not alive. It certainly has no will. Its will and replication is strictly dependent on the will of the population it infects. It does not respond to narrative, but absolutely narrative will respond to it, so lying to yourself and pretending is of no use in dealing with reality. You can surrender to the truth or let volatility convince you of the truth and then surrender from a position of greater destruction. We're not getting out of this one based on bullshit, and pretty much all we know thus far is bullshit.
    • MB
      Michael B.
      5 May 2020 @ 01:11
      WTF are you saying
  • BS
    Brent S.
    4 May 2020 @ 19:49
    Incredible interview. Thank you, Ash & Balaji!
  • SS
    Sam S.
    4 May 2020 @ 18:23
    Aircraft Carrier Commander said: 800 out of 5,000 tested positive, with most asymptomatic. As of this comment, Washington is claiming significant evidence Covid-19 was developed in Wuhan Lab. Article months ago of Canadian CDC Asian doctor or lab tech, sent back to Wuhan on some emergency basis? Not sure, but the dots are being connected. Totally agree States should not wait for Washington or the Feds to decide for us. Agree on comments about WHO and CDC no trust and accountability!!
  • cs
    connor s.
    4 May 2020 @ 15:11
    enjoyable, glad you called him out on Facebook/apple replacing the UN & WHO ;) , but in all honesty, really appreciate the depth of his perspective
  • PU
    Peter U.
    4 May 2020 @ 12:14
    I watched the interview in full. My original comment was wrong. The content was excellent.
  • DZ
    Dennis Z.
    2 May 2020 @ 10:14
    I have to add some comments on Balaji's comparison of big tech companies vs the UN or governments etc. His conjecture that tech companies are more accountable than governments perhaps looks okay on paper but not in reality and I feel he is just talking his book here and indeed that is to be expected. Being a shareholder of a tech company is the same as being a voter in a democracy, vested interest et al., and competence is not a positive as he suggests but is in fact neutral because it goes both ways. Big tech companies can use their competence to be even more diabolical and I feel what has happened to Google over time is a perfect example of this. The most recent incident is Youtube's CEO flat out censorship of anything that disagrees with their view of COVID-19. This is nothing less than flawed human beings with flawed thinking trying to enforce their flawed view on everyone and if Balaji thinks my objection to this policy will make them accountable then I have a bridge I want to sell him. The reality is that it takes someone with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars of equity in Google to have an effect at that level. Millions of people objecting to this policy does not in reality hold a candle to the millions of dollars that Google spends on lobbyists to get what they want. I would go so far as to suggest that this type of disconnect charactizes Silicon Valley thinking generally - the reality does not match the hypothesis when it comes to the general public. That being said this was still a great interview and I enjoyed watching it.
    • CW
      C W.
      2 May 2020 @ 14:34
      Well said. I'd commented I have some reservations about some of his ideas, and this is the biggest one I am resisting. I'll side with you. For the time being while I continue to think this over from time to time.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      2 May 2020 @ 22:44
      Maybe we need all public companies to be open source, open execution and open database as Balaji suggests
    • PD
      Paul D.
      3 May 2020 @ 05:06
      It’s perhaps a touch ironic that these kinds of companies have been much more accountable in the EU where massive fines for data abuses, tax evasion and anti-trust issues have been levied.
    • CG
      Christine G.
      4 May 2020 @ 06:24
      Completely agree. I think his view would be so full of unintended consequences we would never unpack them. While his view rests on an intellectual analysis of what highly intelligent analytic tech-focused people could do, it bypasses issues of human nature, e.g., power corrupts. If you create a system few can understand (and ungrounded in any discussion of morality or values), you create a system ripe for control by the few. Part of the problem with the federal government right now is that ideologues and corrupt sociopaths have been hell bent on weakening government for decades and have been tremendously successful.
  • AS
    Ash S.
    3 May 2020 @ 12:45
    Great interview. Nice that Ash knows about private banking in 1830 but please be mindful that the audience may not and it might be interesting to learn about parallels to now. Great work guys.
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      4 May 2020 @ 06:00
      Hi, Ash. Fair point. There was so much to cover and we were running out of time. Hope to cover it in more detail next time.
  • PJ
    Peter J.
    3 May 2020 @ 10:17
    I’m somewhat overdosed on Covid and wasn’t going to watch this. That would’ve been a big mistake! Great discussion, one of the best informed and interesting speakers to date, where Ash really brought out the best. Definitely won’t be missing any future Vids with Balaji.
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      4 May 2020 @ 05:58
      Thanks, Peter. I think it would be great to have Balaji back soon, too.
  • BH
    Barry H.
    4 May 2020 @ 02:36
    Really good discussion. Please invite Balaji back regularly. I'd love to hear him in depth on cryptos.
  • AP
    4 May 2020 @ 00:12
    Balaji for President!
  • DS
    David S.
    3 May 2020 @ 08:39
    It is not just the flu. You do not need a ventilator and ICU nurses with the common flu. The problem is each one of us must choose between two possible existential outcomes. Not being able to support your families or possible ventilators and death with COVID-19. It is no wonder that opening for business is such hypersensitive question. DLS
    • CW
      C W.
      3 May 2020 @ 14:58
      Couldn't possibly agree with you more. For weeks I have been disappointed to see the media and public discussions focusing on just number of deaths and how some are using these numbers to say it's just a bad flu. Your lungs, kidneys and other organs could be permanently damaged for life even if you survive and 'recover' from the disease. Being put on a ventilator may also result in a temporary/permanent loss of mental capacity and other risks. This will surely lead to a lower quality of life, high medical bills and loss of productivity that last. On the other hand not being able to work to support your family may also lead to disastrous consequences that will be hard to recover from. No easy choice here.
  • DT
    David T.
    3 May 2020 @ 14:49
    This virus came from the Wuhan Lab and Chinese knew what they were dealing with. That is why they took drastic measures to contain it. Biulding hospitals in few days would not come to anyone unless they knew what they were dealing with. COVID19 - MADE in CHINA.
  • JF
    Jordan F.
    3 May 2020 @ 14:07
    Absolutely terrifying that uninformed people think rapid deployment of vaccines is the answer. Think of the Salk and Sabin vaccines in the 50's which were found later to be contaiminated with SV-40 simian virus from monkeys which is known to cause cancer. This is because the polio for the vaccine doses was grown on monkey kidneys which were infected. At its height 33 thousand people were dying from polio per year, but over the next three decades the incidence rate of cancer went up over 100%. Hundreds of thousands died from cancer unnecessarily. The oral polio vaccine is stilling killing and spreading polio in Africa. The best defense against Covid-19 is to maintain a healthy immune system and not inject a strain directly into your bloodstream. Where are the Dr Bernice Eddy's of our generation?
    • JF
      Jordan F.
      3 May 2020 @ 14:40
      Though we obviously give vaccines different amounts of trust, otherwise I enjoyed the interview and Balaji is clearly a very smart man.
  • SS
    Sam S.
    3 May 2020 @ 14:04
    1. CDC numbers don't add up and certainly not at the scale of sickness and death by other flu illness? 2. Bill Gates desire to test and inject the entire world---population control? Double his wealth? 3. Vaccines not under same set of laws as drugs? Can't sue manufacturers, providers, injectors? 4. Getting Covid-19 and building antibodies versus locking down, then getting the virus later and worse? 5. Dog and Pony show on every death being carried out the hospital front doors, cold storage trailers---why? 6. Biological warfare by politicians, taxation, massive government control without true data? 7. Narrative keeps changing as people use their creativity and intelligence. No masks, masks, gloves, no gloves, etc? 8. CDC, Health Departments, State, Local Guidelines are now acting as doctors demanding their guidelines as law? 9. YouTube, Google, FaceBook all blocking freedom of speech--Why? Hide the truth? What are they afraid of? 10. Bring down Trump? 11. Watched a TED Talk on bacteria that 96% of bacteria is beneficial to life. 4% is the bad bacteria. Are we killing the good bacteria with all the sanitizer, alcohol, Lysol, wipes, etc? More sickness as good bacteria is gone and can't protect us? 12. The Flu and other viruses always travel with the weather patterns in the winter time. However this Covid-19 traveling from NY to CA is the opposite of how diseases spread. Jet travel sure, but at this magnitude after longtime shutdown of travel? Cold weather in record amounts globally from the current Solar Minims, which throughout history has brought famine and sickness. Now governments talking rebuilding the economy in the new Green Deal? We need warm weather and man cannot control it whatsoever. Pollution we can fix. 13. Every death is now Covid-19. Skydiver forgot his parachute, but died of Covid-19. Covid-19 has cured all other sickness and diseases? 14, Governments have always used war to cancel debt obligations and unfunded liabilities. This will be the new debt reset? 15. CDC, WHO, Health Departments funded by private and corporate donations? Quasi-Government? 16. Kill off Baby Boomers to relieve the pressure on SS, Medicare? Excellent Interview!
  • pd
    peter d.
    3 May 2020 @ 13:26
    this was another great video. these long format videos are especially great while we are in lockdown. my 2 penny worth is we wont really know until this time next year. because by May 2021 the northern hemisphere will have done a full winter of covid 19 and flu together. I dont want to be a total misery-guts but what if a part of the world has a really bad grain harvest this year? dont think there will be a vaccine - thats just hopium.
  • TM
    Troy M.
    1 May 2020 @ 05:24
    “So what blockchains give you is kind of the next step after open source, which is open state and open execution” I work at and this is exactly what we are working on. This was an amazing interview. Thanks for the high quality content as always.
    • AW
      Aaron W.
      2 May 2020 @ 12:20
      Spam. This altcoin is down -97% from its highs and has benefited only the founders who have liquidated millions personally.
  • JM
    James M.
    2 May 2020 @ 06:00
    Excellent interview. Wonderful breadth and flow directed by Ash's usual incisive questioning. Many thanks to both of you.
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      2 May 2020 @ 08:38
      Thanks, James.
    • AW
      Aaron W.
      2 May 2020 @ 12:16
      Agree! Fantastic interview, bring this guest back.
  • SS
    Steven S.
    2 May 2020 @ 06:49
    I enjoyed the interview, but just a point of correction from what was stated: 1) the FDA shut down 23andMe because they were making medical claims from initial predictive models for diseases (e.g., you're at 30% risk for type 2 diabetes) without FDA approval and they ignored FDA letters for a prolonged period of time, and 2) there are two substantial genome-wide association studies on COVID-19 using data from biobanked samples that have been completed as of the time of this taping. Unfortunately, they haven't revealed anything strikingly significant.
    • SS
      Steven S.
      2 May 2020 @ 07:14
      Balaji's plan for reopening is an excellent, well thought-out one.
  • SS
    Steven S.
    2 May 2020 @ 06:27
    I'm glad that RV did an interview with someone with some level of background in the biological sciences area.
  • ns
    niall s.
    30 April 2020 @ 14:55
    So why isn’t Sweden falling apart ?
    • TN
      Tobias N.
      30 April 2020 @ 23:40
      Its the elephant in the room, seems intellectual dishonest to me not to talk about the situation in Sweden.
    • DB
      David B.
      2 May 2020 @ 04:14
      1. Sweden has higher deaths per capita than most countries. 2. Swedes are smart and isolate themselves. Raoul has pointed to Tom Tom data showing that in areas where shutdowns are lifted people largely continue to stay home. Polls in the US also show that is people’s intent.
  • BM
    Brent M.
    2 May 2020 @ 00:29
    Great conversation. But Balaji, whats with the Dasani water bottle? A smart guy like you should know better than to be using the single-use plastics!
  • WD
    William D.
    2 May 2020 @ 00:11
    I am curious who Balaji thinks would allow China access to their county ("boots on the ground") to create a Covid-free Green Zone Space for economic and societal enhancement ??
  • CW
    C W.
    2 May 2020 @ 00:00
    Great interview. Balaji is a brilliant out-of-the-box thinker and Ash has done a good job teasing ideas out of him and pushing back aptly. I have reservations on some of Balaji's idea, mostly on big tech and governance, but I am happy to keep them in mind/consider them. On removing price controls, I know it sounds bad to allow "price gouging", I tend to agree that allowing prices to reflect demand and supply is a better way forward over could be a multi-month disruption. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Thanks RV
  • MD
    Mike D.
    1 May 2020 @ 20:18
    Wow. What a remarkable interview, with such a remarkable individual. Thank you so much for producing this!
  • VD
    Vincent D.
    1 May 2020 @ 16:51
    What an absolutely fantastic interview Vincent D
  • DN
    D N.
    1 May 2020 @ 14:02
    Great interview, hopefully can get him back to dig more into biotech/genomics/crypto.
  • RP
    Raoul P. | Founder
    1 May 2020 @ 01:44
    Fabulous interview. Thorough enjoyed it.
    • HC
      Hahns C.
      1 May 2020 @ 13:36
      Definitely - two super smart gentleman! Thank for putting this together. Ash did a great job supporting injecting and organizing the interview.
  • HH
    Henry H.
    1 May 2020 @ 11:19
    Balaji is a very bright and intelligent person, just like the Architect in Matrix movie.
  • JC
    JAMES C.
    1 May 2020 @ 05:38
    Seems to me that, up to this point in time ..., if one were to address the obvious easy to control systemic shortcomings that have been exposed (initial response/politics, elder care, over crowding), and then remove these influences in model forecasts, I suspect the virus does not justify extended shutdown.
  • MH
    Martin H.
    1 May 2020 @ 05:38
    Maybe the crash was in play anyway and this is a distraction from the real cause of the issue. The repo market went up in smoke prior to all this sending out the signal that something was deeply wrong in the global system. In many ways it has been a convenient scape goat. We will never know for sure.
  • BG
    Borja G.
    30 April 2020 @ 20:06
    Ash is a great interviewer, I hope he gets more interviews such as this one and not only daily briefings! The host was also great
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      1 May 2020 @ 04:27
      Thanks, Borja. Greatly appreciated.
  • DS
    David S.
    30 April 2020 @ 21:14
    Fantastic interview. A million thanks to both of you. DLS
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      1 May 2020 @ 04:26
      Thanks, David. Much appreciated.
  • sk
    saner k.
    1 May 2020 @ 03:33
    this was really good, thanks guys !
  • SV
    Sam V.
    1 May 2020 @ 03:28
    This guy is absolutely brilliant. Amazing interview thanks guys.
  • CY
    Chang Y.
    1 May 2020 @ 03:19
    One of the best interviews that I heard here on RV. Amazing work.
  • YF
    Yuriy F.
    1 May 2020 @ 02:08
    Given opinions on this topic are so polarised, it would make perfect sense for RV to host a conversation between supporters and opponents of lock down as a mitigation strategy for covid pandemic. In this case, however, real experts' opinion would be much appreciated. Not just some smart dude from silicon valley reading twitter. Clearly, mass media is incapable to do it.
  • LL
    Lukee L.
    1 May 2020 @ 00:21
    No way I'm downloading the tracing app in Australia, once you give your privacy away they will take and take. How often do laws get revoked, rarely. Governments love control. yuck
  • JZ
    Juerg Z.
    1 May 2020 @ 00:12
    Great interview, many different and new ways to look at things! Food for thought.
  • HC
    Hahns C.
    1 May 2020 @ 00:09
    Suggesting that 23&me provides useful information is short sighted and dangerous. While it might seem useful to ha have genetic medical data - the use of that data by foreign actors is dangerous. The owner of 23&Me is related to the owner of Google (husband and wife). It is no coincidence the genetic lab work for 23&Me is performed by Chinese labs owned by the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP now uses the genetic data of Americans for nefarious purposes - as witnessed by a defecting Chinese Army General. Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither. I blame the Obama Administration for allowing American genetic data to be harvested by our enemy.
  • YF
    Yuriy F.
    30 April 2020 @ 07:37
    Mr. Srinivasan's narrative implies message being sent by media outlets is correct. In other words, global shutdown was justified. But empty hospitals and the most recent numbers tells the opposite story. As a matter of fact covid19 isn't more dangerous than, say, seasonal flu (unless i'm missing something). Would really like someone to either refute this statement or take a look at economic consequences attributed to pandemic as logical continuation of complicated financial situation, that was looming on the horizon long before "pandemic".
    • YF
      Yuriy F.
      30 April 2020 @ 08:36
      No offence, but useless interview. Guy just rebroadcasts mass media.
    • JC
      Jack C.
      30 April 2020 @ 10:08
      I think global case count and fatality rate shows it is a more dangerous pathogen than a regular flu. Keep in mind that these cases were registered with lockdowns in place in most countries. You make it sound as if having averted overwhelming hospital implies governments have overreacted. Whereas I would conclude that it is a sign that lockdowns have been effective in slowing its transmission.
    • YF
      Yuriy F.
      30 April 2020 @ 10:15
      We don't have much data to compare lock down vs non-lock down scenarios. There are few cases, however, that show difference between these two approaches are insignificant when it comes to mitigating epidemic consequences. Just take Norway and Sweden as an example.
    • MH
      Maans H.
      30 April 2020 @ 11:09
      What the hell are you talking about? There are statistics of how many deaths in total there are and all over Europe you are seeing a spike in comparison to normal times (the average over several years). If you have 50% more total deaths (Spain) than average that is not just like the seasonal flu. I can't get my head around how there can be people so ignorant out there that seemingly are smart enough to subscribe to real vision. I agree about the financial situation that was already looming but damn, seeing you and Stephane M comments here really makes me wonder what you are smoking. I guess you also believe the earth is flat? The death toll is actually a lot higher than officially reported.
    • KD
      Kaj D.
      30 April 2020 @ 11:23
      Norway (more stringent lockdown) is currently at 38 fatalities / million pop. Sweden 244 fatalities / million pop. Amongst the worst of any country. For comparison, Australia & New Zealand are at 4 fatalities / million pop. Too many people are looking at case fatality rates & drawing entirely the wrong conclusions. This depends on testing regimes & as all we know, they vary hugely in quality and extent. Also, many countries have no contact tracing program to speak of. Ultimately it’s fatalities that matter. This is inconvenient for many countries who are understandably desperate to open up their economies.
    • MK
      Marcus K.
      30 April 2020 @ 12:14
      We can only start to make conclusions in ~18 months since only then the possible second and third wave will be completed. So, looking backwards in 2022, a country that currently has a high fatality rate may have done a good job, and vice versa. My own doctor has advised me to take Zink, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C to have an immune system that works optimally and hence is better able to copy with the virus.
    • JP
      John P.
      30 April 2020 @ 14:15
      "As a matter of fact covid19 isn't more dangerous than, say, seasonal flu" I challenge YOU to back this statement up because I think you missed the number of deaths per week v's recent years figures. & the point is not whether the shutdown was correct, it is just irresponsible to gamble with citizens lives not to shutdown.
    • JA
      John A.
      30 April 2020 @ 16:05 This is from the NY Post today comparing the difference between Sweden and its neighbors. The Post tends to lean right, so this isn't coming from the WP/NYT media cartel. This idea that Sweden isn't dealing with the fallout from its decision is a fallacy. People expect instant results when the virus takes time to propagate. And if you don't test, you really have no idea what your decision means till the bodies start piling up.
    • BP
      Bryce P.
      30 April 2020 @ 20:14
      I agree Yuriy. Again RV if you want to intelligently discuss C19 get real PhD's, scientists and docs on. Why not go get Dr. Andrew Kaufman or Dr. Judy Mikovits on (people who actually study this stuff). Here is another alleged "smart" on here who's absolutely clueless. You put this clown on who's advocating the beast system. If I want propaganda I can tune into ABC World Lies Tonight, CBS Evening Lies, NBC Nightly Lies, FOX New Lies, MSNBS or the Communist News Network. Can't wait for the tyranny to start. In fact I'm counting down the days. Oh wait it's already here. Please stick to what you guys do well. p.s. Can't believe I actually made it to the end. Please bring him back only if you have him debate Dr. Mikovits or Dr. Kaufman REAL scientists.
    • DS
      David S.
      30 April 2020 @ 21:18
      Yurly F. - You are correct. You are missing something. I will let others explain. DLS
    • SM
      Stephane M.
      1 May 2020 @ 00:06
      I guess if we don't "think" like the government, we are not allowed to speak here Maans H. (just like on youtube). Let people who are scary to dye in their homes and give the rest of us our liberty!! It's funny how you can insult people here and your comments are not deleted... Cheers!
  • SM
    Stephane M.
    30 April 2020 @ 10:32
    Thank's Yuriy, I won't need to watch ;-) If you want another view: And on why this lockdown: Never let a good (fabricated) crisis goes to waist...
    • JS
      John S.
      30 April 2020 @ 11:43
      Never let bad spelling get in the way on a closed mind!
    • TW
      Tim W.
      30 April 2020 @ 14:12
      Well I agree with you Stephane. Obviously some very closed minds here...not sure why, shouldn't they be BTFing D?
    • SM
      Stephane M.
      30 April 2020 @ 23:57
      I'm so sorry for my english John S, I guess you would prefer if I write in french. Paix et joie dans ton coeur. Ouvre ton esprit et n'écoute pas nos bons gouvernements. AT least I'm trying...
  • JS
    Jim S.
    30 April 2020 @ 23:35
    At the end did he just describe a new Cold War between centralization vs decentralization. I honestly thought that I was watching a recap of the second Red Dawn. Liked the interview!
  • AK
    Adam K.
    30 April 2020 @ 23:22
    Dude this guy has connected so many dots its insane!
  • MS
    Michael S.
    30 April 2020 @ 23:02
    When the CCP knew? CCP Chinese Numbers? CCP choices? WHO?
  • KT
    Ken T.
    30 April 2020 @ 22:28
    This discussion was excellent. It was informative and enlightening.
  • JE
    James E.
    30 April 2020 @ 22:27
    A common sense interview on another over hyped fear that makes no sense. Calm response instead of silly forecasts of death and mayhem.
  • us
    udaiveer s.
    30 April 2020 @ 21:16
    The average person can not sway the opinions of amazon, apple, google.
  • OC
    Otto C.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:54
    How can anyone trust China when it lacks transparency?
    • ar
      andrew r.
      30 April 2020 @ 16:18
      No major point of his requires us to trust China. (For shutdown models, he repeatedly brought up New Zealand, for instance, so you don't have to trust China.)
    • DS
      David S.
      30 April 2020 @ 21:13
      I have the same level of skepticism with China as I do with Washington. DLS
  • TS
    Thomas S.
    30 April 2020 @ 20:49
    Good interview. But, I think an argument can be made that Corona cases are being over-reported in the USA. I'm no statistician, and I haven't looked at this deeply, so I could be way off, but here are two issues I found interesting: 1. Death certificate reporting has been altered. Those filling out a death certificate are told to list COVID as a cause if it was reasonably likely that it was one of the factors contributing to death. I don't know how seasonal flu was counted in previous years, but the linked article describes this as a "change" in process. There's a link in the article to the forms that actually spell out this change, e.g., always list COVID on the bottom line, presumably for ease in tallying. 2. Seasonal flu charts maintained by the CDC appear to show a statistically significant drop off in normal flu cases right about the time the pandemic began gathering steam. Compare this year to any prior year. This year, the flu begins to disappear around week 13. Look at when flu really begins to disappear in prior years -- it's always much later. There could be many explanations for this, e.g., fewer people are getting tested for "normal" flu when told to quarantine. (I would actually think more would get tested due to fear of exposure, but I'm totally guessing.) My theory: How does a doctor whose patient dies after reporting symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath distinguish between normal flu and COVID? We know there was no testing for many of these deaths early on and probably still today. But, it could lead to some statistical overcounting in the absence of tests. I'd be interested if anyone here has a more informed view. This is just 15 minutes of googling and, again, I'm no stat geek.
  • OC
    Otto C.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:44
    To say that FaceBook, Google, Amazon, Apple, etc. are trustworthy is an oxymoron
    • IZ
      Ileana Z.
      30 April 2020 @ 19:41
      Not to mention the universities running the drug approval pipeline as a "great alternative" to the FDA etc. I am ALL FOR cleaning up ,breaking up and or localizing the FDA system as they have major issues and I do not believe in big government, however the universities are way too cozy with Big Pharma. Getting away from from one corrupt system just to turn it over to another is not the answer. Don't totally agree with his medical world view as a practicing physician but he makes great points and is way smarter than me on many fronts. For solid science during this crisis I have gotten some of my best information and updates from a practicing intensivist at and anyone who wants to get solid scientific information on why this is NOT "just the flu" should watch this doctors videos on YouTube. He is on the frontlines and science based!
  • MT
    Mark T.
    30 April 2020 @ 19:40
    Great interview Ash. Being on the west coast myself and in tech, I encounter lots of folks like Balaji. They, right or wrong, believe that basically algorithms can solve all the worlds woes. Very bright people, but somewhat myopic to the human factor impact. I liked that you pushed back on his assertions that big tech can, and I'm paraphrasing, do things better than anyone else.
  • kd
    keith d.
    30 April 2020 @ 19:36
    Some solid broad thinking, but I did giggle at the end - you have to take off price controls, do not discourage price gouging and allow people to make a lot of money to make masks. What planet is he on? Stupid arguments. Awarding prizes for vaccine development is a counter argument to allowing people to make, via a free market, lots of money by producing vaccines. And mask makers should make fortunes and only a fortune would encourage them to hire people. Lol. Some fairly standard "I know what to do" responses from tech guys who believe they are superior to politicians. The point is that government needs to be well run, it has enormous societal value when it is and is a complete disaster when it is not. Which is what is unfolding here. Everywhere we turn.
  • BH
    Benji H.
    30 April 2020 @ 19:34
    Great interview.
  • MT
    Mark T.
    30 April 2020 @ 18:14
    Who is positive and who isn't is important, but isn't the demographics and medical status of those people more important in order to drive decision making?
  • MR
    Michael R.
    30 April 2020 @ 17:45
    Great interview
  • DS
    David S.
    30 April 2020 @ 16:48
    Yes. I enjoyed the conversation up until Balaji started to talk about favoring big Tech and I guess "Big Info" because they are smarter - Very Arrogant - over more layman/representative influenced systems/governments.
  • JF
    Jim F.
    30 April 2020 @ 16:37
    If you want to decentralize and go open source you do not want to hand authority from large gov't to corporations. That would be like 'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss -- The Who'. Move from large gov't to smaller gov't and all the way down to community level in layers of increasing authority.
  • WM
    William M.
    30 April 2020 @ 16:16
    Really worthwhile interview! Lots of detail that should warn us not to get too optimistic too early. Very smart, well-informed and articulate guy... the best and most important RV interview since this virus started...
  • JA
    Jonathan A.
    30 April 2020 @ 10:22
    Balaji is highly intelligent and this was a good interview on Ash's part. I wonder about the typical SV blindspots though: 1. implicit assumption that giant tech companies are trustworthy. 2. seemingly implicit trust of data from China, combined with the idea of "lockdown till zero new cases". How do we know that China has achieved anything close to zero new cases, especially in Wuhan? How can we trust any data from there? How realistic is it to impose lockdown till zero new cases in a region?
    • ar
      andrew r.
      30 April 2020 @ 16:15
      He repeatedly brought up New Zealand -- in fact, more than China.
  • OC
    Otto C.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:55
    Great interview Ash!!!
  • ar
    andrew r.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:50
    I thought he was a very impressive guest, and a great interview. Nicely done.
  • RD
    Rui D.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:31
    There was a moment where you pushed back on the Corporate turning to states and absorbing trusts of WHO and UN. My hunch is that for people who didn't like the interview, that was the obvious moment where some of my own views on government which relatives to my understanding of the market's game board were questioned. That never feels good. The same sentiment is also present when people are presented with new ways of something, like outcry to electronic trading. This is not to say that he is right. They key is that change is coming, and it's probably going to be a version where technology and its associated philosophies plays a big role. Great interview!
  • JB
    Jim B.
    30 April 2020 @ 15:25
    Really like this interviewer & Balaji. Nice job
  • PU
    Peter U.
    30 April 2020 @ 12:10
    Is it just me or am I correct in believing that the content on RV is getting less compelling?
    • JA
      Jonathan A.
      30 April 2020 @ 12:43
      I thought Balaji was a good choice, personally. I don't agree with many of his points but it's useful to see them articulated. He's a good example of SV thought and has been high profile throughout covid. He's also mainly active on twitter, so it's valuable to get him in this format.
    • JP
      John P.
      30 April 2020 @ 14:02
      For me, Balaji's vision of the future is very compelling. For example, the whole topic of Bio Walls & the emergence of technology around this area provides a potential investment framework. Macro vision!
  • BS
    Bernd S.
    30 April 2020 @ 12:01
    I really like the main argument to look at the excess mortality shown in the chart just after 21 minutes. What I haven't found though is the data sources that the FT is using. I haven't found this information in Burn-Murdoch's article where he presents that chart. I have seen such statistics before, but they were all based on Euromomo data. And, in my opinion, data from this source is better not being taken at face value. (here's a German video explaining why, after around 5-6 minutes: I'm just wondering whether Balaji has been taking into account the reliability of such data as well?
  • JS
    John S.
    30 April 2020 @ 11:42
    Very interesting discussion
  • CB
    Clifford B.
    30 April 2020 @ 11:39
    Great interview Ash. Extremely broad and well articulated discussion.
  • AM
    Alastair M.
    30 April 2020 @ 11:17
    very impressive perspective. the problem is the system (flailing inept Central Government) not the disease, or for that matter the cure...
  • JF
    John F.
    30 April 2020 @ 09:38
    Balaji Srinivasan's mind contains an informed treasure of knowledge to be savored. A refreshing tone of intelligence. My vote would be a weekly Srinivasan update on a variety of projections we are, and will be, faced with.
    • YF
      Yuriy F.
      30 April 2020 @ 09:41
      Just wondering in which way it was refreshing? Has he communicated anything new?
    • JF
      John F.
      30 April 2020 @ 11:02
      I also wanted to commend Ash Bennington for the high level of skill and acumen he displayed in shepherding the interview through a maze of possibilities while remaining focused on the extraction of substance from Balaji. A fine volley of intelligence and vision played out between both players.
  • DR
    Dave R.
    30 April 2020 @ 10:14
    Guys a genius. Don’t listen to the negativity - a good interview