Darth Vader’s Voice Goes AI, TikTok Removes a Plethora, EU Makes It Easier to Sue AIs

It is always a pleasure when Mark Starling comes to town. We didn’t get a chance to rip and roar all over the Nation’s capital this time. No late night creeping around dark alleys off Kalorama St NW. No 1 o’clock cab ride pondering McRib’s return down M St NW. No having the wife drop me and Mark off at a street corner to leave us to our own devices.

No.

We had handlers. We were kept in check by the wife and girlfriend.

Le sigh.

Hey, He’s Looking at My Site!

But hey, it’s Thursday! Another week of hop off the fiber wires tech news with me, Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: EU makes it easier for people to sue AIs, James Earl Jones quits voicing Vader let’s AI takeover, and TikTok removes a huge swatch of video content. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

No Disintegrations

JAMES EARL JONES CALLS IT QUITS, LETS AI TAKE OVER

In a let’s poor one out for our homies moment, the iconic actor, James Earl Jones, the beloved voice of the dark lord of the Sith, Darth Vader; is hanging up his headphones. The 91-year old is stepping away from voicing Darth Vader after holding the job for over 50 years of Star Wars films, shows, and audiobooks. He’s signed off on using archival recording of his voice to train an AI to take on the role. Disney is working with a Ukrainian startup (yes, tech biz is still going in Ukraine, ask me how I know) called Respeecher. Respeecher specializes in using old voice recordings to create modern conversations. Respeecher was employed to recreate a young Luke Skywalker’s voice on the Book of Boba Fett. My wife is a rising voice over artist, and needless to say that industry is scared and confused right now.

BIG NEWS: EU MAKES IT EASIER TO SUE WHEN AIs BREAK BAD

Yesterday, the European Union reduce the burden of proof people need in order to sue technology companies after they’ve been harmed by an artificial intelligent agent or digital product. The EU’s AI Liability Directive creates a legal framework that’s fit for the digital age. Self-driving cars, drones, search engines, and voice assistants are all covered under the new directive. For years, I’ve been howling that our laws are woefully behind new technology driven forces. I’m looking at this carefully to understand the dynamics at play. I can only imagine if someone were to sue an AI company based upon a bad restaurant recommendation where the diner got food poisoning.

TIKTOK REMOVED A PLETHORA OF VIDEOS THIS YEAR

I watched the Three Amigos when I was a kid. Since hearing El Guapo use the word, plethora, I’ve been a fan of the word ever since. Yesterday, TikTok reported taking down 113 million videos from its service between April and June 2022. That is a staggeringly high number. The videos were removed because they violated TikTok’s content guidelines. 44 percent of those videos were taken down for minor safety. The real question is HOW? That is a huge amount of content. Around 48 million videos were taken down by its automated systems, and were taken down before people saw them 96 percent of the time. Man. The question is, how come other social networks aren’t this good? It’s not uncommon to be passed questionable content from Facebook. Twitter’s the wild wild west, so not so much. How much of that 113 million makes up TikTok’s content? Well, that number represents 1 percent of all the videos posted to TikTok within the last 3 months. People need better things to do.

Hey, there friends! This month’s episode of The Cloud is live on the Internet. You can listen to the cloud using Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or listen here or thecloudpodcast.net.

We feature Pamela Sharpe, the Imposter Eraser, on this month’s show. She joins us to explore the question, Is STEM the answer?

Take a listen and let us know what you think.

Google DeepMind Researchers Predict End of Humanity, Adobe Acquires Figma in Mega Deal, and Getty is Banning AI Images

I’m in LIVE and in-person with Mark today!

Click, swipe, and tap on the interwebs and listen to me, Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: Google nerds predict AI will end humanity, Adobe announces mega deal, and Getty bans AI images. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

Something I Made from Midjourney

GOOGLE NERDS SAY AI WILL END HUMANITY

This is why I work with a non-profit working to bring more equitable AI outcomes. Last week, researchers from the University of Oxford and Google DeepMind’s researcher Marcus Hutter, published a controversial paper saying that a Super Intelligent AI is likely, and…the AI will eliminate humanity. The paper was published and has been peer reviewed by AI Magazine. Since the paper and story broke last week, Google DeepMind has walked back their involvement and disavowed the paper. Google has come out against the work on the paper and is stating that they make products that are within ethical guidelines. We are adopting AI and machine learning technologies at a continuously increasing rate. We should really be careful about how and where we adopt these technologies.

ADOBE TO ACQUIRE COLLAB TOOL FIGMA IN MEGA DEAL

In weekly mega deals this week, Adobe has announced plans to acquire the online collaboration and design tool, Figma, for $20 billion. Adobe announced the purchase last week as a cash and stock deal. Figma was founded 10 years ago by the creative designers, Dylan Field and Evan Wallace. Figma was competing against Adobe products since the beginning and Adobe decided to buy the company. What’s interesting about this deal is that it’s straining Microsoft’s relationship with Adobe. Microsoft developers use Figma to design the Office suite. Microsoft has moved many Office functions to the web and Adobe is trying to muscle in on that market. We’ll see what happens next.

GETTY IMAGES BANS AI GENERATED IMAGES

Rounding the AI conversation, AI generated art and images is finding its way in more and more places. Yesterday, Getty Images says it’s banning AI generated art and images from being sold on its platform. They’re enforcing the ban because copyright issues and licensing haven’t been worked out on the platform. Ordinary peoples can create interesting and even spectacular images using Stable Diffusion, DALL-E, Midjourney. Even yours truly has generated some really interesting images. Of course human artists are upset that computers are moving in on their territory. We have to figure out a balance between using AI to improve our lives and furthering the human experience, rather than cutting us out.

Google Appeals Anti-Trust Fine, Shareholders Approve Musk’s Offer/Non-Offer, the Queen’s Last Trip

It’s been a busy week in the technoworld, and the last 24 hours have been overheating. Google loses its appeal in the EU’s anti-trust case, Twitter shareholders approve Elon Musk’s takeover bid, and the former Queen of England makes this week’s news.

Click, swipe, and tap on the interwebs and listen to me, Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: Apple watches, Apple phones, and China. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

5 Million People Logged On to Watch

EU SLAPS GOOGLE WITH RECORD ANTI-TRUST FINE

Yesterday, El Goog lost its appeal to being assessed a 4.125 billion, with a ‘B’ (that’s about $4 billion), euro fine by the EU General Court citing anti-trust activities the company took when forcing Android device manufacturers to use its Android operating system. The fine was levied in 2018. The EU accused Google of forcing Android phone manufacturers of favoring Google apps and browser instead of their own software or third-party apps. Google argues that it has created more choice for everyone and is disappointed with the court’s ruling. 4.125 billion euros sounds like a hefty sum, but is a drop in the bucket for Google.

TWITTER SHAREHOLDERS VOTE FOR MUSK DEAL LEADING TO COURT SHOWDOWN

A majority of Twitter shareholders have approved Elon Musk’s hostile takeover offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion. The approval came on Tuesday, one day after Twitter’s former security officer turned whistleblower, Peter Zatko, testified before Congress. Zatko said Twitter’s security is so lax that half the company can access user accounts. Twitter and Elon Musk are set to begin their 5-day trial on October 17th. Musk had sent Twitter a letter of termination as recently as Monday. He said, Twitter’s outgoing severance payment of $7 whole million violated the acquisition agreement.

QUEEN OF ENGLAND’S FLIGHT SETS ALL-TIME TRACKING RECORD

The Royal Air Force plane carrying the Queen of England’s coffin set a flight tracking record being the most tracked flight ever. Flightradar24 reports that almost 5 million people went online to follow the plane’s route from Edinborough to London. That number includes 4.79 million online and another 296 thousand people watching on YouTube. The previous record was held by Nancy Pelosi’s for her visit to Taiwan. 2.9 million tuned in to watch her fly.

Thanks for reading this week’s Top Tech News. We’re mixing down the latest episode of The Cloud. We’re dissecting STEM education and exploring its impact on today’s students. The episode will be dropping soon, so subscribe at thecloudpodcast.net.

Apple Goes Big on the Watch, US Bans Big Tech from Building in China

I didn’t become an Apple fanboy until I began programming for the platform. Apple has a knack for crafting beautiful products while making things that just…work. The internals are just as beautifully designed as the externals, and this week’s Apple event won’t disappoint fans.

Cruise on down to your local Internet and plug in to listen to me, Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: Apple watches, Apple phones, and China. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

Oooooo, It’s So Pretty

Today’s Top Tech News is a distillation of yesterday’s biggest news. Apple went big on the Watch at yesterday’s event while reserving some time for the iPhone 14. Anncouncements for a new SE model at a $30 less price point, new applications, and new Apple Watch Ultra.

APPLE PUSHES IN PREMIUM WATCH TERRITORY WITH ULTRA

Apple introduces the Apple Watch Ultra. The Ultra has a more rugged case design featuring titanium and sports a sapphire crystal which is normally used for higher end, diving watches. The device also features a new Action button which can be tied to a special feature like compass tracking, workouts, backtracking, or way-finding. The screen is larger at 49mm and brighter at 2,000 nits. All Ultra watches come with cellular capability and can last a whopping 36 hours on a single charge. Apple says the watch will have enough charge for athletes to complete a triathlon, 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a full 26.2 mile marathon. For real, for real. I love my Apple Watch even though I wear a chronometer. At $799 it’s a bit pricey for an electronic watch, but I can’t see I don’t want one.

Apple has also announced a new SE model that clocks in at $249 a $30 reduction which is great during these inflationary times. The SE is 20% faster and can be paired with a parent’s iPhone for those who have children.

The new Apple Watch Series 8 features a temperature sensor, and an improved period and ovulation tracking app. The new app gains more accuracy from using the new temperature sensors on the device. This works because the body’s temperature changes throughout the menstrual cycle. Additionally, the new software tracks abnormal changes in a woman’s cycle which could be a signal for fibroids or polycystic ovary syndrome.

APPLE ANNOUNCES NEW 14 LINEUP

Not Quite Notchless

Yesterday also saw upgrades to the iPhone. Apple announced the iPhone 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Max. The iPhone 14 looks a lot like the iPhone 12 with a notch. The notch houses the front facing camera and sensors used for facial unlock. The iPhone 14 Pro will come with 6.1 and 6.7 inch screens and has replaced the notch with a pill design that exposes the front facing camera and facial unlock sensors. The proximity sensor has moved behind the display itself now, and Apple has purposed screen real estate beside the pill for notifications and small alerts. iPhone 14 Pro and Max will also feature always on screens with a dimming mode during low battery.

The iPhone 14 will NOT ship with Apple’s latest and faster mobile processor. The iPhone 14 Pro and Max will get Apple’s A16 chip. The chip shortage has been cited as a factor.

Oh. The camera bulge is still there.

Pre order starts on the 9th. Available on September 16th. $999 for the Pro, $1,099 for the Pro Max.

CAN’T BUILD BIG TECH IN CHINA USING US MONEY

If there was ever a policy I was for and against at the same time, it’s this one. It’s a bit of a head scratcher. The US is banning big tech firms from building factories in China if they’ve received US government money. The legislation is part of the newly forged CHIP Act used for reinvigorating stateside innovation and lowering reliance on China. The US and China are locked in a fight for the future when it comes to technology. The two countries are competing for the top spots in Quantum and Super computing, most smart devices are built in China, and most silicon (chips) are manufactured in China. In a very real sense, US technology companies helped Chinese technology infrastructure by virtue of being there. The Chinese government has been a long proponent of IP theft and seldom holds up claims when Chinese companies steal a US technology. Many US companies hold their design shops over here and use China to make cheap stuff. The Chip Act was designed to bring a lot of that back to the United States by encouraging new semiconductor manufacturing (not just design) in the US. Why am I hesitant? For a number of reasons. We’re an expensive economy. There’s a reason why Big Tech companies reap huge profits. It’s cheap as Hell to make iPhones in China. Also, semiconductor manufacturing is a very harmful process to the environment. The waters in Chinese territory located near these factories are nasty. Purple clams and oysters are a known thing over there.

Stay Tuned!

The Cloud Podcast’s next episode will be on STEM education. We’re going to explore the latest trend in pushing STEM on students and if that’s a good long term strategy. Subscribe and listen in.

Scientist Grow First Replicant, Big Tech Industry Gains, Drone Boy the Tank Killer

When I was 15 I was starting to get into girls, and dreamed of driving when I got in those 8 months. I have a story that will make you wonder about your own teenage years. Click on your local Internet an listen to me,  Mark Starling, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s hot and fresh tech news: a Ukrainian teen becomes a war hero, Big Tech brings big economics to the US, and scientists create their first replicant. You can listen to me and Mark Starling point and laugh at all things tech every Thursday at 643 am ET live on the radio or the iHeartRadio app.

I Don’t Have Much to Say

CAMBRIDGE SCIENTISTS GROW BRAIN AND BEATING HEART

More akin to replicants than hosts, University of Cambridge scientists have grown a brain and a beating heartbeat without using eggs or sperm. The scientists used mouse stem cells for the experiment. Stem cells are nature’s master cells, and are capable of becoming any other cell. The scientistists, led by Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, figured out how to make the stem cells talk to each other to grow a brain, and got them to grow a heart in an embryo featuring a mouse yolk sac. I’m fascinated and alarmed at the same time. As a scientist, I’m always curious about how things work, as futurist I’m an optimist and always looking into the future. But, I believe there are some things that should remain mysteries.

BIG TECH BRINGS BIG JOBS STATESIDE

I normally don’t get into economic news, but there’s some really positive news coming to our shores. Honda, LG, and the auto companies have announced plans to build new battery factories in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Indiana. The news is huge because it demonstrates the automakers are making a big bet on electric vehicles. Micron, Qualcomm, and Intel announced plans to invest over $140 billion in chip manufacturing plants in Ohio, New York, an of course Silicon Valley. Corning, that Corning, is building a new factory in Arizona to manufacture fiber optic cable. The news is actually big news as the CHIP Act is starting to kick in to bring microprocessor manufacturing back to the US. There hasn’t ben this much unified technology investment since the big fiber rollout in the early 2000s.

KID USES DRONE IN FIGHT AGAINST RUSSIANS

Last week, Andrii Pokrasa, aka ‘Drone Boy’, became a Ukrainian hero. Pokrasa and his father sent the Ukrainian military coordinates of Russian forces during the first days of the war. Pokrasa posted a notice of him having a drone and knowing how to use it in their village group. A man from the Ukrainian civil defense force responded, and put him to work monitoring Russian forces in Makariv, a suburb of Kyiv. He spotted tanks, troop carriers, and armored vehicles. Marked the drone’s location on a map and sent the coordinates to his contact in Ukrainian security. The Ukrainians wiped out the armored column based on his information. I know what I was doing when I was 15. This wasn’t it.

Don’t forget to click over to the right and subscribe to the Top Tech News of the week. If you prefer listening to a deep dive on future technologies, check out our new podcast, The Cloud. This month’s listen explores STEM topics. Be sure to catch up on past episodes.

Have a great, safe, and Happy Labor Day weekend!