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.


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


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.


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.


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.

Crypto: Is It the Future of Money?

It seems like everyone is trading cryptocurrencies these days. Everyone from Elon Musk to your grandmother are praising the benefits of cryptocurrencies but what are people really trading? 60% of Americans own cryptocurrencies in exchange for their hard earned cash. We’re joined by Cleve Mesidor, Director of the National Policy Network for Women of Color in Blockchain and explore whether or not cryptocurrencies are hype, or if they’re the future of money.

On this month’s episode of The Cloud, we dissect and explore the world of crypto.

Cleve drops some serious knowledge about cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the unsexiness of blockchain. She also shares details about her communications to the Senate Banking Committee.

Is crypto hype, or is it the future of money. Listen to find out.

AI and People of Color

Happy Friday!

This month’s episode of The Cloud features Dr. Kofi Nyarko, Director of Morgan State University’s Center for Equitable AI and Machine Learning Systems, and Gabriella Waters, CEO of Progressive Heuristics.

We break down artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies and explore the technology’s impact on people of color. We also talk about Google’s LamDA project and how today’s AI tech is definitely not SkyNet.

You can listen to this month’s episode now, on your local podcast station.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday!

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated: The 2021 Annual Holiday Gift Guide

I’ve been busy. Trying to get a comic out and a book. I’ve started this year’s annual gift guide and a few cool items are up. It’s Thursday, and I’m back in the chair with Mark Starling, Seth, John, and the First News 570 crew. This week’s top tech stories: un-real estate sells for millions, and the Gift Guide. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern by tuning into WWNC on the iHeartRadio app.

Looks Even More Gaudy Than the Strip


That’s right. A patch, I don’t even know if you can call it a patch if it’s not attached to terra firma has sold for a record $2.4 million in crypto currency. The plot (can it be called a plot) of virtual land was purchased by Tokens.com in the Decentraland meta verse. People can visit property, chat, and walk around the decentralized world. Players can build houses, apartments, or plant trees on their virtual real estate to their heart’s content. You’ll have to purchase property in MANA cryptocurrency in order to play. So what do you do with virtual real estate? Anything you want. Remember though, virtual real estate DOES NOT fall under property law, it falls under intellectual property law. Virtual real estate is not a new idea, Second Life and other online meta verses have existed. VRE picked up lots of interest after Facebook changed its name to Meta however.


Yesterday, Qualcomm announced a new, always-on camera for Android phones. Qualcomm is pitching the new camera’s main feature to be used for automatic, facial unlock without picking up the phone to your face. Qualcomm says the feature can be used to automatically unlock a device while you’re laying down or not holding a phone. In reality, this tech could exploit user privacy since it is always recording images. Even when the phone is not in use. These images could be your face, your bathroom, or anything else that’s not explicitly your face. The tech isn’t particularly good or bad, but there is a possibility for it being exploited.


We’re premiering this year’s Gift Guide on First News 570.

This year we are featuring two intangible gifts.

This Is Actual Art

NFT art and virtual real estate are featured on this year’s gift guide. NFTs are the new craze celebrities and others have hopped on to buy limited edition or one of a kind digital items. NFT art can be pictures or music that is digitally certified to be one of a kind. Virtual real estate is exactly what it sounds like. VRE could be digital plots of land in a ‘meta verse’ or online community or simulation. The idea isn’t new, but when combined with blockchain and NFTs the hip crowd hops on it.

App Powered Shoes, Yeah!

Auto-lacing sneakers like the Nike Adapt Auto Max made this year’s list. Think Back to the Future 2 paired with an app. These shoes will lace themselves via a BlueTooth connection with your phone and provide you with a custom fit.

Other gifts on the gift guide include a smart canvas to showcase your NFT art, a cocktail bar that never mixes a bad drink, and many other awesome items.

You can check out the whole list and find more gifts on my Pinterest page here.

MIT Builds COVID Detection AI, Apps Spend Big and Win Big in Cali, and Chinese Regulators Squash an Ant

It’s a couple of days after Election Day, and the US electorate is still hanging in the balance. A plethora of memes have been floating around the Internet as the country awaits the outcome. Including one comparing the American public waiting for a definitive result to someone waiting for the results of an STD test.

Regardless of what happens, it’s Thursday. You’d have already gotten your fill of election coverage, so I’ve avoided covering the technological news relating to the election. Here’s another week of tech talk with Mark Starling and the First News 570 crew.

This week, MIT builds COVID cough listening AI, apps win big in California’s local election, and Chinese banking regulators squash an Ant. You can listen to Mark and I point and laugh while talking about the wild and crazy technology world every Thursday morning, LIVE at 6:43am Eastern.


An algorithm published by MIT uses AI to listen to a person coughing and determine if they are infected by COVID-19. One of the researchers who devised the innovation, Brian Subirana said that the way people produce sound through their mouth changes when you have Covid, even if they’re asymptomatic. The MIT team used over 70,000 audio sounds with 2,500 of those sounds coming from people who were infected by the virus. This type of technology could be used for pre-screening people at work or at school.


Also on California’s ballot was Proposition 22. Prop 22 is a law that permanently classifies gig economy workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, as independent contractors and NOT employees. This means tech companies aren’t required to pay regulated income taxes and fees like workers compensation. The law does require tech companies to provide some benefits like minimum hourly earnings, however. Up until this week’s election, the outcome for Prop 22 was uncertain, but Uber and Lyft spent a combined $200 million in advertising and updated their apps to prompt their customers to support the law. Labor unions were only able to raise a tenth of Uber and Lyft’s spend and it shows. Prop 22 is now law.


Yesterday, Chinese financial regulators stopped the double listing of the Alibaba Group’s financial technology Services company, Ant Group, from IPO-ing on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The IPO would have been valued at a WHOPPING $37.1 billion, with a ‘B’, making it the world’s largest ever IPO. The company specialized in delivering payments and was heavily used in Chinese markets. Regulators pulled the company in, because traditional banks were leveraging Ant Group’s apps to underwrite traditional loans. They also wanted to have a chat with CEO Jack Ma for calling out Chinese banking regulators as being behind in the times and trying to squeeze Ant Group in as a tech company and not a bank. We’ll see.