• Google expands its data collection reach…
  • AI is helping actors live forever…
  • Semiconductor manufacturing in New York?

Dear Reader,

I have to wonder when “they” will stop saying that inflation is transitory?

This morning brought us some not-so-transitory inflation data with the release of the core consumer price index (CPI). And the numbers weren’t good.

Core CPI has now risen to a 40-year high… That’s not something to be proud of. 

Prices excluding our most important necessities like food and energy were up 6.6% year over year, and up an additional 0.6% from last month. Again, not good. And of course, we all know that the inflation regarding food and energy is rising again and already at unsustainable levels.

What a nightmare. Economic policy, fiscal policy, and monetary policy all must change – preferably quickly; otherwise there will be more pain to come.

This stupidity is simply too much… And I think we’ve all had enough of it. 

But what the heck are “they” all doing? It sure looks like they’re running around with their hair on fire and don’t actually know what to do at all. Which brings me to something that made me laugh today… and I hope gives you a chuckle as well.

This is Elon Musk’s latest creation:

Burnt Hair Perfume

Source: The Boring Company

Believe it or not, Burnt Hair is a perfume available today on The Boring Company’s website for $100 a bottle. And it will start shipping next quarter. 

I’m not making this up. Musk has already sold more than 20,000 bottles of Burnt Hair, generating more than $2 million in revenue for the private company.

This isn’t the first time Musk has sold a quirky product.

First it was the Tesla Tequila – bottles of which now sell in the aftermarket for well over $1,000. And who could forget The Boring Company flamethrower? Who needs a grill when you have a flamethrower to cook with in your backyard?

But perfume? And with a tag line like: “Just like leaning over a candle at the dinner table, but without all the hard work.” That takes the cake.

Maybe this is all part of Musk’s quirky magic. SpaceX is now the most valuable aerospace company in history. Starlink is the most successful satellite-based internet service ever. And Tesla’s not only the most successful electric vehicle company in the world… it’s also the most successful publicly traded artificial intelligence company on the planet.

Soon, Tesla may very well become the most important robotics company. If anyone can make The Jetsons a reality, it’s probably Musk.

The Boring Company itself has turned the tunnel-digging business on its head. It can do this in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost compared to any other boring technology used in the past. Musk literally moves dirt better than the best in the business.

And now The Boring Company has added perfume to its consumer product lineup of flamethrowers.

One almost has to wonder if the perfume idea came about from a mishap involving a flamethrower: “Oops… Sorry about that. Oh, what’s that smell? It smells really good. What should we call it?”

Google’s underhanded health care ambitions are becoming clear…

Longtime readers may remember Google’s life sciences spinout called Verily. We talked about this company back in March 2020.

Verily just raised $1 billion in a recent funding round. And sure enough, Google was the lead investor.

This seems counterintuitive. Google makes nearly all its money from advertising revenues. Why is it investing so heavily in biotech and health care technology?

Well, the picture is becoming clearer. This $1 billion raise will fuel Google’s aspirations for elevated data collection in the health care industry.

In fact, Verily is now hiring ex-public health officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The startup has brought in several top people from the FDA. And no doubt it’s paying them very well.

These are former regulators who know their way around the system. And their job is to “grease the wheels” to help Verily gain access to patients’ medical records – with or without their consent. They do this by working out deals with hospitals and health care organizations.

Obviously, this should make us all suspicious.

We’ve seen how Google manipulated search results to push a political narrative during the COVID-19 pandemic. It actively worked to present information around COVID-19 and the mRNA shots that we now know to be either completely false or misleading. And Google suppressed any information suggesting there were risks or side effects to the experimental injections, something that we now know is common.

Now Google is pouring $1 billion into its life sciences spinout to get former FDA employees on its payroll. And their job is to enhance Verily’s data collection ability.

Of course, Verily says that it will use this data to improve the clinical trial and drug development process. And that all health care data will be anonymized. But can we trust this company?

I certainly do not.

Like Google, Verily’s business is built around collecting and selling access to data. Companies working within the biotech industry are a prime target. Insurers could be as well.

What if Verily could identify pre-existing conditions in patients – perhaps conditions the patients themselves didn’t even know about – and sell that data to insurance companies?

Suddenly, those patients would be locked out of affordable insurance coverage. And they may not even know why.

And then if we think about all the economic and personal data Google has on everyone… if it could combine that with our sensitive medical data, then suddenly it has a comprehensive picture. And it may be able to use this picture to influence consumers’ health care decisions.

So I think this is something we need to be very wary of. Should we trust Google or other Big Tech companies with our health records?

To me, the answer is clear.

Darth Vader will live forever thanks to AI…

I’m sure many readers will recognize the name James Earl Jones. He’s the actor who’s been the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars films for nearly 50 years now.

Finally, at the ripe age of 91, Jones decided to retire. He’s calling it quits. But his voice will live on…

Jones just signed a contract to allow his voice to be used for Darth Vader in any future Star Wars films. This is pretty neat.

Of course, this is all made possible by artificial intelligence (AI).

The AI will ingest all of Jones’ past voice recordings as Darth Vader. Then it will synthesize these recordings to replicate Jones’ voice for any future films or shows.

So Darth Vader will always sound like the voice of Jones in the future. And in return, Jones will receive royalties into perpetuity. And when he passes, those royalties will continue to flow to his estate and his heirs.

This is a great application of AI. I believe this is just the start of many similar deals to follow.

And it won’t just be voice actors. We’ll see similar deals around the likeness of individuals.

Actors, actresses, and really any public figure will be able to license their voice and their likeness for future use. This will become part of their estate planning process.

Voices can be reproduced with remarkable accuracy. And the individual could even be recreated using computer graphics in a film, or in the form of an avatar in a metaverse.

This makes perfect sense. Famous people will be able to create a legacy that lives on long after they’re gone. They’ll be able to decide how their voice and likeness can be used in the future. And their heirs will benefit from all their hard work through royalty payments.

Given how quickly AI has been advancing, we should expect to see a flurry of deals like this one announced over the next couple of years. I’d even bet that investors will be able to gain access to this new kind of asset class, much in the way that they do when they purchase the rights to music or film.

New York is becoming a global semiconductor hub…

Micron Technology just committed to invest as much as $100 billion to build large semiconductor factories in upstate New York. This matches Intel’s big move to build a $100 billion semiconductor campus just outside of Columbus, Ohio.

So this is a huge deal. I couldn’t be happier to see it happening.

As a reminder, Micron is the only U.S.-based pure memory manufacturer in the industry. It produces advanced semiconductors for memory. These are chips used in virtually every electronic device today.

With this move, Micron is taking advantage of about $5.5 billion worth of tax incentives from the state of New York. And the company will receive an undetermined amount from the CHIPS Act as well. That’s the $52.7 billion bill promoting semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.

And get this: Micron expects its operations in New York to create about 50,000 new jobs. That’s incredible.

This is the perfect example of The Great Recalibration at work. We’re seeing a major reshoring of manufacturing in the U.S. Especially high-tech semiconductor manufacturing. I love it.

But there’s another interesting trend at work here…

Suddenly, we’re seeing the U.S. tech world move away from Silicon Valley and move east. It’s coming full circle.

Decades ago, before the rise of Silicon Valley, IBM had a major semiconductor manufacturing operation in New York. There was a long history there.

So I’m excited to see this move from Micron. And it’s absolutely a trend.

If we think of the major tech hubs in the U.S. today, several companies are building out operations in Arizona. Several more are setting up shop in Texas. We have Intel building in Ohio. And now Micron, Global Foundries, and Akoustis are developing factories in New York.

The center of gravity is shifting away from Silicon Valley. This is clearly a good thing for the economy, jobs, and ultimately consumers. And at a national level, this is clearly a beneficial improvement in the stability and security of supply chains.

Success stories like this tend to build upon one another.

Once the ball gets rolling, it’s a trend that will unfold over the next 10 to 15 years. It will completely transform global manufacturing, shifting from a centralized manufacturing base in key markets in Asia to a distributed and decentralized manufacturing architecture designed to be close to end markets.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge