As part of the opening keynote for Amazon’s Re: Mars conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening, actor Robert Downey, announced the launch of a new organisation that is committed to using advanced technologies for the good of the environment. The organisation, which he is part of, aims to used advanced tech to help clean up the planet and return it to its former glory.
Downey Jr. referred to the group as The Footprint Coalition, and it is scheduled to officially launch by April of 2020. During the speech he stated that experts have estimated a significant, or possibly even total clean-up of the planet in the next ten years. All of this could be achieved by using both robotics and more advanced nanotechnology.
This surprise announcement was part of a 20+ minute freewheeling talk about artificial intelligence, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Downey Jr.’s own career and the evolution of his Tony Stark character, from the Iron Man films, along with several other Marvel superhero films.
While he announced the group, the name, and what its plans are, Downey Jr. didn’t actually offer any significant details about how they were going to achieve those goals. What he did say though, was that any progress was good, even making a small dent could be the most important thing he had ever done. After he left the stage, a website for the new group went live. It’s still in its early stages though and currently features little more than a newsletter sign-up form.
According to Downey Jr., AI is a significant technological advancement that gave him hope. He also admitted that he found himself extremely alarmed over the state of the environment and was in a quiet sense of concern. In addition to this, he also bravely admitted that he had contributed more than others to the climate crisis. His exact words were: “I’m a one-man carbon footprint nightmare colossus”.
For those who don’t know Downey Jr. very well, he is no strange to AI and tech, not just with his Tony Stark character. Along with his wife, Susan Downey, Downey Jr. has also been producing a docu-series about AI for YouTube. The eight-episode, hour-long series was first announced about a year ago and is meant to explore AI and the different impacts and effects it will have on the lives of humans. It does seem like an interesting watch, that’s for sure.
The actor, who referred to himself as a 54-year-old child, said that it was more of a spur of the decision moment. He said: Let’s do it! Let’s commit to a process, let’s form a coalition. That statement reportedly did not receive the expected reaction – there was apparently nothing but dead silence.
As the planet becomes more and more damaged, it’s necessary for more people to step in and try and help. For many, Downey Jr. is a familiar, popular, and rather warming face. Hopefully he will be able to bring some order back to the world and with the tech, help clean it up a bit. It definitely needs some TLC. Could Iron Man be the one to finally save the planet?