Robert Downey Junior Announces Plans to Clean up the Planet with AI

Downey will launch the Footprint Coalition next year which hopes to use nanotechnology to clean up planet Earth.
Jessica Miley

Hollywood actor, Robert Downey Junior, wants to take his Avengers character, billionaire Tony Stark off the big screen and into the real world. The successful actor has announced plans he is launching an initiative that will use AI and robots to clean up the planet.

Downey Junior spoke at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, telling an enthralled audience that he had it on good authority that there were methods involving robotics and nanotechnology that could clean up the planet within a decade.

Downey to commit funds for 11 years

Downey will fund the formation of the ‘Footprint Coalition’ that should kick off with an official launch next April. The Avengers star says he has a financial commitment to the coalition for the next 11 years.

There are few details available as to what exactly the coalition will do. A landing page on the coalition's website thanks visitors for their concern about Mother Earth and asks them to share their email to stay in touch.

Downey also announced that his wife, producer Susan Downey, and him are making a new docu-series about Artificial Intelligence (AI). The pair have a licensing agreement with YouTube, and it will release the 8-part series on their subscription streaming service YouTube Red.

Deep dive into AI

Each hour-long episode is expected to tackle a different angle of the impact of AI on our lives. The show will be hosted and voiced by Robert Downey and will feature experts from a range of fields including science, philosophy, technology, engineering, medicine, futurism, and entertainment.


While AI is featured heavily in many Hollywood films, especially ones starring the 54-year old actor, there have been very few documentaries made on the subject.

"We are excited to be in business with the smart creative minds behind this innovative new series," said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube. "There is so much to discover, and this series will take us on a fascinating journey as we explore the exciting developments in the world of AI and glimpse into the future."

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Sandra Downey shared her excitement for the project with Forbes: "Robert and I share a curiosity for AI, a complicated and often polarizing subject. Our aim is to explore AI through a lens of objectivity and accessibility, in a thoroughly bold, splashy, and entertaining way."

While artificial intelligence is already embedded into our daily lives, many of us don’t understand its full potential, limits or ethical concerns. The way AI touches our lives is quite mysterious for us, but its applications are often mundane. For example, if you use smartphone software that uses machine learning, it is helping you organize photo albums.

But AI is also seen as a threat to many jobs where ‘robots’ can take over. Hopefully, the documentary will provide broad insights into the development and future of AI without scaremongering or spreading hyperbole.

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