A real flying Iron Man isn’t going to show up any time soon. Even if he did, he’s hardly in a position to tell everyone else to make the world a better place, and few would likely listen. So, the real world Robert Downey Junior is talking up his new initiative to use technology and AI to help improve the world via his Footprint Coalition.
While the Footprint Coalition might not have the ring of The Avengers Initiative, it plans to have plenty of problem-solving power behind it next year when it launches officially. Robert Downey Junior was talking about at an Amazon Re:Mars future-navel-gazing event keynoted by the actor and in-part hosted by Amazon Alexa as a guide to the AI future.
The actor is already producing a series about AI for YouTube, and this new chapter in his post-Tony Stark mission seems to tally with his interest in technology to help people solve problems.
The Re:Mars conference, organised by Amazon founder and rocketship lover Jeff Bezos is focused on the benefits the world can gain from artificial intelligence and machine learning. Many of Amazon’s AI leaders are at the show to explain how the tech helps their business.
Attendees at the $1,999 per ticket event (free if you’re an actual astronaut) are encouraged to network with others, learn AI best practices and hear from tech’s leading lights including deeplearning.ai founder Andrew Ng and Colin Angle of iRobot. Those along with big names like RDJ, Matt Damon and others will help grab headlines. And if others get on board, perhaps they will help nudge the Washington fence-sitters and those driving the back-to-coal-and-big-oil fringe back out of the spotlight.
Tracks at the event including a focus on machine learning, robotics, automation and how they can contribute to space exploration. They should help encourage business leaders and others who want to learn AI trends and enable their businesses to improve the customer experience and drive efficiency.
The show floor was full of assistant robots from the likes of Boston Dynamics that can open doors for people, pick up and transport objects and perform other tasks. They’re the easy highlights of the show, demonstrating the difficulty in making AI and ML look sexy, but if they are used in major real-world problem solving, that are in turn promoted by big names, perhaps there’s a brighter hope for humanity.
There isn’t much know about the Footprint Coalition, but DRJ and his cohort have a little under a year to get things sorted for the planned April 2020 launch. The site only has a vanilla form for people to sign up for more information. His quote doing the rounds of “Between robotics and nanotechnology, we could clean up the planet significantly, if not totally, in 10 years,” maybe massively optimistic, but if the will is there and people get behind projects that traditional enterprises consider unprofitable, there is always hope.
The AI YouTube show, for the company’s subscription Red Channel, was announced last year and is still in production, guess the guy has been busy recently! When announced, Mrs Downey, who will produce the show, said “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.”
All of which should help get the technology behind chatbots and AI further into the public gaze. Driving acceptance and interest will help adoption, and inventors and innovators will look at using them in new ways to help drive a greener, cleaner, more positive agenda forward to help move beyond the current state of hostile politics.