This week, Amazon is running its re:MARS conference, where MARS stands for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space. It has brought out a large variety of engineers and tech experts presenting on various aspects of how technological breakthroughs in AI and robotics are now impacting and will impact our lives in the future.
People attending the event also heard quite the announcement from an unexpected guest: actor Robert Downey Jr took the stage last night to announce his Footprint Coalition, a foundation that aims to tackle the challenges of pollution and the climate crisis using technological solutions such as AI and robotics.
Some might think that Downey Jr has gone too far in his method acting and that Tony Stark has taken over, but he’s quite upfront about not understanding the complexity of the challenges ahead. He explained how the idea for this coalition came about.
“Recently, I was at a table with super smart, impressive, expert folks about six months ago, and the following statement was made: ‘between robotics and technology, we could probably clean up the planet significantly, if not entirely within a decade,” the actor told the hundreds of attendees. “Being essentially a 54-year-old child, I said, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s commit to a process, let’s form a coalition.’ And that did not inspire the reaction I expected.”
He said that people looked at him like he had “crapped in the kiddie pool” and they believed that even if the technological hurdles could be overcome, the political, social, and economic ones could not. It’s not just about investing in new tech, he noted, it’s also about convincing companies and politicians to think beyond the profit and about the long-lasting welfare of people.
“I know it’s a kumbaya type dream,” Downey Jr added. However, he believes that technology can clean the planet significantly in just a decade.
The Footprint Coalition will launch in April 2020. Downey Jr didn’t go into further detail, but if you’re interested, you can sign up to the organization newsletter on its website.
[H/T: Business Insider]