South O’ the Highway

Robert Downey Jr. (Not Tony Stark) Plans to Clean Up Earth with Robots

He talked AI, robotics, nanotechnology and more at the re:MARS conference.

Robert Downey Jr. was a long way from his East Hampton home this week, speaking at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. MARS is an acronym for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space. The conference, which took place at the ARIA Resort and Casino, focused on discussing the potential of artificial intelligence to change the business world, however, Downey, in an extremely Tony Stark move, announced that he has plans to use the technology to clean up the Earth.

Downey served as the celebrity speaker of the conference, among a week of executives and researchers from the worlds of academia, robotics and tech. According to Variety, the actor and producer spoke of artificial intelligence, the role it played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the role it can play in combating climate change. The actor’s engagement on climate change is unsurprising as he currently owns the iconic windmill house of East Hampton, whose hallmark feature is a nonfunctional but breathtaking memoriam to the renewable energy we have strayed so far from.

In his speech, Downey announced the Footprint Coalition, which he says will harness the power of AI and robotics to tackle environmental issues related to waste management and pollution. Though there is little information about the new initiative, Downey announced, “Between robotics and nanotechnology, we could clean up the planet significantly, if not totally, in 10 years.” What Downey described as his “quiet sense of crisis” on the environment is likely to continue until the April 2020 launch of Footprint Coalition, though a newsletter from the organization is available now for those who want to stay up to date on its development.

There are some who are not yet on board with the project, and certain media outlets have been critical of the website’s lack of concrete information or a mission statement. For those skeptical of the power of robots to clean up the planet, go buy a Roomba.

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