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‘Iron Man’ actor Robert Downey Jr. vows to clean up the Earth using robotics and AI

Robert Downey Jr. was a keynote speaker at Amazon's re:MARS conference (Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics and Space) in Las Vegas, Nevada this past June 4th 2019.

His talk was everything you’d expect from Tony Stark, erm, we mean Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ). However he wasn’t just there to entertain the crowd with marvelous stories.

At the end of his talk, he announced that he was launching a new initiative called the Footprint Coalition, which has a goal to use (what else but) robotics, artificial intelligence, and technology to clean up the Earth and reverse its carbon footprint... in a decade. His goal is to have the coalition off the ground in April 2020.

This idea came about six months ago, after RDJ was sitting around a table with “super smart, impressive, expert folks.” He told the conference crowd that, around this table, the following statement was made, “Between robotics and technology, we could probably clean up the planet significantly, if not entirely within a decade.” A statement worth a round of applause, no doubt.

And “being essentially a 54-year-old child,” RDJ said, referring to himself, he replied to that statement saying, “Let's do it! Let's commit to a process, let's form a coalition.”

But those super smart, impressive, expert folks who thought technology could do it all, also thought that overcoming bureaucracy, sharing intellectual property, intergovernmental cooperation would be too impossible to actually make it happen.

But what’s all that to Robert Downey Jr.? The answer is nothing, because he’s still going to try.

"I know it's a kumbaya type dream. It's a logistical clusterf*ck," he said. "I'm down with dedicating myself to maybe one small part of making good on that statement, even in abject failure, it's still the best idea I've ever had."