(TMU) — In an inspirational case of life imitating art, Robert Downey Jr. is hoping to solve earth’s most profound crisis in a manner truly befitting Tony Stark’s Iron Man—by using artificial intelligence (AI) to fight back against climate change.
On Tuesday, the acclaimed actor made an appearance at the Amazon Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas to announce the start of an organization that would rely on robotics and advanced nanotechnology to clean the planet and push back against worsening ecological conditions.
While short on details about how the organization plans to tackle the crisis, the new group dubbed Footprint Coalition already has a website, where visitors are thanked for showing “care for Mother Earth” and are encouraged to sign up for future updates and newsletters.
The group is set to begin its work by April 2020. In the meantime, Downey hopes to collaborate with a roundtable of U.N. experts.
Downey, who admitted that he is a “one-man carbon footprint nightmare colossus,” explained that he was spurred to action after feeling “this quiet sense of crisis,” according to Digital Trends.
The actor hopes this new initiative can leverage nanotechnology, which allows scientists to work at the level of controlling individual atoms and molecules, to make hugely ambitious strides toward the goal of a clean planet. Downey said:
“Between robotics and technology, we could probably clean up the planet significantly, if not entirely, within a decade.”
Downey himself is one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, with an estimated net worth of about $81 million, according to Forbes.
The actor joked that his time spent working on The Marvel Universe series of films has left him with a keener understanding of the potential of modern technology. Downey explained:
“Being essentially a 54-year-old child. I said, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s commit to a process, let’s form a coalition.
For the last 11 years or so I’ve been steeped in the actual history of Artificial Intelligence and space stuff as it happened and is happening in reality.”
The Amazon Re:MARS conference showcases “Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space,” and features a variety of speakers who present their analysis on what they see as the major benefits and innovations that can be brought about through the use of AI.
Climate change is resulting in increasingly bleak forecasts about the future we face, with a report last month published by an Australian climate group warning that it is an “existential threat” capable of displacing over 1 billion people if current conditions continue.
From deforestation to carbon dioxide emissions and from oil spills to plastic waste in our oceans, the world is faced with huge challenges in saving our environment, not only for future human generations, but for all species residing here. If advanced robotics can make even a small difference, let alone turn the tide in favor of our fragile and deteriorating ecology, then we say it deserves a shot.