Robert Downey Jr. is taking a cue from his on-screen character, Iron Man, the wealthy inventor-genius who uses high-tech solutions to save the planet.
The actor announced the Footprint Coalition, a new organization that will use technology to address environmental issues, during the keynote speech at the re:MARS conference organized by Amazon in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday.
The conference, attended by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, AI designers, acclaimed scientists, astronauts, and others, focused on developments in machine learning, robotics, and space — topics befitting Iron Man himself.
Though Downey revealed little detail about the new organization, expected to launch in April 2020, he did say the idea was inspired by a recent conversation with experts.
"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,'" Downey said.
So he’s decided to make it happen.
"I've got to do something. I'm unemployed," Downey joked, referring to culmination of the long-running Avengers film series with Avengers: Endgame.
Technology is increasingly being used to help address climate change and protect the environment.
More businesses are investing in sustainable technology and researching new ways to use technology to curb climate change and other environmental concerns. Over the last decade, huge strides have been made toward using data and technology tools to reduce harm to the environment and finding sustainable energy sources.
Even artificial intelligence can be used to help the planet. A recent study by the World Economic Forum and corporate giant PricewaterhouseCoopers highlights 80 ways artificial intelligence can help solve environmental crises by aiding smarter agriculture practices, optimizing energy grids, controlling pollution, and mapping coral reefs.
Downey admitted that the Footprint Coalition will likely face some challenges, including government and bureaucratic hurdles, but he said he remains committed to achieving his goals.
“In 11 years, when I’m 65, if we make a noble dent in what I consider is a massive threat to our future, the mess we leave behind … I’m going to come back, and I’m going to throw the nuttiest retirement party you’ve ever seen, and all of you are invited,” he said.