It’s arguable that YouTube couldn’t have cast a better person to host its newest artificial intelligence (AI) docuseries than Robert Downey Jr. Thanks to his role as Iron Man, Downey Jr. is practically looked on as a tech genius in real life.
While he does host the new YouTube Originals series, “The Age of A.I.,” the show focuses on some of the true innovators behind the world’s fastest-growing technology. In an attempt to demystify what may be one of the most confusing topics in tech today, the docuseries does a great job of presenting AI in an informative, engaging light.
Jarvis, Tell Me About AI
During his time as Iron Man, Downey Jr. is famous for interacting with his AI-powered virtual assistant Jarvis. Little did he know, he was actually training for a role as a YouTube documentary host.
The eight-part series consists of episodes that are about a half-hour to 45 minutes each. Episode one focuses on a question that many people often posit about the potential of AI—“How far is too far?”
Downey Jr. sits down with Soul Machines CEO Mark Sagar to help answer that question. Sagar was influential in helping develop facial animation CGI for movies like “Avatar.” He also worked with singer and futurist will.i.am to create an AI-animated avatar of the rapper.
However, it is Downey Jr.’s engaging tone and lovable presence that hooks viewers from the opening moments. In the first episode, he reveals that he, despite playing a role nearly synonymous with AI for more than a decade, doesn’t know that much about it. He says, “My sense of it [AI] is that it kinda feels like Pandora’s Box, maybe, -ish. Much of my understanding on this topic comes from sci-fi stories which usually depict us heading towards Shangri-La or dystopia.”
Most people can probably relate to that sentiment. However, as Downey Jr. goes on to speculate, AI currently resides in a state somewhere between the two.
More Understanding is Necessary
AI is a technology brimming with potential yet one that is still not understood by all but a few elite researchers working on it. Nonetheless, it is expanding into mainstream technology at an increasing rate. Today’s consumers can find AI built into their video games, digital assistants, and smart home gadgets.
If AI is to be widely accepted by everyday consumers, it is clear that more understanding is necessary. People are hesitant, and rightly so, to accept a new technology into their lives without possessing some level of basic understanding about it. Consumers today don’t know whether to look at AI with a cautious eye or an optimistic one.
Hopefully, YouTube’s new docuseries can be a catalyst to help guide a conversation about this innovative technology. Since Google’s video-hosting platform removed its Originals series from behind the YouTube Premium paywall, everyone can enjoy “The Age of A.I.” for free. The first two episodes are streaming now for everyone while those with a Premium subscription can binge the first four.
YouTube will release a new episode once per week until the entire series is available. You can watch the entire first episode in the player below.