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Robert Downey Jr. will host a YouTube Red series about AI

Robert Downey Jr. will host a YouTube Red series about AI
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]

YouTube announced that Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey will executive produce an upcoming docu-series for YouTube Red that will focus on how artificial intelligence is shaping our everyday lives and the future.

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According to a statement, the still-untitled series will feature “some of the brightest minds in science, philosophy, technology, engineering, medicine, futurism, entertainment and the arts” in eight one-hour long episodes that Downey will host and narrate. The Downeys’ production company, Team Downey, is partnering with Network Entertainment (I Am Heath Ledger, Johnny Cash: American Rebel) and Sonar Entertainment (Mr. Mercedes, Taboo).

“Robert and I share a curiosity for AI, a complicated and often polarizing subject,” said Susan Downey in a statement. “Our aim is to explore AI through a lens of objectivity and accessibility, in a thoroughly bold, splashy, and entertaining way.”

Downey’s AI show is a notable get for the subscription-based YouTube Red, which is still finding its footing among streaming competitors Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said that pumping billions into original programming in an attempt to top its rivals isn’t the goal for YouTube Red, the subscription service recently enjoyed its biggest hit to date with Cobrai Kai, a sequel to the Karate Kid franchise that reunites Ralph Macchio with William Zabka. While not quite a phenomenon on the level of Stranger Things, the 10-episode series received positive reviews and was renewed for a second season. (YouTube says the first episode has generated more than 20 million views.)

How will the AI docu-series fare with viewers? The star power of Downey is a plus, and eight hours allows for a more in-depth exploration of AI than the recent 78-minute, Elon Musk-endorsed documentary Do You Trust This Computer?

The only question is whether it will be worth $9.99/month for the many, many people who aren’t subscribed to YouTube Red?

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