YouTube’s new documentary demystifying artificial intelligence features Robert Downey Jr. and an AI baby

Robert Downey Jr hosts YouTube's new documentary about AI.

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Robert Downey Jr hosts YouTube’s new documentary about AI.
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YouTube
  • YouTube has uploaded an original documentary series about artificial intelligence with Robert Downey Jr as its narrator.
  • The first episode of the series features a virtual baby built using AI.
  • YouTube and its parent company Google are both heavily invested in AI technology.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

YouTube has launched a new free-to-watch documentary series about artificial intelligence fronted by “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr.

The YouTube Original series debuted on the platform on Wednesday, and is called “The Age of AI.” Its stated aim is to demystify misconceptions around AI.

One of the main focuses of the first episode is a New Zealand-based company called Soul Machines, which specialises in making digital avatars. Its founder Mark Sagar is an award-winning visual effects artist who’s worked on films like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Avatar.”

Sagar is working on a project he calls “Baby X,” in which he is using AI to simulate a human baby, modelled after his own daughter.

Sagar interacts with the baby through a webcam, teaching it words and how to react to certain objects – for example to show fear at the sight of a rubber spider.

Sagar talks and interacts with Baby X through a webcam.

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Sagar talks and interacts with Baby X through a webcam.
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YouTube

Soul Machines also builds more simple avatars, and the documentary shows how the company builds an AI avatar and voice for musician Will.i.am, taking photos of him pulling various facial expressions to accurately model his face.

Will.i.am posing for the camera.

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Will.i.am posing for the camera.
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YouTube

YouTube and its parent company Google are both heavily investing in AI, and the documentary’s second episode (focused on healthcare) goes inside DeepMind, the AI research startup bought by Google’s parent company Alphabet in 2014.