Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sets an ambitious goal every year for himself, and this year it was to create an AI assistant for his home, modelled in part on Jarvis from Marvel’s Iron Man fictional universe. Jarvis gives Iron Man/Tony Stark basically any info he needs, and helps him fight crime, as well as mange his estate and run his business, and the virtual companion is voiced by Paul Bettany in the Marvel movies.
In a twist, Zuckerberg’s artificial assistant might get Tony Stark’s signature sound, as actor Robert Downey Jr. has offered his services in response to a Facebook post by Zuck.
Higher up in the thread posted by Zuckerberg, wherein he said it was finally time to actually give his AI a voice (which means a reveal could be just around the corner), someone else suggested Bettany himself, but the Facebook founder seemingly dismissed this choice as too obvious. A suggestion from another follower that RDJ get the nod seemed to please Zuckerberg, before the actor himself waded in and expressed his interest.
Downey Jr. did have some terms and conditions, nestled within a reply that also helped promote Benedict Cumberbatch’s upcoming Dr. Strange Marvel movie. Downey Jr. is asking for Zuckerberg to pay Paul Bettany for his participation in the project, provided that money then gets donated to a worthy cause chosen by Cumberbatch. It’s kind of confusing, but basically Robert says “I’m your man” provided Zuckerberg is willing to donate to charity in exchange.
I can’t help but imagine a future where Facebook decides to turn Zuckerberg’s pet project into an outward-facing product (FB does need an Alexa/Siri/OK Google competitor), and if that product ends up having the voice of Iron Man, that’s got to count as a competitive advantage.