With big bank accounts, celebrities have begun to invest money in companies using artificial intelligence, predominately startups.
Within the past few years, “The Wolf of Wall Street” actor Leonardo DiCaprio and “Iron Man” himself, Robert Downey Jr., have both reportedly invested millions, along with their respective venture capital firms, into AI companies designed to impact the environment.
Other stars, including Ashton Kutcher and Black Eyed Peas singer and rapper will.i.am., are also exploring the world of AI, something Kutcher believes is deeply intertwined into a successful future.
For several years, Kutcher has pivoted away from acting and into the venture capital scene, making a splash with his firm Sound Ventures.
The firm already has three artificial technology companies under its umbrella: OpenAI, Anthropic and stability.ai.
Last month, Kutcher and Sound Ventures raised $243 million in just five weeks with the intention to invest in more AI startups.
“When we saw [Chat]GPT launch, we realized that this was an absolute breakthrough,” Kutcher told Bloomberg of the technology.
“If you were a commerce company 10 years ago and you didn’t embrace e-commerce, you’re probably not in business anymore. And I firmly believe that if you’re a company today and you’re not embracing the changes that are taking place with AI, you’re going to be behind, and you’re gonna have a hard time catching up,” he admitted.
“This is going to change business forever, and we need to embrace it because, right now, this AI can be used to improve humanity,” Kutcher explained. “I actually look at it as an equity and an inclusion play where, you know, as we commoditize things like legal advice and medical advice and education, and personalize those things … down to the individual consumer … all of a sudden people who can’t get a doctor on the phone or can’t get a lawyer on the phone or can’t get a pediatrician on the phone … they’re gonna have access to these services … and access to these services at an affordable price.”
Despite his excitement for the expansion of AI, Kutcher does believe AI needs to be regulated.
“I don’t think anyone wants this to be an unfettered market,” he said, noting there are issues surrounding misinformation, data privacy, data tracing and bias with AI.
“I think the companies that are building this recognize regulation is needed,” he added of his optimistic outlook.
Aside from acting, DiCaprio is known for his extensive environmental work.
The 48-year-old serves as the strategic adviser for Regeneration VC, a fund that recently invested $1.6 million in an AI recycling company called Greyparrot in February after an investor fell through.
According to its website, Greyparrot uses “cutting-edge AI computer vision systems deployed globally in sorting facilities” to “monitor and sort through large waste flows at scale.”
This equips “waste managers, producers and regulators with the insights they need to bolster recycling rates and introduce accountability to the waste value chain.”
DiCaprio has been candid about his concerns for the environment in the past, creating the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998 to combat climate change.
Robert Downey Jr.
The Footprint Coalition is Downey Jr.’s venture fund, which he launched at an AI conference hosted by Amazon in 2019.
Similar to DiCaprio’s, the organization was created to improve the environment through technology.
Downey shared at the time that AI gave him hope, especially at a time when he was starkly concerned for the world.
“I have this quiet sense of crisis,” he said at the conference, referencing his own contributions to the climate crisis, per Variety. “I’m a one-man carbon footprint nightmare colossus.”
In 2021, things got moving, with ClimateAI closing its initial Series A round of funding, raising $12 million from several groups, including Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition.
According to its website, ClimateAI “has built the first climate resilience platform, pioneering the application of artificial intelligence to mitigate the impact of climate change and uncover new opportunities that may arise as a result.”
In 2013, Black Eyed Peas artist will.i.am founded i.am+, a technology company with a mission to “create technology hits that create a ripple effect across pop culture,” per its website. The intention is “to create a community of creatives and coders and believe that through music and technology as the first step, we can usher in a powerful new era built on AI.”
In 2018, will.i.am did just that with the launch of Omega, described as a “platform built to be contextual and proactive, providing businesses the tools to develop human-like conversational experiences. Omega platform is an infrastructure, a device and is channel-agnostic, offering voice, text, and rich accessible customer experiences,” utilizing AI.
“The Omega architecture allows you to do things for consumers that really relieves some of the pain points that we don’t really articulate because we’re just, we’ve conformed to the pain points, and it’s normal now,” will.i.am explained at the time to Yahoo Finance.
Fox News Digital has reached out to will.i.am, Ashton Kutcher, Robert Downey Jr. and Leonardo DiCaprio’s reps for comment.