Amazon opens registration for re:MARS 2020, starring Jeff Bezos and Hollywood’s Jon Favreau

Jenny Freshwater and Jeff Bezos
Amazon’s Jenny Freshwater engages Jeff Bezos in a fireside chat at last year’s inaugural re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. (Amazon Photo)

How do you follow up on Iron Man? The answer for Amazon’s second annual re:MARS conference is to bring the godfather of Baby Yoda to the Vegas stage.

Jon Favreau — the actor, writer, director and producer who created “The Mandalorian,” a Star Wars spin-off starring Baby Yoda — will share headliner honors with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos when re:MARS returns to Las Vegas’ Aria Resort and Casino from June 16 to 19.

Amazon is opening registration for the event today, with tickets priced at last year’s level of $1,999. This year, academics and students who register using a .edu email address can get a price break (discount code: ACAD20REMARS). And just like last year, astronauts attending this year’s event get in free.

The preference for space travelers is apt: Space is one of the big topics covered at re:MARS, which is modeled after the invitation-only MARS conference that Amazon traditionally puts on in March.

MARS stands for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space. Those subjects are particularly appealing to Bezos as well as other folks at Amazon and at his Blue Origin space venture. There’ll be talks by Amazon execs, researchers and tech-minded celebs like Favreau, as well as interactive workshops, hands-on demos and networking events.

This year, Amazon is planning a re:MARS Developer Day in conjunction with the main event. The Developer Day’s technical tracks are aligned with technology offerings from AWS Machine Learning, AWS RoboMaker, Alexa Skills and Alexa for Device Makers.

Last year’s inaugural re:MARS conference featured “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. taking the wraps off his post-Marvel environmental initiative, plus the unveiling of Amazon’s latest delivery drone design. For me, the most memorable re:MARS moment was watching Bezos try his hand (literally) at robotic manipulation. (Or was it when an animal-rights activist interrupted Bezos during his fireside chat?)

Favreau’s been involved in Hollywood projects as an actor in Iron Man movies (playing a character named Happy Hogan) and as a director of such films as Disney’s latest versions of “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King.”

It’s hard to predict what he’ll have up his sleeve for re:MARS, but considering that robotics and space figure so prominently at the conference, I’ve got to believe that Baby Yoda will come in for a cameo.

Here’s the lineup of speakers announced today by Amazon:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.
  • Jeff Wilke, CEO, Worldwide Consumer, Amazon.
  • Cynthia Breazeal, professor of media arts and sciences, head of Personal Robots group, MIT.
  • Kate Darling, leading expert in social robotics and MIT Media Lab research specialist.
  • Bethany Ehlmann, planetary scientist at Caltech and research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Ayanna Howard, roboticist and chair of the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech.
  • Maja Matarić, professor of computer science, neuroscience and pediatrics at USC.
  • Sara Seager, planetary scientist and astrophysicist at MIT.
  • Boyan Slat, CEO and founder of The Ocean Cleanup.
  • Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research, and founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
  • Jon Favreau, director, producer, writer and actor, with mixed-reality director Ben Grossmann, CEO and co-founder of Magnopus.

For more information on re:MARS, including highlights from last year’s conference, check out ReMARS.AmazonEvents.com.

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