From a Fortune profile of Robert Downey Jr.
“As part of my research (for the Iron Man project), I wanted to interview two people: John Underkoffler [the chief scientist at computer interface company Oblong] and Elon. I thought it was really interesting that he literally had decided to become a rocket scientist. And although the similarities kind of end with a certain -- what would you say? -- just an amazing self-agency, you know, that I think Elon really embodies. I was looking to Underkoffler for straight technology [advice]. You remember in Minority Report, the character is wearing those gloves and moving the screens around? He and his company built that into a reality, so I was taking some cues from him: If Tony had designed his own software and his own programs and the machinery to operate them, what sort of language would he design to be able to manipulate his environment? And over the course of all these movies, that's been as much a part of Tony's character as anything else. The spirit of Elon was really inspiring to me because Tony goes from doing one thing so well and so successfully, and goes to do something that's a lot more risky and much more far reaching.”