‘Terminator’ Director James Cameron Playfully Reminds Us That He Warned Us About AI in 1984

James Cameron's Thoughts on AI

Canadian director James Cameron attends a launch ceremony for the Cameron Pace Group China in Beijing, China, 8 August 2012. (Photo: ChinaImages/Depositphotos)

In 1984, director James Cameron brought The Terminator to our screens. Iconically played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator was an unstoppable cyborg programmed to kill. So when Cameron, who is always up on cutting-edge technology, was asked his thoughts on problems with AI, his response wasn't surprising. “I warned you guys in 1984, but you didn't listen.”

And while the comment was made with a touch of humor, Cameron has a lot of thoughts about the rise of artificial intelligence and what the public needs to be wary of. During an interview with CTV News, he gave his perspective on the issue. Many experts in the field have raised alarms about needing more transparency and regulations in place before AI is given too much free rein.

Cameron doesn't disagree. In fact, he encourages people to think about why the technology was made and the implications behind these motivations. “You've got to follow the money, who's building these things. They're either building it to dominate market share. So what are you teaching it? Greed. Or you're building it for defensive purposes, so you're teaching it paranoia.”

The famed director is particularly concerned about the “weaponization” of AI and the consequences that could bring. “I think that we will get into the equivalent of a nuclear arms race with AI, and if we don't build it, the other guys are for sure going to build it, and so then it'll escalate,” he warns. “You could imagine an AI in a combat theatre. The whole thing just being fought by the computers at a speed humans can no longer intercede, and you have no ability to de-escalate.”

Cameron was being interviewed by CTV News Chief Political Correspondent Vassy Kapelos ahead of the launch of a Canadian Geographic exhibit about his feats of deep-sea exploration. His remarks come at a time when Hollywood and its fears around AI have come to a head.

The technology is a big source of discussion as part of the ongoing writer's strike, with many concerned that their screenplays will be obsolete in favor of computer-generated stories. And most recently, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher put AI at the forefront of issues actors were facing when deciding that the 160,000 members of the union needed to strike.

For his part, Cameron does not seem overly concerned about AI's role in Hollywood, as he feels that AI doesn't necessarily have the chops to generate a good story. He says, “I just don't personally believe that a disembodied mind that's just regurgitating what other embodied minds have said—about the life that they've had, about love, about lying, about fear, about mortality—and just put it all together into a word salad and then regurgitate it…I don't believe that have something that's going to move an audience.”

During a recent interview, director James Cameron gave his perspective on concerns that are popping up with AI.

Watch CTV's full interview with James Cameron.

h/t: [CTV News]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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