‘I Warned You Guys In 1984!’: Director James Cameron Unleashes On The Rise Of AI In Film
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: James Cameron attends Meet The Filmmaker: James Cameron at Apple Store Soho on April 12, 2012 in New York City.
Craig Barritt / Getty Images

Director James Cameron said in a recent interview that certain aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) concern him far more than others — and pointed out the fact that he had warned everyone about the threat in his 1984 film “The Terminator.”

While both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) cite concerns about the rise of AI in their reasons for the current strike — the first such joint effort since the 1960s — Cameron said that he wasn’t sure that writers had as much to worry about as some might think.

“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,” Cameron said, arguing that a bot could not truly tap into the human emotion necessary to write a compelling story.


“I don’t believe that’s ever going to have something that’s going to move an audience. You have to be human to write that. I don’t know anyone that’s even thinking about having AI write a screenplay,” he continued. “Let’s wait 20 years, and if an AI wins an Oscar for best screenplay, I think we’ve got to take them seriously.”

For Cameron, the greatest concern was the possibility that the race to build better AI would seep into other aspects of society — and he worried that the technology would someday be weaponized — if that wasn’t already in the process of happening.

“You got to follow the money. Who’s building these things? They’re either building it to dominate marketing shares, so you’re teaching it greed, or you’re building it for defensive purposes, so you’re teaching it paranoia. I think the weaponization of AI is the biggest danger,” he said.

“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,” the “True Lies” director added. “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. I warned you guys in 1984! And you didn’t listen.”

“Terminator” star Arnold Schwarzenegger had previously suggested Cameron was ahead of his time when weighing the risks of AI in the futuristic film franchise.

“Today, everyone is frightened of it, of where this is gonna go. And in this movie, in ‘Terminator,’ we talk about the machines becoming self-aware and they take over,” Schwarzenegger said. “Now over the course of decades, it has become a reality. So it’s not any more fantasy or kind of futuristic. It is here today. And so this is the extraordinary writing of Jim Cameron.”

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