James Cameron on AI: 'I Warned You Guys in 1984'

'But you didn't listen,' says 'Terminator' director
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2023 11:00 AM CDT
James Cameron Says He Warned Us About AI With Terminator
Director James Cameron walks in Purmamarca, Jujuy province, Argentina, June 8, 2023.   (AP Photo/Javier Corbalan, File)

James Cameron says he's concerned about the rise of artificial intelligence—and it's something he warned about in the first Terminator movie, which he directed and co-wrote in 1984. "I warned you guys in 1984 and you didn't listen," the Canadian filmmaker told CTV in an interview this week. In The Terminator, Skynet, a self-aware artificially intelligent defense network trying to exterminate humanity sends a cyborg assassin, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, from 2029 to 1984. "I think the weaponization of AI is the biggest danger," Cameron told CTV. "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."

Cameron said it's important to regulate the AI industry, and to keep an eye on who is developing the technology, and why. He described developing AI for profit as "teaching greed" and developing it for defense as "teaching paranoia." He doesn't however, believe that
a "disembodied mind that's just regurgitating what other embodied minds have said" will be able to replace human screenwriters. "Let's wait 20 years, and if an AI wins an Oscar for Best Screenplay, I think we've got to take them seriously," he said.

"I don't know anyone that's even thinking about having AI write a screenplay," Cameron said. Variety reports that Schwarzenegger also recently shared concerns about AI. "Today, everyone is frightened of it, of where this is gonna go," he said. In The Terminator, he said, "we talk about the machines becoming self-aware and they take over … 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." (Read more James Cameron stories.)

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