Canadian film director James Cameron has said his 1984 sci-fi blockbuster ‘The Terminator’ should have served as a warning about the dangers of AI, and that the “weaponization” of the emerging tech could have disastrous consequences.
Speaking to CTV News for an interview on Tuesday, the award-winning director was asked whether he believes artificial intelligence could someday bring “the extinction of humanity,” a fear raised even by some industry leaders.
“I absolutely share their concern. I warned you guys in 1984 and you didn’t listen,” he said, referring to his film ‘The Terminator,’ which revolves around a cybernetic assassin created by an intelligent supercomputer known as Skynet.
Cameron went on to warn that “the weaponization of AI is the biggest danger,” adding “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.”
In the event artificial intelligence is deployed on the battlefield, computers may move so quickly that “humans can no longer intercede,” the director said, arguing such technology would leave no time for peace talks or an armistice.
“When you’re dealing with a potential of it escalating to nuclear warfare, deescalation is the name of the game. Having that pause, that time out – but will they do that? The AIs will not,” Cameron continued.
The famed filmmaker has issued similar warnings in the past, saying that while AI “can be pretty great,” it could also “literally be the end of the world.” He even went as far as to say that “an AI could have taken over the world and already be manipulating it but we just don’t know,” speculating that sentient computers “would have total control over all the media and everything.”
Though the tech has yet to achieve world domination, some leading experts have also sounded alarms about artificial intelligence. Earlier this year, AI giants including OpenAI and Google’s DeepMind joined academics, lawmakers and entrepreneurs to issue a statement calling to mitigate “the risk of extinction from AI,” saying it should be “a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
A similar open letter published last March urged for a six-month pause on the training of powerful AI systems, saying they “should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.” Signed by more than 1,000 experts and executives – including Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – the statement warned that AI could pose “profound risks to society and humanity.”
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