Renowned filmmaker James Cameron warned against the dangers of artificial intelligence in an interview published by The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday.
Cameron, discussing his upcoming addition to the Terminator franchise, argued that technology has already “won” against humanity given the public’s reliance on electronic devices.
“Technology has always scared me, and it’s always seduced me,” Cameron said. “People ask me: ‘Will the machines ever win against humanity?’ I say: ‘Look around in any airport or restaurant and see how many people are on their phones. The machines have already won.'”
As humans co-evolve and merge with technology, the screenwriter added, the line between the two will begin to increasingly blur.
“The technology is becoming a mirror to us as we start to build humanoid robots and as we start to seriously build AGI — general intelligence — that’s our equal,” Cameron said. “Some of the top scientists in artificial intelligence say that’s 10 to 30 years from now.”
Cameron compared the optimism among scientists towards artificial intelligence to that of scientists prior to the development of nuclear weapons.
“And when you talk to these guys, they remind me a lot of that excited optimism that nuclear scientists had in the ’30s and ’40s when they were thinking about how they could power the world,” Cameron said. “And taking zero responsibility for the idea that it would instantly be weaponized.”
“The first manifestation of nuclear power on our planet was the destruction of two cities and hundreds of thousands of people. So the idea that it can’t happen now is not the case. It can happen, and it may even happen.”
Recalling a recent discussion with an artificial intelligence expert, Cameron said some scientists are beginning to express concern over the burgeoning technology.
“One of the scientists we just met with recently, she said: ‘I used to be really, really optimistic, but now I’m just scared.’ Her position on it is probably that we can’t control this,” Cameron said. “It has more to do with human nature.”
“Putin recently said that the nation that perfects AI will dominate or conquer the world. So that pretty much sets the stage for ‘We wouldn’t have done it, but now those guys are doing it, so now we have to do it and beat them to the punch.’ So now everybody’s got the justification to essentially weaponize AI. I think you can draw your own conclusions from that.”
In a letter to the United Nations last month, more than 100 artificial intelligence experts called for an international ban on the development and use of autonomous weapon systems.
While some, including Google search chief John Giannandrea and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, have pushed back against concerns over artificial intelligence, tech icons such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk have repeatedly drawn attention to the technology’s potential dangers.