AI Weaponization Is Real Threat. 'I Warned You Guys In 1984 And You Didn't Listen'

James Cameron
film director, screenwriter, and producer

He isn't really a tech person, because after all, his line of work focuses on entertainment. But if the term "AI" is mentioned, his name should come in mind pretty easily.

This is because he foresaw the trend, and knew that it was coming, way before most people in this world even had the slightest idea about it.

James Cameron is a world-renown film director, screenwriter, and producer.

He has weighed in on the rise of artificial intelligence and the potential dangers it could present in the present and future.

In the world where people are still experimenting on AIs, and see how the technology could aid humans in various tasks, the Oscar winner expressed doubt over AI bots being able to write "a good story."

James Cameron
James Cameron.

In a new interview with CTV News, James Cameron expressed his lack on interest about using, or even hearing AI writing a film script.

“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’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."

"Let’s wait 20 years, and if an AI wins an Oscar for best screenplay, I think we’ve got to take them seriously."

Cameron delivered his opinions during the time the world is still grasping to the potential of AI-made technologies, and how they can make and break existing systems.

In this case, Hollywood is also reckoning with how to put AI in the hands of the craftspeople behind movies and TV shows without forgoing the crafts of the people in the process.

The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have joined forces in a historic double strike, with both unions demanding protections against AI technology.

SAG-AFTRA, for example, wants to protect actors and actresses from being replaced by AI to create their likenesses without their consent or compensation, while the WGA has raised concerns about AI replacing writers on scripts.

While Cameron is bullish on AI bots becoming screenwriters, he has a totally different opinions concerning the weaponization of AIs.

Cameron rose to fame back in 1984, when he both wrote and directed The Terminator, a science fiction action film that centers around a highly-intelligent "cybernetic organism" sent back in time to assassinate a woman, whose unborn son will be the savior of humankind from extinction.

In a story that keeps developing for decades later, the film is all about a future the protagonists are trying to prevent, a post-apocalyptic future where AI-powered machines roam, and humans are mere expendable resources.

Cameron knew the extent of this AI technology, and almost four decades later, in 2023, his prediction is slowly becoming real.

James Cameron posing next to a Model 101 or the T-800, the name of a Terminator in the franchise portrayed by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger
James Cameron posing next to an endoskeleton of a Model 101 or the T-800, a Terminator model portrayed by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the films.

Recalling his 1984 film, Cameron considered the motives of those developing the technology, questioning whether it's for profit ("teaching greed") or for defense ("teaching paranoia").

"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."

Cameron acknowledged the threat AI could pose to humanity as further advancements are rolled out.

In other words, Cameron is not worried about the more petty things AI can do. He is more concerned with AI leading to an actual nuclear holocaust.

"I warned you guys in 1984, and you didn't listen."

"I think the weaponization of AI is the biggest danger. 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."

"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 deescalate."