Terminator’s James Cameron Weighs In On AI Threat: “I Warned You Guys In 1984”

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage — in more ways than one — now, but it has long been a topic of interest. 40 years ago, Terminator, among other sci-fi films, explored the potential dangers it could bring to the future, and director James Cameron is experiencing a strong sense of deja vu.

Terminator James Cameron AI Threat

Speaking to CTV News, the filmmaker weighed in on the rise of AI and acknowledged the threat it can bring to humanity as technology continues to evolve. “I warned you guys in 1984, and you didn’t listen,” he said. “I think the weaponisation 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,” he added. “The whole thing just being fought by the computers at a speed humans can no longer intercede, and you have no ability to deescalate.”

The news comes amid the ongoing strike involving SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) and the Writers Guild of America (WAG) in a historic first, with both unions demanding protections against AI technology. In particular, the former is speaking out against AI using an actor’s likenesses without their consent or compensation (Black Mirror Season 6, anyone?), while the WGA has raised concerns over AI taking over writers on script.

Cameron, however, believes that writers won’t be replaced anytime soon. “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 have something that’s going to move an audience,” he said.

While he’s opposed to using AI in the filmmaking world, it’s not stopping him from tapping into the subject for the big screen. The industry veteran shared previously that he was considering a Terminator reboot with AI instead of killer cyborgs to explore more than just “bad robots gone crazy.” Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the last movie in the franchise directed by Cameron, who later returned to produce 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate.