James Cameron Predicts ‘The Equivalent of a Nuclear Arms Race’ With Development of AI

“You could imagine an AI in a combat theater, the whole thing just being fought by the computers,” the director says

James Cameron attends the handprints and footprints ceremony honoring "Avatar: The Way Of Water" filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on January 12, 2023.
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“Terminator” director James Cameron agrees with experts in the field of artificial intelligence that the weaponization of AI poses the biggest threat to humanity.

“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,” he said in an interview with CTV News. “You could imagine an AI in a combat theater, the whole thing just being fought by the computers out of speed that humans can no longer intercede. You have no ability to de-escalate, and when you’re dealing with the potential of it escalating to nuclear warfare, de-escalation is the name of the game, and having that pause that timeout, but will they do that? The AIs will not.”

With the current double strike in Hollywood, AI has become a major sticking point for negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as well as the Screen Actors Guild and the AMPTP. 

“I warned you guys in 1984,” the Canadian filmmaker half-joked. “And you didn’t listen.”

He also analyzed the ways capital competition infiltrates the marketplace and human psyche.

“You’ve got to follow the money, who’s building these things? Right? They’re either building it to dominate market share,” he said. “So what are you teaching it? Greed, or you’re building it for defensive purposes. So you’re teaching it paranoia.”

Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels have been pushed back a year from their original timeline release dates following “The Way of Water.” The director also recently weighed in on the recent OceanGate tragedy of the Titanic submersible that imploded during one of its routine visits to the depths of the ocean. In a different interview, he shut down any rumors that he would be making a film about that.