Keanu Reeves is not just one of the nicest, kindest, most gregarious folks in Hollywood. He’s also the star of a franchise in which machines take over humanity. So when he weighs in on all this rapidly evolving AI tech, as well as comparatively older stuff like deepfakes, and concludes that they’re worth worrying about, it’s probably a good idea to worry.
In a new interview with Wired, the sometime Neo was not cool with ChatGPT, the latest evolution in artificial intelligence, which people have been using to have “conversations” with dead people, ranging from William Shakespeare to Adolf Hitler. So far the AI responses have been just off enough to be unconvincing. But when the Wired interviewer wondered if a Keanu bot could one day conduct an interview, Reeves wasn’t worried about it happening in his lifetime.
“Oh no,” he told the reporter, “you should be worried about that happening next month.”
At one point the conversation turned to deepfakes, including the shot-down claim that Bruce Willis, who had to retire from acting due to having aphasia, was going to allow himself to be deepfaked (but has already had that happen in a Russian ad). Reeves really doesn’t like deepfakes.
“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” he said. “When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary.”
Reeves said it was going to be “interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies,” which are already having “such cultural, sociological impacts.” For instance, he points out all the “data” computers amass about anyone using gadgets. “Technologies are finding places in our education, in our medicine, in our entertainment, in our politics, and how we war and how we work.”
He’s already worried about young people who’ve grown up with tech and may not see the dangers:
“I was trying to explain the plot of The Matrix to this 15-year-old once, and that the character I played was really fighting for what was real. And this young person was just like, ‘Who cares if it’s real?’ People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art. It’s cool, like, Look what the cute machines can make! But there’s a corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things. Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the nonvalue. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?
Reeves concludes that things like the metaverse are already “a system of control and manipulation. We’re on our knees looking at cave walls and seeing the projections, and we’re not having the chance to look behind us.”
Again, this is someone who’s been thinking about the machines taking over humanity for the last quarter century. It’s probably worth doing some unplugging before AI suddenly starts getting dangerously good at their jobs.
In the meantime, you’ll soon get to see the non-deepfaked Keanu Reeves really doing his own stunts again in the fourth John Wick, which is very real and very long. That film will be released on March 24.
(Via Wired and Entertainment Weekly)