James Cameron says Skynet could wipe out humanity using deepfakes

In a nutshell: Critics of AI and robotics often talk about a Skynet scenario where machines become self-aware and rise up against their human creators, much like the story from the Terminator franchise. In actuality, Cameron believes a takeover of that scale could be done far easier and with far less energy wasted.

Filmmaker James Cameron believes critical thinking can go a long way in battling the spread of misinformation in modern media.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Cameron said he has worked at the cutting edge of visual effects with the goal of creating visuals that are as realistic as possible. “Every time we improve these tools, we’re actually in a sense building a toolset to create fake media,” Cameron said.

Existing tools, like those available through mobile apps, aren’t all that powerful yet. Over time, however, Cameron believes the limitations on these tools will subside. Combined with the speed of the modern news cycle and how quickly people respond, it’s entirely possible to have some sort of major incident take place between when a deepfake drops and when it is exposed as being bogus.

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“All Skynet would have to do is just deepfake a bunch of people, pit them against each other, stir up a lot of foment and just run this gigantic deepfake on humanity,” Cameron said.

It all goes back to critical thinking. “Where did you hear that?” Cameron asks, further noting that we have a ton of search tools available but people don’t use them. “Understand your source, investigate your source, is your source credible?”

Cameron also warns about being susceptible to “ridiculous, conspiracy paranoia.”

Cameron ends the interview stating, “I could be a projection of an AI right now,” leading some to question whether the interview was real or not.

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