Ridley Scott warns AI will be ‘technical hydrogen bomb’ in film industry

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Ridley Scott, director of sci-fi classics like “Alien” and “Blade Runner,” is terrified about AI technology running away with society.

In an interview with Rolling Stone promoting his film “Napoleon,” Scott was asked if artificial intelligence worried him, and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“We have to lock down AI. And I don’t know how you’re gonna lock it down,” he told the outlet. “They have these discussions in the government, ‘How are we gonna lock down AI?’ Are you f—ing kidding? You’re never gonna lock it down. Once it’s out, it’s out.” 

He continued, “If I’m designing AI, I’m going to design a computer whose first job is to design another computer that’s cleverer than the first one. And when they get together, then you’re in trouble, because then it can take over the whole electrical-monetary system in the world and switch it off. That’s your first disaster. It’s a technical hydrogen bomb. Think about what that would mean.”

WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)?

Scott also compared his concerns to his film “Blade Runner,” which starred Harrison Ford in a futuristic Los Angeles tracking down humanoid replicants.

“I always thought the world would end up being run by two corporations, and I think we’re headed in that direction,” the 85-year-old said. “Tyrell Corp in ‘Blade Runner’ probably owned 45-50% of the world, and one of his playthings was creating replication through DNA. Tyrell [played by Joe Turkel] thinks he’s god and in the first ‘Blade Runner’ has made a Nexus female. And the Nexus female will have a limited lifespan because AI will get dangerous.”

Harrison Ford in a scene from Blade Runner

The “Gladiator” director was also asked about AI in relation to the recent Hollywood strikes, where use of the technology was a key sticking point in negotiations. 

“They really have to not allow this, and I don’t know how you can control it,” he said.

He added, “There’s something non-creative about data. You’re gonna get a painting created by a computer, but I like to believe – and I’m saying this without confidence – it won’t work with anything particularly special that requires emotion or soul. With that said, I’m still worried about it.”

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Earlier this month, Julia Louis-Dreyfus demonstrated AI’s creative limitations when she read a speech she said she wrote with ChatGPT, which confused her with Julia Roberts.

“Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, and fellow investors, today is a moment of profound gratitude and reflection for me as I accept the great honor of being recognized as the investor of the year by Wall Street Journal,” she said to laughter at the WSJ. Magazine 2023 Innovator Awards.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus standing at podium delivering speech

Louis-Dreyfus continued, “Reflecting on this milestone, I am reminded of the unwavering support of my family and the unyielding dedication of my team that has been the driving force behind my investment strategies and my performances in ‘Erin Brokovich,’ ‘Pretty Women’ and ‘Mystic Pizza.’”

The former “Seinfeld” star concluded her speech, “In the end, folks, it’s the humans who do the innovating and the entertaining.”

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