Apr 11, 2024 - Technology

Axios interview: James Cameron on tackling the next "Terminator"

 James Cameron presents an award at the US-Ireland Alliance's 18th annual Oscar Wilde Awards at Bad Robot on March 07, 2024 in Santa Monica, California.

Filmmaker James Cameron. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for US-Ireland Alliance

James Cameron is challenging himself to create the next "Terminator" movie, the filmmaker told Axios in an interview Wednesday night.

Why it matters: His depiction of AI gone horribly wrong has helped shape the public's fear of the technology since the first "Terminator" was released 40 years ago.

  • But now, as AI has spread, reality and imagination are merging.

What he's saying: "It's very difficult to write science fiction when you're living in a science fiction world," Cameron said.

  • Some of the social issues stemming from generative AI, including job displacement, will get "worked out."
  • However, he added: "The actual kind of existential threat to the human species ā€” that's not quite here yet. But it's close. It's adjacent."

Yes, but: While he says he's still "exploring the type of story" he wants to tell, he also says that because he's "innately kind of optimistic about the human spirit ... Thematically that will be there."

What we're watching: Cameron said there's no script yet for a seventh film.

  • "We may look at a multi-film arc, or we may just do one," he said.
  • "I have accepted the challenge of figuring it out."

Zoom out: Earlier on Wednesday, Cameron told Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost at a related event that he doesn't take credit for inventing the idea of evil AI.

  • He nodded to characters like HAL 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey" and the film "Colossus: The Forbin Project."
  • "But I did put it together with weapons of mass destruction," he said.

The intrigue: Cameron said that if he were "a newly aware super intelligence," the last thing he would do is start a nuclear war.

  • "All those electromagnetic pulses would really mess up all my cognitive capability."
  • Still, Cameron warns against putting AI "in charge of weapon systems."
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