Upcoming movies like Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning part one, The creatorAND Heart of stone they all have a great resemblance. In all three big-budget action films, AI is portrayed as the villain.
While AI has always played a prominent role in the sci-fi genre, it seems more and more modern films are choosing to show its dangers. While its menace has always been evident from movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Terminator franchise, it’s interesting that AI is seeing a resurgence in various upcoming blockbusters.
Fears of the present
The creator AND Heart of stone are two films that will explore the powers of artificial intelligence. In the trailer of The creator, it is revealed that the artificial intelligence created to protect the world has decided to drop a nuclear bomb on Los Angeles. Similarly, the Heart of stone the trailer teases that artificial intelligence is capable of crashing the stock market and knocking a plane out of the sky.
In Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning part one, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew, who have already protected the world from nuclear, biological and chemical threats in previous entries, will go against an artificial intelligence program. In preparation for the film’s release, director Christopher McQuarrie explained why AI was the logical next threat to the franchise, arguing that it’s the thing on everyone’s mind right now.
In an interview with Collider, McQuarrie explained that the inclusion of artificial intelligence in the Mission Impossible the franchise would have been “too highbrow for most people” just a few short years ago. However, with the rise of AI programs like ChatGPT, the public now understands and cares more and more about AI.
Movies have always served as commentaries on humanity’s fears. While the aforementioned 2001: A Space Odyssey, published in 1968, showed how powerful AI could be, AI was not something that was seen as an immediate threat at the time. In the second half of the twentieth century, people had other fears, such as the threat posed by the Cold War, which is what McQuarrie likened to the inclusion of AI in The showdown starts first TO:
“When I was growing up, the Cold War was very real, it was a very present thing. We were under the threat, we believed, of nuclear annihilation, that at any moment there could be a war between two or three nuclear superpowers. So when you went to see a Cold War movie, you didn’t need someone to create the threat of the Cold War, you just felt it. It was something you brought into the movie.”
Therefore, when writing The showdown starts first, McQuarrie and Cruise wondered what fears people bring into movies nowadays. The answer – something that lies behind The creator AND Heart of stone also surely recognize – is that people are becoming progressively more fearful of how AI could impact our world in the coming years.
“Write What You Know”
Importantly, the AI fears extend beyond the movie-watching audience. Even the screenwriters behind all Hollywood movies currently have AI in mind. In fact, AI has been a major talking point during the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
The WGA actually devoted a section of its proposal to the use of artificial intelligence, demanding that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) ban the use of AI to write scripts for movies and television shows. As of this writing, the AMPTP has declined the request, instead offering to hold annual meetings to discuss technological advances.
However, as ChatGPT was just released in November 2022 and is already threatening the livelihoods of countless writers, it is clear that the implementation and use of AI is progressing rapidly and writers need proper protection. The WGA believes that annual meetings are not enough to fight AI and therefore has every reason to address its fears of artificial intelligence in its work.
One of the most common pieces of advice for writers is “write what you know” which thus explains why AI is being presented as a criminal entity in a number of upcoming projects. Since the issue of AI is at the heart of the film industry right now, it’s likely that we’ll only see more movies tackling this topic in the coming years.
A perspective full of hope
While it’s alarming that the writers haven’t received more comforting reassurances about the use of AI, McQuarrie does anticipate that AI won’t be enough to bring down the crew in The showdown starts first. Again referencing the Cold War, he mentioned the 1986s Top Guns, also played by Cruise. He said:
“When you go to see Top Guns in 1986, the cold war was a very real thing. That anxiety was something you were bringing into it, and you liked that movie because that movie was telling you that everything was going to be okay in the end. You were showing them a way out.”
Therefore, it is hinting that upcoming movies like The creator, Heart of stoneand naturally, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning part onein theaters on July 12, 2023, it may end up comforting us and showing audiences around the world that we will persevere against the AI threat.
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Image Source : movieweb.com