The AI Threat: Ridley Scott calls artificial intelligence a "thermonuclear bomb"

Over two-thirds of Americans are concerned that AI could threaten civilization, and Warren Buffett compared the creation of AI to an atomic bomb

by Sededin Dedovic
The AI Threat: Ridley Scott calls artificial intelligence a "thermonuclear bomb"
© Marc Piasecki / Getty Images

Ridley Scott, the director of such iconic films as Blade Runner and Gladiator, has expressed concern about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Scott compared AI to a "technical thermonuclear bomb," emphasizing its potential for uncontrolled evolution.

Scott, whose works often contain elements of AI, believes that the world will be dominated by a few corporations in the future. He specifically named Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google as likely leaders.

Scott expressed his belief that we need to get AI under control, but is pessimistic about our ability to do so. "When it comes out, it's over," he said.

The problem will arise when the AI is smarter than its creator

In another interview with Deadline, Scott reiterated his concerns about AI, again using the analogy of a thermonuclear bomb.

He believes that the moment an AI is created that is smarter than its creator, we "lose control". Scott has often portrayed artificial intelligence as a potential threat in his films, from replicants in Blade Runner to humanoid androids in the Alien franchise.

He's not the only famous director to issue a warning about the technology. Last year, Terminator director James Cameron expressed concern that a real-life version of Skynet could destroy humanity by using deepfake technology to cause conflict between people.

Artificial intelligence experts have compared the risks of artificial intelligence to the risks of nuclear wars and pandemics. More than two-thirds of Americans worry that artificial intelligence could threaten civilization, and Warren Buffett has compared the creation of AI to an atomic bomb.

However, some believe that the fears are exaggerated and belong in the world of science fiction. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku called AI systems "advanced sound recorders", while Professor Yan Licun, one of the pioneers of AI, said the alleged threat to humanity was "absurdly ridiculous". The debate about the risks of AI is likely to continue for many years to come.