Keanu Reeves Comments on the Use of AI and Deepfakes in a New Interview

The FPS Review may receive a commission if you purchase something after clicking a link in this article.

Image: Lionsgate

Keanu Reeves has had a particular focus on the interaction and relationship of humans with technology in science-fiction movies, and recently video games. From Johnny Mnemonic to The Matrix franchise, and then Cyberpunk 2077, he has been at the forefront of story content that explores concepts of artificial intelligence and the integration of technology with humans. Reeves recently sat down with WIRED magazine, along with John Wick: Chapter 4 costar Chad Stahelski where conversation inevitably drifted into a discussion of AI and Deepfakes.

While Keanu Reeves is able to both appreciate and see a use for artificial intelligence’s use in media creation he does express a strong opinion in relation to what big business’s intent is with it. When interviewer Angela Watercutter very nonchalantly asks about the possibility of ChatGPT replacing humans for interviews his answer is a bit more direct than possibly expected.

“While I, the human interviewer, am not so concerned this will happen in my lifetime, Reeves looks me dead in the eye and says, “Oh no, you should be worried about that happening next month.

During the interview, Reeves and Stahelski took time to pose for some promotional shots for the story and it was then the author received a tweet from another writer who stated that their client no longer wants to pay for their services since they (the client) can get an AI bot to do it for free. As if to bring home the topic of the previous question even sooner the author shared the tweet with Reeves who responded very directly that corporations don’t give a F***.

Keanu Reeves has had an interesting inside track with the use of AI after taking on roles for nearly 30 years in which his characters are in the midst of either technocracy or corporate control. These experiences led to him putting a stipulation in his contracts early on that his performances could not be altered without his consent.

“Yeah, digitally. I don’t mind if someone takes a blink out during an edit. But early on, in the early 2000s, or it might have been the ’90s, I had a performance changed. [He won’t say which.] They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, “Huh?!” It was like, I don’t even have to be here.”

Apparently, recently, there’s been a deep fake of Bruce Willis promoting a Russian telecom and Reeves was asked about his feelings on this.

“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency. When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that. If you go into deepfake land, it has none of your points of view. That’s scary. It’s going to be interesting to see how humans deal with these technologies. They’re having such cultural, sociological impacts, and the species is being studied. There’s so much “data” on behaviors now. Technologies are finding places in our education, in our medicine, in our entertainment, in our politics, and how we war and how we work.”

Of course, The Matrix movies explored the concepts of AI taking over for humans and then the world, a topic that has driven science fiction stories for decades, the idea of using it to create various types of media is becoming increasingly more common now. Reeves shares how at one point he tried to explain the plot to a teenager but also what can be lost in using AI for creating media.

“I was trying to explain the plot of The Matrix to this 15-year-old once, and that the character I played was really fighting for what was real. And this young person was just like, “Who cares if it’s real?” People are growing up with these tools: We’re listening to music already that’s made by AI in the style of Nirvana, there’s NFT digital art. It’s cool, like, Look what the cute machines can make! But there’s a corporatocracy behind it that’s looking to control those things. Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the nonvalue. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?”

Keanu Reeves definitely has a strong sense of how he feels both about technology and how corporations will use it and isn’t afraid to express that they would rather not pay human artists and are seeking ways to circumvent it. When the author mentions how Wired just unionized to protect the rights of its employees, his response is “That’s cool. See how long that lasts. Fingers Crossed.”

The interview does end on positive notes, including how Reeve’s partner, Alexandra Grant, is working with the Futureverse Foundation, which is focused on diversifying the Metaverse and there are, of course, favorite quotes and memes from fans for Keanu as well. John Wick: Chapter 4 opens in theaters on March 24.

Join the discussion in our forums...

Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

Recent News