Is artificial intelligence lining up to be the perfect scapegoat? That’s what Christopher Nolan seems to think, having told Wired in a new interview published today that the biggest problem he sees with AI is how it’s being framed as an omnipotent resource, making it a great and plausible thing for companies and others to blame their mistakes on. “I identify the danger as the abdication of responsibility,” Nolan explained. Elsewhere in the interview, the 52-year-old director, whose atomic bomb film Oppenheimer opens July 21, revealed that he was going to die for sure in a nuclear holocaust.
From a Wired feature:
Nolan: […] Everybody has a very—call it a partisan point of view. The issue with AI, to me, is a very simple one. It’s like the term algorithm. We watch companies use algorithms, and now AI, as a means of evading responsibility for their actions.
Wired: Say more about that.
Nolan: If we endorse the view that AI is all-powerful, we are endorsing the view that it can alleviate people of responsibility for their actions—militarily, socioeconomically, whatever. The biggest danger of AI is that we attribute these godlike characteristics to it and therefore let ourselves off the hook. I don’t know what the mythological underpinnings of this are, but throughout history there’s this tendency of human beings to create false idols, to mold something in our own image and then say we’ve got godlike powers because we did that.
Wired: That feels very, very right now. Like we’re at that tipping point.
Wired: With these large language models, the machines might even be able to teach themselves the next step.
Nolan: There was an interesting article in the LA Times about ChatGPT and OpenAI. It basically said it’s a sales pitch, that they’re a private company now. And they have the greatest sales pitch in the world, which is, This is a really dangerous thing. Maybe we shouldn’t put it out there. So now everyone wants it. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a real danger here, because I feel that there is. But I personally, and this is just my opinion, I identify the danger as the abdication of responsibility.