Hollywood mainstay Keanu Reeves pushed back against the use of digital alterations in film and the inclusion of what have come to be known as “deep fakes.” Deep fakes are artificially-created likenesses of a person whose capabilities now bear an eerie, uncanny resemblance of the real thing.
Reeves shared his views during an interview with Wired Magazine, inviting pause of the easy application of the technology that can mess with reality and also noted his own movie contracts now come with a clause preventing such use for his characters.
“Yeah, digitally. I don’t mind if someone takes a blink out during an edit,” Reeves said to Wired. “But early on, in the early 2000s, or it might have been the ’90s, I had a performance changed. They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, ‘Huh?!’ It was like, I don’t even have to be here.”
“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” the Matrix and John Wickes star said about deep fakes. “When you give a performance in a film, you know you’re going to be edited, but you’re participating in that.”
He continued: “If you go into deep fake 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.”
Reeves is exactly right on so many issues. Whether it’s the use of digital carbon copies of people or the introduction of ChatGPT, not enough people are leery of the awesome power computers and algorithms now possess. Indeed, they can easily strip away someone’s humanity.
Not to mention the fact that simulations can now pose as authentic entities and blur the line between human and artificial intelligence.
At one point, Reeves had been asked by a teenager “who cares if it’s real?” and the actor rightfully pointed out the slippery slope of advancing tech.
“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,” Reeves continued. “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,” he said.
“Culturally, socially, we’re gonna be confronted by the value of real, or the non-value. And then what’s going to be pushed on us? What’s going to be presented to us?” Reeves asked rhetorically. “It’s this sensorium. It’s spectacle. And it’s a system of control and manipulation. We’re on our knees looking at cave walls and seeing the projections, and we’re not having the chance to look behind us.”
Keanu Reeves is one of the rare Hollywood celebrities with a grounding in reality. His skepticism over AI, while touching on the application in the film industry – asking why he even needs to be there if they can just recreate him digitally – is one thing, but he also drives to the more pressing concerns with applying advanced technologies to our everyday lives.
Too many people seem too quick to accept these changes without reflecting on how other applications could quickly shed them of their own humanity, or be used for nefarious purposes.
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