Here's Why Keanu Reeves Says AI Will Replace A Ton Of Jobs Sooner Than You Think

One of his breakthrough roles involved escaping a highly advanced simulation to take on an overly sentient AI and its army of robots in the ruins of the real world. Now Keanu Reeves is speaking out against some of the threats AI poses in the real world — particularly to those working in creative professions. The star, best known for his performances in "Point Break," "John Wick," and "The Matrix," painted a pretty bleak picture of the future for actors and writers. Most of the blame wasn't laid at the door of the technology itself or the people creating it. Instead, Reeves pointed toward the nature of the people who hold the purse strings of the creative industries.

During an interview with Wired, Reeves was pretty blunt about money men's motivation when it comes to paying for the content they make their money from. Corporations "don't give a f**k" about paying artists, the John Wick star said. Later in the interview, the 58-year-old went into more depth on the subject, explaining: "The people who are paying you for your art would rather not pay you. They're actively seeking a way around you, because artists are tricky. Humans are messy." 

Reeves warns AI-based technology could be bad news for everyone

Although AI wasn't the exact basis of the interview, Reeves did drift onto the subject — and that of similar technologies — several times. One good example of new tech that affects people in Reeves' profession is called deepfake. Deepfakes use an AI-based program to superimpose one person's face over another's. As seen below, this is often used to put what looks like a realistic depiction of famous figures in videos. It can be used to create fake pornographic reels or paired with impressions to create fake speeches. Actors, politicians, and other public figures have been targeted by the creators of deepfakes in recent years.

In Reeves' own case, a digitally added tear in one of his earlier features has led to a contract clause stating that he has to sign off on any "digital manipulation" of his performances. In the interview, he also alluded to the potential frustration deepfakes present for actors, saying: "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."

Technological advancements aren't all bad though. CGI has featured in some of Reeves' most prominent roles. He's also appeared in features that rely heavily on computer-aided animation like "A Scanner Darkly," and took a key role as Johnny Silverhand in "Cyberpunk 2077," a video game that was released in 2020. Reeves and his partner, Alexandra Grant, are also working to make the digital future a bit less bleak for creatives. Their work with the Futureverse Foundation aims to give a diverse range of artists opportunities in the metaverse.