US Reporter

Keanu Reeves’ Stance on Deepfakes Highlights the Need for Ethical Use of AI in Film

Reeves, Deepfake

Keanu Reeves gained fame for his performance as Neo in the Matrix trilogy, where he played a character who learns he is a simulation and battles to escape.

Reeves has stated that he does not want to live in a simulation in real life, not even one that is a deepfake.

“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,” Reeves recounted in an interview with Wired published Tuesday. 

“They added a tear to my face, and I was just like, ‘Huh?!’ It was like, ‘I don’t even have to be here.'”

With the growing use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, deepfakes have become more and more common.

Others are worried about deepfakes’ potential for abuse and manipulation, while some may view them as a harmless form of entertainment or a way to produce realistic special effects.

Reeves, for his part, has taken precautions to safeguard himself against the possibility of having his performances altered without his permission. He includes a clause forbidding performance manipulation, such as the addition or deletion of elements without his consent, in his contracts.

The actor described a personal incident that inspired him to exercise caution. He recalled a situation in which a tear was added to his face during a film edit without his permission, making him wonder whether he even needed to be physically present in the movie.

This incident brings to light the potential for deepfakes to undermine the veracity of an actor’s performance and raises significant concerns about the moral application of AI in the entertainment industry.

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Sinister Objectives

Reeves also voiced concern about the use of deepfakes for more sinister objectives, like disseminating false information or fabricating news. As it gets harder to tell what is real and what isn’t, the ability to manipulate videos and images in this way has the potential to be very harmful.

“What’s frustrating about that is you lose your agency,” the Matrix star stated. 

“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.”

As we continue to explore the capabilities and limitations of AI, it is important to consider the ethical implications of its use. The issue of deepfakes and their impact on the authenticity of our media is just one of the many questions we must grapple with. 

In the meantime, Reeves and other actors will continue to work to protect themselves from manipulation, both in their contracts and in the public eye.

“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,” he stated.

 “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.”

No Deepfakes

He added, “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?”

Fans of the John Wick franchise can rest easy knowing that they won’t be seeing any deepfakes in the upcoming sequel, John Wick: Chapter 4. Keanu Reeves, who plays the titular hitman, will once again reprise his role in the franchise sequel directed by Chad Stahelski, Reeves’ Matrix stuntman. 

The film is scheduled for release on March 24 and will follow Reeves’ hitman as he reveals a path to defeating the High Table, the council of crime lords who rules the underworld’s most powerful criminal entities.

The use of deepfakes, which are digitally altered videos that can create hyper-realistic images of people, has become a growing concern in the entertainment industry. 

The technology has the potential to be utilized for malicious purposes, like spreading fake news or creating misleading content. It’s a particularly concerning issue for Hollywood, where celebrities’ images and likenesses are often used to promote films and other media.

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John Wick 4

Despite these concerns, it appears that the creators of John Wick: Chapter 4 have no plans to use deepfakes in the film. While the use of cutting-edge technology is not new to the John Wick franchise, the emphasis has always been on practical effects and traditional stunt work. 

Stahelski, who has served the franchise since its inception, is known for his commitment to authenticity and realism in his action sequences.

In addition to the absence of deepfakes, fans can look forward to a new enemy for John Wick to face off against. The character will have powerful alliances across the globe, adding a new level of complexity to the franchise’s signature high-stakes action.

John Wick: Chapter 4 promises to be another thrilling installment in the hit franchise, with the focus on practical effects and traditional stunt work keeping the action grounded in reality. 

While the use of deepfakes remains a concern in the entertainment industry, it’s clear that the creators of John Wick: Chapter 4 are taking a more traditional approach to creating their explosive action scenes. Fans can expect to see Reeves back in action as the beloved hitman, taking on his toughest challenge yet.

Photo: Cheatsheet

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