Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story

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Actor Keanu Reeves is perhaps one of the most qualified actors in Hollywood to speak out on the topic of technology.

In 1999, he starred in ‘The Matrix’ which is still generating discussions about virtual worlds and artificial intelligence.

This March, Reeves’ latest sci-fi action film ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ will be released.

In his latest interview, he expressed his concern about the development of technology such as ChatGPT artificial intelligence and DeepfakeDeepfake technology, arguing that the market’s pursuit of technology may harm the creative industry.

“Artists should retain their independence. The sense of power in film certainly stems from novelty, special effects, and visuals, but when you see a great performance, it’s always the emotion and the story that moves you in it.”

Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story | FMV6

Neo’s Pill

Red pills or blue pills, reality or virtual, consumed in a beautiful dream or living in a painful reality ……

Twenty-four years later, the topic of virtual worlds and artificial intelligence in ‘The Matrix’ is closer to reality and more thought provoking for the audience.

Perhaps because of the role of ‘Neo’, a hacker bent on breaking the virtual shackles, Keanu Reeves has a more pointed view of the problems posed by artificial intelligence than many Hollywood actors.

ChatGPT is a global hit, and Angel Watercutter, a reporter for the authoritative tech media ‘Wired’ magazine, didn’t forget to ask Keanu Reeves in his latest interview if he thought he would one day be interviewed by a robot, rather than a human reporter.

Watercutter is optimistic: “I personally am not worried that this will happen in my lifetime.”

Keanu Reeves’ reaction was unexpected: “He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘Oh, no, you should be worried about that happening next month.'”

“At first I thought his reaction was too Gen X (the group born in the 1960s to 1980s that experienced the Internet from scratch and the bursting of the bubble),” Watercutter wrote, “but I immediately realized that (I was) in front of a man known for leading humanity against the machines and I immediately realized that (I was) in front of a man who was known for leading mankind against the machines and starting revolutions. Of course, Reeves isn’t just a character he’s played, but when Neo tells you that agents are coming to get you, your first reaction is still: run.”

In March, Reeves’ latest sci-fi action film ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ will be released, marking his fourth time playing a hitman in the Cyberpunk martial arts ‘John Wick’ series.

Reeves was worried about technologies such as artificial intelligence Deepfake in the interview, arguing that the market’s pursuit of technology could harm the creative industry.

“Artists should retain their independence. The sense of power in film certainly stems from novelty, special effects, and visuals, but when you see a great performance, it’s always the emotion and the story that moves you in it.”

Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story | FMV6

Reeves revealed in a new interview in March that each of his film contracts includes a provision that his performances “cannot be digitally altered without his consent”.

“I don’t mind if the editor cuts out a wink,” Reeves told ‘Wired’ magazine, “but a long time ago, probably in the 1990s or early 2000s, they wanted to put a tear in my face. I was like, ‘What? Then I don’t need to perform here anymore.'”

“(Deepfake) is frustrating, it takes away the ownership of ourselves. When you perform for the camera, you know you’re going to be edited, but it’s still your performance. If you go into Deepfake faking territory, your performance loses its own point of view. It’s just too scary. It’s interesting to watch how humans are using these technologies. These technologies are having such a cultural, sociological impact.”

Reeves mentioned in the interview that he recently met a 15-year-old child who was born in 2008, when the Microsoft Explorer browser already existed and the Internet grew up with him.

When the great ‘Neo’ explained the plot of ‘The Matrix’ to him, explaining that ‘Neo’ was fighting for the real world in the story, the 15-year-old snickered, “Who cares what’s real?”

“People are growing up with the help of these tools. We’re listening to songs created by AI in ‘Nirvana style’ and looking at NFT digital art. These are cool, and so is seeing what these lovely machines can make to write. But there is a question of cultural, social, and real values here. What determines the information we receive, the images we see?”

Reeves warned in the interview that ‘The Matrix’-like technology and world is a warning about reality: “The virtual world is like a kind of human consciousness (Sensorium), a strange spectacle, a control and operation. We are on our knees looking at images on caves that are projections of technology. (It occupies our attention.) We don’t have a chance to see what’s behind us, what’s next to us.”

Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story | FMV6

Technology for Keanu Reeves

Is Reeves too pessimistic about the development of technology? Perhaps it is because he has starred in a number of works that contemplate the relationship between people and technology that Reeves is thinking this way about technology and the art of film.

Reeves’ acting career can be seen as a footnote to the technical development of the Hollywood industry. The 186 cm tall, handsome actor has been a fan favorite since he entered the entertainment industry in the 1980s and was once named “the friendliest man in Hollywood” by the Internet.

Actress Sandra Bullock, who starred with him in ‘Speed’, recalls Reeves as “handsome, funny, gentle and romantic”: “He knew how to listen, which is so rare. We were talking on set and I mentioned that I had never had champagne or truffles. A few days later, Reeves showed up at my house out of the blue – he was actually going on a date with someone else, and he chose to stop by with champagne, truffles and flowers. My housemate and I were at home painting our nails, and Reeves just came in, shared the truffles with us, let us paint his nails, and went out on a date.”

Reeves was born in Lebanon and is of English, Portuguese, Hawaiian and Chinese descent, with “Reeves” meaning “the breeze that blows through the mountains” in Hawaiian.

Reeves, who lived in Australia, Hawaii and Canada as a child and was a hockey player, made his debut in 1979 with a small role in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television series before receiving commercials and making his way to the United States in Los Angeles.

In 1991, he played a rich son in the movie ‘My Own Private Idaho’, and has since played such drama roles as a vampire movie, a lawyer under the spell of the devil, a costumed aristocrat, and a wise and brave policeman.

It was science fiction that really launched Reeves’ career, and after the 1980s, with box office hits like ‘Star Wars’, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’, Hollywood studios increased their investment in science fiction films.

In 1995, Reeves played a “memory transporter” who uses the human brain to transmit information in the film ‘Johnny Mnemonic’. Many fans see it as the beginning of Reeves’ science fiction career.

Johnny Mnemonic’ is set in the year 2021 and is based on a novel by sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, with concepts such as “holographic projection” already present in the film.

During this period, innovative filming techniques and green screen technology were enablers in the service of Hollywood commercial blockbusters, and the development of the Internet brought ‘Cyberpunk’ from a niche genre of science fiction into the public eye.

The Matrix’ in 1999 was the fruit of the development of these two waves to their peak.

This discussion of reality and virtual, artificial intelligence control of human works combined with comics and Hong Kong martial arts films, the first use of green screen and more than 100 cameras to create “bullet time” such as space slow motion images.

‘The Matrix’ was the first film in history to be made with this technique.

Reeves later recalled in ‘Vanity Fair’ magazine that the sound of 100 cameras running at the same time on set “made everyone very excited”, and the “bullet time” filming technique has since been used in many films and television productions.

From the animated film ‘Shrek’ to the TV series ‘Sherlock’ to sporting events. But until the world enters the millennium, “there’s nothing like ‘The Matrix’, it’s just so cool”.

Filmed in a way ahead of its time, the theme of ‘The Matrix’ has been hailed as a science fiction classic: how should humans protect their reality in virtual worlds such as the Metaverse?

Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story | FMV6

“I love the storytelling and the angle of storytelling in these pieces,” Reeves said in a 2021 interview in Esquire magazine, “The act of telling a story represents a relationship. For me, art should both entertain and inspire or challenge the viewer.’ The Matrix’ represents a kind of questioning of life: What is truth? How do you fight against the system that controls you? What is free will and love? Who are we and how do we live? …… Of course, technology will always have an impact on storytelling, and there is a connection about the body, mind and world in works like ‘Johnny Mnemonic’.”

After ‘The Matrix’, Reeves has acted in romance and comedy films, but it is his science fiction work that attracts fans the most.

In 2001, Reeves’ girlfriend was killed in a car accident, and Reeves took on the ‘Replicas’ movie in his memory more than a decade later.

‘Replicas’ tells the story of scientist Foster who defies the laws of nature and uses a computer to revive his dead family members. Morality and technology clash again in this movie.

In 2015, he was the narrator of the documentary ‘Deep Web’ about the dark web, reviewing how this website, hidden in the corners of the internet, facilitates money laundering, terrorism, drug dealing and other criminal acts.

That’s not to say Reeves is averse to technology – he is indeed one of the few people in Hollywood who is openly wary of technological developments – but Reeves was also one of the first to embrace new technology as the Metaverse and artificial intelligence developments became more heated.

In 2022, he joined forces with his artist girlfriend Alexandra Grant to establish the Futureverse Foundation, which promotes the development of artists’ own NFT artworks through Web 3 and blockchain technology.

In a statement on the foundation’s founding, Reeves said he hopes that here, “technology will support artists and creators around the world.”

Rather than having an aversion to technology, ‘Neo’ is looking for ways to subdue technology and make it work for the artwork.

Chad Stahelski, director of ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ who worked on the ‘The Matrix’ series, said flatly in an interview that “‘John Wick’ is the child of ‘The Matrix’. He, like Reeves, was looking for ways to use special effects in the service of the story.

John Wick series about the dark killer Wick is determined to avenge the death of his beloved dog, at the expense of stirring up the major crime syndicates, “kill a blood road” Cyberpunk crime story.

The movie mixes Hong Kong kung-fu films, shoot-em-ups and sci-fi Cyberpunk style to develop a new genre called ‘Gun-Fu Movie’.

Chad Stahelski said in a ‘Wired’ interview that if the ‘The Matrix’ series has taught today’s sci-fi directors anything, it’s probably the border between technology and art, and that beyond the green screen, it’s always the emotion and reflection of the characters that captivates the audience: “We don’t have a problem with visual effects. Special effects technology is a great tool, but it can’t replace the blood, sweat and tears of real people.”

This also makes ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ one of the most anticipated film productions of 2023.

Movie culture website Collider commented that beyond the drag racing, weapons and jiu-jitsu, today’s fans are more interested in what kind of sci-fi story Reeves can come up with: “‘The Fast and Furious’ series is the best action film on the market today. The series has flawless fight scenes and impeccable storytelling, but by the fourth chapter, we’re eager to see what else the director can bring to the table that’s fresh.”

Keanu Reeves talks about AI: what moves people is always emotion and story | FMV6

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