Dolly Parton, Arnold Schwarzenegger weigh in on AI debate

Country music legend Dolly Parton said she did not want AI technology to “ground” her on Earth, while actor Arnold Schwarzenegger remarked that Terminator had “become a reality.”

Show business heavyweights Dolly Parton and Arnold Schwarzenegger have offered their views on AI technology as its use in the entertainment industry becomes an increasingly contentious issue.

Speaking at a press conference in London, Parton said that she was uninterested in having an AI replica to carry on with her legacy after she dies because she was worried the technology could “ground” her soul on Earth.

“I think I’ve left a great body of work behind, and I don’t know how they’ll keep me around,” she said. “I’ll have to decide how much of that high-tech stuff I want to be involved [in] because I don’t want to leave my soul here on this Earth.”

“I think with some of that stuff I feel like I’ll be grounded here forever, so when I’m gone I want to fly with it, you know,” the singer behind hits like Jolene and 9 to 5 told the audience.

“But I’ll be around, we’ll find ways to keep me here,” she said.

Parton joked that “everything” she had, including “any intelligence,” was artificial anyway, according to The Independent.

The singer, who was in the UK to promote her upcoming album Rockstar, was responding to a question of whether she’d ever considered having an AI hologram of herself perform a tour, as done by Abba.

The Swedish pop band opened a concert residency in London last year featuring their virtual avatars.

Everyone “frightened” of AI

Meanwhile, during an event in Los Angeles, Schwarzenegger said that director and writer James Cameron predicted the future of AI in his 1984 sci-fi action movie Terminator. He said the fantasy had “become a reality,” according to People.

“Today, everyone is frightened of it, of where this is gonna go," Schwarzenegger said. "And in this movie, in Terminator, we talk about the machines becoming self-aware and they take over,” he noted.

Schwarzenegger, who played a time-traveling cyber assassin in the movie, praised Cameron’s “brilliance of writing” that “scratched the surface of AI.”

“Now, over the course of decades, it has become a reality. So it's not any more fantasy or kind of futuristic. It is here today. And so this is the extraordinary writing of Jim Cameron,” Schwarzenegger said during an evening to promote his Taschen photo album.

Limiting the use of AI in movies and television is one of the demands of the ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike, in addition to higher pay and job security.

The threat of Hollywood actors also going on strike was temporarily averted on Friday (June 30th) after the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) agreed to extend contract talks with major studios for another 12 days.

Among other concerns, the union representing thousands of film and television actors warned that the ability of AI to recreate the performance of its members was a “real and immediate threat.”

AI is already used extensively in film and television production, from de-aging stars to content recommendations on streaming services. Netflix co-founder Marc Randoplh said last month he was “excited” about AI and that automated screenwriting could benefit the industry.

There’s greater pushback against the use of the technology in the music industry. The Grammys ruled out AI nominations, and a number of musicians, including Nick Cave and Daft Punk, have expressed concern about its use. Other artists, however, including Grimes, have embraced it.