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Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible influences how the US will regulate the development of AI

Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One's AI villain might have driven POTUS to sign an Executive Order

Promotional image from Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One
Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise has been one of the most dominant forces at the box office for decades now, with his Mission: Impossible franchise bringing in more than $4 billion in global ticket sales. However, the spy thrillers might have done more than just push ticket sales: this year's Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One might have had a slight influence on the decision-making of President Joe Biden, of all people.

Earlier this week, Biden announced an executive order that was aimed at providing guidelines for how artificial intelligence is used and developed in the US. In an interview with the Associated Press, Deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed explained that this was a decision that was months in the making. The President, Reed explained, was both “impressed and alarmed” by the emerging technology long before he sat down to watch Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, which features a rogue AI sinking a submarine in the film’s opening.

The actual timeline of when Biden watched the film is unclear in the interview, but it definitely seems as if the Tom Cruise-led action spectacle at least contributed to the President’s fears about how AI could be used to cause chaos. “If he hadn’t already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about,” explains Reed, who reportedly watched the movie with Biden. The fictional AI in the movie, known as The Entity, is clearly more advanced than the generative learning models currently used to write terrible term papers and make deep fake ads of Hollywood icons, but the concept has captured the world’s attention.

Sure, Tom Cruise might not have actually influenced major government policy in the same way Upton Sinclair did with The Jungle, but the fear of out-of-control AI that Dead Reckoning portrays is apparently potent enough that the most powerful person on the planet is paying attention.

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