September 25, 2023

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Matthew McConaughey on AI and how businesses fuel its risks

Matthew McConaughey has a bone to pick with AI. While excited by its disruptive potential, particularly as a research tool, the actor is frustrated by the apparent carelessness with which it is being developed.

“So many businesses are just sprinting forward with the idea of AI being about ‘How do we profit, profit, profit,’” he told Ad Age. “Well, profitable AI without trusted AI is going to be a short-term game with a future death sentence.”

The admonition is well-supported by leading technologists and researchers, who in May published an open letter warning about the extinction-level risks of advanced AI. And while major firms developing the tech are doing so with alleged albeit minimal limitations, accountability is particularly lacking with respect to enterprise players such as advertisers.

A new Salesforce campaign starring McConaughey, who is a brand ambassador, calls attention to this issue. In one 15-second spot, McConaughey, dressed head-to-toe in cowboy attire, struts into a small town with all the classic “old west” trappings—false-front architecture, towering cacti, a spookily whistling wind—only the entire backdrop was created by Stable Diffusion, a text-to-image AI generator.

“So if AI is the Wild West, well who’s the sheriff around here?” McConaughey asks.


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