If the US President is taking cues on AI from Mission: Impossible, could the franchise give him some good ideas regarding other pressing matters?
US President Joe Biden signed yesterday (31 October) an executive order to establish new standards and security measures surrounding artificial intelligence (AI).
Now, the White House has shared the unlikely influence of a certain film on Joe Biden’s concerns regarding AI: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
Deputy White House chief of staff Bruce Reed said the executive order was partly informed by Biden’s “worry” after watching the latest Tom Cruise adventure.
“If (Biden) hadn’t already been concerned about what could go wrong with AI before that movie, he saw plenty more to worry about,” Reed told the Associated Press.
The Chief of Staff is said to have watched the film alongside the President at Camp David.
Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One features a sentient AI villain known as "The Entity", which can hijack submarines, manipulate video footage and impersonate human voices.
Reed said Biden had witnessed AI technology create “fake AI images of himself (and) of his dog”, and had seen it perform “the incredible and terrifying technology of voice cloning”.
The action items of Biden’s executive order will be carried out in the next 90 to 365 days, as part of what the White House described as “the most sweeping actions ever taken to protect Americans from the potential risks of AI systems”.
While reviews for the seventh M:I film were broadly positive, we thought it was comfortably the franchise’s least memorable adventure – and possibly the worst instalment yet.
The use of AI as the parasitic antagonist was an interesting aspect, but the topical use of "The Entity" - which visually resembles a cross between a 21st century Eye of Sauron and gaping digital sphincter - ended up being a zeitgeist-capturing bit that couldn’t salvage the film.
“Rather fittingly considering the AI threat, the script seems to have been ChatGPT-ed,” we wrote in our review. “An overplayed and lazy comparison though that may be, but we’re truly not far from the truth here. And while no one comes to a Mission: Impossible film for the clever repartee, the previous films all managed to deliver very serviceable dialogue. This seventh adventure goes full Fast and Furious corny, and it’s as dumb as a sack of doorknobs.”
Cinematic quality aside, the White House’s recent comments are promising in the sense that the President is taking stock.
Perhaps the next instalment – the direct sequel to Part One – which has been delayed due to the ongoing actors strike could use the time to rewrite some sections to include some fearmongering about firearms...
Indeed, should the eighth M:I adventure take a 180° turn and concern itself with tighter gun regulations, maybe an executive order could be signed in order to lower the mass shootings in the US... As of writing, there have been more than 565 mass shootings across the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive - which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are injured or killed.
To put that figure in perspective, there have been more than 600 mass shootings each year for the last three years - almost two a day on average. 2020 saw 610 mass shootings; 690 in 2021; and 647 in 2022.
So, until 23 May 2025 – the new release date of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two (which is rumoured to get a new title), we here at Euronews Culture are ready and willing to retool the script if needs be.
And we hope President Biden will be watching.