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Talk to me, Arni!Talk to me, Arni!

Talk to me, Arni!

Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals in our interview how technology is going to bring us joy in the future and why sustainability plays a defining role for him. At the same time, the iconic actor talks of the exciting future behind the wheel of the BMW i Vision Dee vision car.

5 January 2023

Arnold Schwarzenegger, BMW iVision Dee

Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger immersed himself in the role of a machine with emotions in one of his most defining films. For him, hardly anything embodies the unique combination of technology (➜ Read also: Experiencing the technology of the future today) and excitement more than a ride in a special vehicle. Even if this is from a time when the soundtrack to the road trip was still played on cassette. Automobiles have brought people together, connected people – and will continue to do so in the future. They make it possible to discover new, magical places. To experience moments that will linger forever in the memory. “Automobiles have a heart and soul, they are emotion,” Schwarzenegger reveals in a short film unveiled at CES in Las Vegas.

Vehicles have always needed the help of film and television technology to communicate feelings in this way. Many still think of “Knight Rider” from the famous US series screened from 1982 when it comes to an independently acting, talking car, at your side as a faithful companion in every situation. Until now.

Technology holds a

special fascination

Because now there is the BMW i Vision Dee – a vision vehicle that literally speaks for itself. What does it sound like? Discover a very special love story in the video. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger in dialog with the BMW i Vision Dee – and a guest appearance from an equally iconic duo.

Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals the emotional role automobiles play for him in the following interview, why technology holds a special fascination for him, why sustainability is a key factor, what he would like to see in the future and what the formula for his personal success looks like.

Interview with


At this year’s #NEXTGen (➜ Read also: Everything about the #NEXTGen), as part of CES in Las Vegas, Arnold Schwarzenegger presented, among other things, a special film featuring the BMW i Vision Dee. What does the actor and entrepreneur think of the BMW i Vision Dee? And how does he value the life of man and machine? We asked him.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, how would you describe Dee’s personality? Who does she remind you of?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Dee reminds me of me in Terminator 2. She learns quickly, and she cares about humans. Plus, she’s hilarious.

Dee was built to be the Ultimate Digital Companion. What did it feel like for you?

Schwarzenegger: At first you feel a little bit crazy talking to a machine, as any of you with iPhones knows. But eventually, it becomes second nature and you realize that this AI can help you, if you’re willing to use it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, BMW iVision Dee
That desire to discover or invent is part of our DNA as humans. Because we know we can grow our world, we just have to find the way to do it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

What do you think, are we as humans fundamentally looking for new ways to expand our world through technology?

Schwarzenegger: I think the history of humanity is the history of expanding our world through technology. You could talk about the printing press, or cars, or telephones, or airplanes, and all of those things expanded the world for the people living in it.

But go back even more. Imagine before someone discovered fire. They were eating food without any cooking, and when the sun went down, it was pure darkness and that was it for the day. So think about how that discovery expanded the world for humans back then. From one day to the next, they could sit around a fire at night eating delicious food and learning from each other.

That desire to discover or invent is part of our DNA as humans. Because we know we can grow our world, we just have to find the way to do it.

And where does that leave humans in the end? Is there anything that technology can’t improve for us? Or in another way – what is the role of digital technology?

Schwarzenegger: Technology has incredible potential to improve our lives, but it can also hurt us. It all depends on how we use it.

Look at social media. Social media has the potential to bring the whole world together. You can literally meet and learn from people on the opposite side of the world without ever leaving your bedroom. And sometimes it does bring the world together. But we’ve all learned now that it can also tear us apart. Governments all over the world wouldn’t invest in creating division on social media if it didn’t work. Opportunistic people with bad intentions can use that technology against us.

I wish all of us would only use technology in a way that makes our worlds better, but that’s just not the real world, so we do have to pay attention and constantly find ways to use technology positively to show people that it is meant to improve our lives, not destroy them.

How much does technology actually play a role in your life?

Schwarzenegger: I love technology. At my house, we have solar panels to decrease our pollution. My hummers, which everyone used to call gas-guzzlers, have all been converted to biofuel or electric, and I can drive them without guilt. During the pandemic, I could run all of my businesses and read scripts for my next movie and play chess with friends all over the world while just sitting in my backyard. Think about that! We would have never dreamed of that even 30 years ago!

What do you think will change about the joy of driving as it becomes more digital?

Schwarzenegger: I have to admit, as much as I love technology, I also love driving. And I love real buttons and switches in a car. But like I said in “Terminator”, I’m a learning computer. I have an open mind. I don’t like the idea of turning over the power to drive to a machine, but I’ll try it. And who knows, I might love getting to see all of the sights while the car gets me where I want to be?

Arnold Schwarzenegger, BMW iVision Dee

What does mobility mean to you personally?

Schwarzenegger: Mobility is how we get anywhere. You can have the biggest vision in the world, but you have to get from point A to point B somehow. Sometimes, for me, that means a bike. Sometimes, it means a motorcycle. Sometimes, it means a plane.

Where does your desire to become more involved in sustainability and environmental protection come from?

Schwarzenegger: When I ran for Governor, I didn’t plan on becoming an environmental crusader, I was focused on California’s broken political system and budget. But I surrounded myself with the best environmental advisors in the world. And I listened to them. What they told me convinced me that we had to act, and not just in a small way, but in a big way. Climate change is a big problem, but an even bigger, more immediate problem, is that seven million people die every year from pollution. That’s unacceptable, and it requires big thinking. So we enacted the toughest environmental laws in the world. People said, “California is just a state, it can’t stop global warming.”

What they forget is that California isn’t just a state. It’s the fifth largest economy in the world, and probably the most famous place on Earth. Everyone wants to come to California. Everyone wants to copy California. So to take one example of our laws, when we started the Million Solar Roofs Initiative with incentives for installing solar roofs, it obviously helped Californians afford solar power. But it did something much bigger than that. Our success in achieving a million solar roofs grew the market so rapidly that we brought down the cost of solar and made it more affordable for people all over the world.

When I see problems, no matter how big they are, I want to solve them. Even if everybody tells me it’s impossible. Impossible is just another way to say “nobody has done it yet.” So I thought I could use California’s huge stage to show the world that you can go green and create a booming economy. California has proven me right.

Where would you say we humans currently stand with a green agenda?

Schwarzenegger: The bad news is we have a lot of work to do, but the good news is, we have all the tools to do the work. We just have to be willing to use the technology. Environmentalists often say this is a a climate emergency, and then the same environmentalists will sue to stop wind farms or solar fields or nuclear plants - even when they know that stopping those projects means using more coal, more gas, more oil. It drives me nuts. This is an emergency, so we need to act like it.

Have you ever heard about how ancient doctors used to just cut people and let them bleed to cure illness? It sounds absurd to us now, but when I see environmentalists block clean technology projects, they remind me of those foolish doctors if they were sitting in an emergency room in a hospital with all the technology in the world, and bleeding us to death instead of using it.

Let’s use all the clean technology tools we have available to us to get off polluting fossil fuels as soon as humanly possible. That’s the only goal that should matter.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, BMW iVision Dee
I want us to evolve, to always look for the positive and not just complain about the negative. When you’re in that mindset, you have hope. And that’s when you can change the world.
Arnold Schwarzenegger

What do you think needs to evolve in the future?

Schwarzenegger: Well, I already told you my big vision for a world without fossil fuels, so I guess I need to come up with something bigger. I hope we can evolve to always seek – and find – hope. I think so many of our problems today are related to people becoming hopeless. They think nothing can ever get better, so they become bitter or apathetic.

I talked earlier about the downsides of social media. But for every bad story about some evil person using it against us, there is a story of hope. We just have to look for the hope. I just saw a story about a hundred year old man who loves getting christmas cards, and because thousands of people saw a post on social media, they sent him so many christmas cards they had to be delivered on pallets, and he was in heaven. Think about how simple that is. It took very little effort to give someone one of the greatest surprises of their life.

I want us to evolve to always look for the positive and not just complain about the negative. When you’re in that mindset, you have hope. And that’s when you can change the world.

Final question: What was the most important lesson you learned for yourself personally?

Schwarzenegger: My first rule of success: you have to have a vision. It all starts with vision. You can have the best plane in the world, but if you don’t know where you want to go, it’s worthless. Take the time to think about where you want to go, or where you want your company or your city or your country to go. That time you spend building your vision might seem like day-dreaming, but it’s the most valuable time you’ll ever spend. Because once you can see the vision in front of you, like I saw myself standing on stage holding a bodybuilding title, nothing feels too hard. You have a purpose. You know what you’re working for, so it doesn’t even feel like work. You can handle the obstacles that will inevitably get in your way and get up from the failures, because you have that vision in front of you, and that is all that matters.

Author: Markus Löblein, Nadja Dilger; Art: Lucas Lemuth, Ha My Le Thi; Photos: BMW; Video: BMW

BMW i Vision Dee

BMW i Vision Dee

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