Illustration by TIME; reference image courtesy of Cristóbal Valenzuela

To the actors in Hollywood, striking in part over concerns that AI will increasingly be used to generate movie scenes, Cristóbal Valenzuela might be public enemy No. 1.

Valenzuela is co-founder and CEO of Runway, one of the most prominent AI-video-generation companies. Since its founding in Brooklyn in 2018, Runway has raised over $200 million, and its technology has been used by editors working on the Oscar-winning 2022 movie Everything Everywhere All at Once, and by Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show. Valenzuela thinks “we’re heading towards a world where all the media and content entertainment you consume will be [AI] generated.” (Investors in Runway include Salesforce, where TIME co-chair and owner Marc Benioff is CEO.)

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But Valenzuela, 33, doesn’t see Runway’s mission as being in conflict with the creation of cultural value. “I started Runway after going to art school and the three founders met in art school,” he says. “We’ve always thought about the company as a company that’s driven to help serve artists, because that’s where we’re coming from.”

Still, Valenzuela concedes that, if the technology progresses as he imagines that it will, many jobs in the creative industry will cease to exist. That’s not exactly new, he points out. “We used to have orchestras in theaters,” he says. “There’s no orchestra playing music for silent movies, because we’ve assumed collectively having talkies, or movies with sound, is better than having an orchestra.”

Valenzuela hopes that AI tools will allow more people to share their stories. “I actually truly believe the best era of cinema is to come, the best movies are yet to be made. We haven’t seen stories from around the world from people that we might have never heard before, because the craft of filmmaking used to be and it still is extremely expensive and difficult to understand and work with. The moment you start making that technology more accessible, more people will be able to become and consider themselves filmmakers. And I think that’s what really matters.”

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