- Quick take: Tom Hanks warns about a deceptive dental ad using an AI replica of his likeness.
- Core insight: While Tom Hanks has occasionally embraced digital representations in film, he underscores the profound challenges—both artistic and legal—of AI and deepfake technologies creating perpetual, almost indistinguishable replicas of actors.
- What’s next: The usage of AI in entertainment may necessitate robust legal frameworks, addressing intellectual property rights tied to an individual’s image and voice.
Tom Hanks has recently alerted his followers about a dental ad misleadingly featuring an AI rendition of his image.
Addressing his vast audience of 9.5 million on Instagram, Hanks clarified, “BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” reinforcing his statement with a snapshot of the manipulated visual from the advertisement.
The misleading dental ad sparks a broader debate on AI’s role in media for Tom Hanks
The acclaimed actor has previously voiced apprehensions regarding AI’s integration in the cinematic domain. Despite such reservations, he hasn’t completely distanced himself from digitally enhanced portrayals. For instance, 2004’s enchanting Christmas tale, The Polar Express, showcased a computer-aided visual of Tom Hanks. Additionally, viewers witnessed a younger version of the actor in the 2022 release, A Man Called Otto.
In a candid conversation with British humorist Adam Buxton during his podcast in mid-April, right on the cusp of the Hollywood writers’ strike, Hanks reflected on AI’s expansive potential in visual media. He noted, “We saw this coming. We saw that there was going to be this ability to take zeros and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character. Now that has only grown a billionfold since then, and we see it everywhere.”
“I can tell you that there [are] discussions going on in all of the guilds, all of the agencies, and all of the legal firms to come up with the legal ramifications of my face and my voice – and everybody else’s – being our intellectual property. Right now if I wanted to, I could get together and pitch a series of seven movies that would star me in them in which I would be 32 years old from now until kingdom come. Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI or deepfake technology,” he added.
Tom Hanks expressed to Buxton the unsettling reality of AI enabling a replicated version of him to perpetually dominate the silver screen:
“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on. And outside of the understanding that it’s been done with AI or deepfake, there’ll be nothing to tell you that it’s not me and me alone. And it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge, but it’s also a legal one.”
The recent conclusion of the US writers’ strike illuminated AI’s growing influence in the entertainment realm. A significant contention during the strike revolved around the potential for unbridled AI to encroach upon the originality of creatives. Subsequently, the Writers Guild of America reached a consensus with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television, establishing guidelines on AI’s role in cinematic and television projects.
Contrastingly, the impasse with Sag-Aftra, the union vouching for Hollywood actors, remains unresolved. With its commencement following the writers’ strike, the actors’ protest primarily revolves around equitable compensation and the ethical considerations of AI reproducing unendorsed actor representations. The recently settled agreement with the writers kindles hopes for a potential resolution for the ongoing actors’ strike.
The featured image was created using AI and is solely for representational purposes.
Credit: Kerem Gülen/Midjourney