Tom Hanks has warned his fans that an ad for a dental plan that appears to use his image is actually fake and was created using artificial intelligence.
In a message posted to his 9.5 million Instagram followers, the actor said his image had been used without his permission. “BEWARE!! There is a video promoting a dental plan with an AI version of me. I had nothing to do with it,” Hanks wrote over a screenshot of a computer-generated image of himself from the clip.
The Oscar winner has expressed concerns in the past about the use of AI in film and television, although he has not hesitated to endorse digitally altered versions of himself in films.
The 2004 computer-animated Christmas fantasy The Polar Express featured a CGI version of Hanks. He was also de-aged in scenes in the 2022 film A Man Called Otto.
Speaking with British comedian Adam Buxton on his podcast on April 18, just days before the Hollywood writers’ strike began, Hanks said of AI: “We saw this coming. We saw that there would be this ability to take zeros and ones in a computer and turn them into a face and a character. Since then, that number has only increased by a billion, and we see it everywhere.
“I can tell you that there are ongoing discussions at every guild, every agency and every law firm to determine the legal ramifications of my face and voice – and everyone else’s – being our intellectual property.
“Right now, if I wanted to, I could get together and present a series of seven films that I would star in and be 32 years old in from now until the kingdom comes. who can now recreate himself at any age thanks to AI or deepfake technology.
Hanks told Buxton that the AI could allow a fake version of him to continue acting in perpetuity.
“I might get hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but the performances can go on and on.” And if we don’t understand that this was done with AI or deepfake, nothing will tell you that it’s not me and me alone. And it will have a certain degree of realistic quality. It is certainly an artistic challenge, but it is also a legal challenge.
The US writers’ strike ended last week, with one of the main sticking points being fears that unchecked AI could harm the work of creatives. The Writers Guild of America has approved an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television that includes restrictions on how AI can be used in film and television.
However, Sag-Aftra – the union representing Hollywood actors – remains on strike, meaning most productions cannot resume. The actors’ strike began a few months after the writers’ strike, with wages, as well as concerns over the use of AI to generate unapproved actor likenesses, at the heart of the dispute. It is hoped that the writers’ agreement could help end the Hollywood actors’ strike.
In the film Here directed by Robert Zemeckis, scheduled for release next year, Tom Hanks will play younger versions of his character using a Metaphysic tool. The AI company said it can create “high-resolution photorealistic face swaps and de-aging effects on top of live, real-time actor performances without the need for compositing or effects work additional visuals”.