‘I have nothing to do with it’: Tom Hanks warns fans not to fall for deepfake advert

Tom Hanks has warned his 9.5 million Instagram followers not to fall for an advert that appears to use his face but which he says is using an artificial intelligence (AI) version of him, without his authorisation.

The two-time Oscar winner wrote: “Beware!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it”.

He shared a still of a computer-generated image from the video, showing what looked like a young Hanks, dressed in a black shirt and suit jacket.

Hanks disabled comments on the post.

Deepfakes are realistic yet fabricated videos created by AI algorithms, often using celebrities and high-profile people to make moving images of fake events.

The Hollywood star has previously been vocal about the use of AI in the entertainment industry.

Next year, Hanks will appear in the Robert Zemeckis movie Here, about a small space and the people who come into it across multiple decades. The film will use an AI tool to de-age younger versions of his character on screen.

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And back in 2004, children’s fantasy movie The Polar Express was the first feature-length film created entirely using motion capture technology, creating a highly realistic 3D world that was neither drawing nor reality – but somewhere in between.

A box office and critical hit, some felt the “uncanny valley” effect of the movie (the unsettling feeling caused by something that looks almost human, but not quite) made it uncomfortable viewing.

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Hanks talked about the unstoppable march of AI technology on The Adam Buxton Podcast earlier this year.

He said the ability to manipulate human likenesses “inside a computer” had now “grown a billionfold,” adding that now “we see it everywhere”.

He went on to say: “I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on.

“Outside the understanding of AI and 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.”

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Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves are among the many other stars who have been the subject of widely viewed unauthorised deepfakes.

AI has been at the forefront of industry conversations recently, with both US actors and writers striking over issues including better safeguards against unauthorised use of their images though AI.

The writers’ strike ended last week after 150 days of dispute, with the writers successfully arguing that storylines generated by AI will not be seen as “source” material, and writers cannot be made to use the technology in their work.

The actors’ strike, which started on 14 July, is ongoing.

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