Writers and actors have been speaking out this year about the threat of artificial intelligence to their respective crafts, with contention over AI playing a key role in the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Well, now Tom Hanks is a case study in what’s now possible.
He warned social media followers on Sunday that he has nothing to do with a dental plan using an AI version of the actor.
“BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me,” Hanks wrote. “I have nothing to do with it.”
The AI version of Hanks he shared looks a bit like a cross between the actor and his son Colin Hanks. A photo of Hanks that appears to have been used for the ad’s AI modeling was posted online as far back as 2014.
Hanks has been part of films where he voluntarily had his appearance digitally altered before. Those range from the CGI version of him in 2004’s “The Polar Express” to the forthcoming “Here,” set for release next year, which will include an AI de-aged Hanks. Hanks was also de-aged for flashbacks in “A Man Called Otto,” released at the beginning of this year.
“Here” will be using tech from Metaphysic.ai, best known as being behind the viral deepfake Tom Cruise. The actor who played Cruise in those clips, Miles Fisher, co-founded the company with the digital artist who helped create those deepfake videos, Kevin Umé, along with several others.
Hanks spoke about his concerns about AI with comedian Adam Buxton on Buxton’s podcast earlier this year.
“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but my performances can go on and on and on and on and on,” Hanks said on the podcast. He also acknowledged how “Polar Express” paved the way for this technology.
While Hanks and Buxton agreed that people will be able to tell the difference between the real and AI versions of an actor, Hanks didn’t think that mattered much.
“I think you might have more faith in the human condition than others,” Hanks said. “There are some people that won’t care.”