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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Tom Hanks Warns of AI Misuse in Advertising

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Hollywood star Tom Hanks has issued a cautionary note to his fans about a dental plan advertisement that falsely features his image, created using artificial intelligence (AI).

In an Instagram post to his 9.5 million followers, the actor clarified that his image was used without his consent.

"BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” Hanks warned, sharing a screenshot of the computer-generated image of himself from the ad.

The Oscar-winning actor has previously voiced concerns about the use of AI in film and television. Despite this, he has approved digitally altered versions of himself for film roles. For instance, the 2004 animated Christmas film 'The Polar Express' featured a CGI version of Hanks, and he was digitally de-aged in the 2022 film 'A Man Called Otto.'

During an April podcast with British comedian Adam Buxton, Hanks discussed the future of AI in Hollywood. He mentioned ongoing discussions among guilds, agencies, and legal firms about the intellectual property rights of an actor's face and voice.

Hanks highlighted the potential of AI to immortalise an actor's performance. He said, "I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on." He added that outside of the knowledge that it's been done with AI or deepfake, there would be nothing to suggest that it's not the actor alone, posing both an artistic and legal challenge.

The use of AI in generating unapproved likenesses of actors has been a significant issue in the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strike led by Sag-Aftra. The recent agreement between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television, which includes restrictions on AI use, could potentially influence the resolution of the actors' strike.

In the upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed film 'Here,' Hanks will play younger versions of his character using a tool from Metaphysic. The AI company claims to create “high-resolution photorealistic faceswaps and de-ageing effects on top of actors’ performances live and in real time without the need for further compositing or VFX work”. Despite this, Hanks' recent warning highlights the need for ethical and legal considerations in the growing intersection of AI and the entertainment industry.

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