AI version of Tom Hanks used in dental plan ad without his consent

The deepfake mania has caught up with Tom Hanks, a decorated Hollywood star. He’s now warned his fans that an ad for a dental plan is using a fake, computer-generated likeness of him without his approval.

In a message posted to his 9.5 million followers on Instagram, a Meta-owned social network, Hanks stressed that his image, promoting a dental plan, was used without his permission.

“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 wrote over a screenshot of a clip now unavailable online.

The star of Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan has not shied away from approving digitally altered versions of himself in film. For instance, Hanks was de-aged in several scenes in the 2022 movie A Man Called Otto.

Besides, Hanks will play younger versions of his character using a tool from Metaphysic, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, in the film Here, directed by Robert Zemeckis and set for release in 2024.

“We can create high-resolution photorealistic face swaps and de-aging effects on top of actors’ performances live and in real-time without the need for further compositing or VFX (visual effects) work,” Metaphysic said in a blog post.

Hanks himself has mused about the use of AI in the film industry. Speaking on a podcast in April, the actor said that AI could allow a fake version of him to continue acting in perpetuity.

“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,” said Hanks.

“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 legal bit is certainly one that the industry has been expressing worry about. Just last week, the Writers Guild of America finally ended their five-month-long strike after, among other things, agreeing with the studios that AI use in film and TV should be restricted.

However, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has also been on strike and has not yet ended it. Actors are concerned over the use of AI in generating unlicensed digital replicas of them.

What’s more, there’s talk of entirely new fake Hollywood stars – entirely AI-generated actors – entering town and working alongside real people.

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