Tom Hanks has told fans that a dental insurance advert that appears to feature him is, in fact, a hoax made by artificial intelligence.
The actor posted a message to his 9.5 million Instagram followers to clarify that his image had been 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,” he added.
Hanks has already discussed the "artistic challenge" that artificial intelligence presents to the movie industry, and this problem has been at the heart of recent strikes by prominent Hollywood actors and writers.
“I can tell you that there [are] discussions going on in all of the guilds, all of the agencies, and all of the legal firms to come up with the legal ramifications of my face and my voice—and everybody else’s—being our intellectual property," Hanks said recently on The Adam Buxton podcast.
Hanks also talked about the idea of using AI to extend performing artists' careers when he appeared on the British comedian's podcast in May.
“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. And it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge, but it’s also a legal one.”
Concerns regarding the possibility of artificial intelligence systems to produce increasingly lifelike deepfakes of real people have increased as these systems have become more powerful and sophisticated.
Several celebrities—including Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves—have had their likeness used in deepfakes, which are often used to scam people.
Instances like the recent Tom Hanks deepfake raise questions about the future direction of AI and how it will be used, and the pressing need for more regulations around the use of AI-driven synthetic media to prevent things like deepfakes being used by bad actors to trick or misinform viewers.
Other creative industries have also come up against challenges as generative AI accelerates. The music industry has been looking at ways to combat AI tools that make deep fake music that imitates artists’ voices, so it appears they are singing other people’s songs or even new material.
Earlier this year, a TikTok user's song with AI-generated vocals that resembled the Canadian singers Drake and the Weeknd was removed from streaming sites for "infringing content with generative AI" by Universal Music Group.
Since then, Google and Universal Music have announced they are looking at how to license the voices and melodies of artists for artificial intelligence-generated songs. The discussions are expected to touch on the prospect of a tool allowing fans to create AI-generated music while paying the appropriate copyright holders. The option to opt-in to the process would be given to the artists.
YouTube announced in August that it was partnering with record labels to monetise AI music. The platform said in a blog post it would invest in building its rights management system Content ID, update its policies on uploading manipulated content, and deploy generative AI tools to help detect videos that violate its rules.
Back in Hollywood, Hanks is just one of several actors and writers who have voiced concerns about the future of AI. In recent months, a series of strikes have impacted Hollywood, primarily fuelled by worries about being replaced by AI.
Recently, a tentative agreement was struck between studio executives and the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents screenwriters, to cease their industrial action. But a different disagreement involving actors, which is also partially driven by worries that AI may lead to fewer acting jobs, is still unsolved.Similar fears around AI replacing jobs are equally pervasive in the marketing industry. A recent report by software company Funnel, Marketing Data State of Play 2024, found that nearly two in three marketers fear AI may replace their jobs in the next five years, and three in four say AI tools will impact their pay or value.