Fuming Tom Hanks says he had nothing to do with that AI dental ad clone of him

I'm not a smart man, but I know it should be cast away

Updated A dental healthcare advert featuring what looks like a younger Tom Hanks dressed in a black suit is fake and AI-generated, the Forrest Gump actor has warned.

"BEWARE!!" Hanks yelled on Instagram. "There's a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it."

The Saving Private Ryan mega-star is no stranger to having his likeness duplicated using technology for the big screen. His face was legally copied and animated for Christmas family flick The Polar Express, for example. But his appearance in the dental plan ad, however, was generated without his consent using AI, or so Hanks says. 

It's easy to create deepfakes, which are bogus videos and pictures output by machine-learning software to make a person appear to say or do something they haven't. Off-the-shelf applications can be used to create this material from even a small data set – a set of pics or recordings of the person you're trying to imitate – and in some cases, the process can be as simple as describing the deepfake you want to a powerful large language model, which may automatically generate the desired fake footage.

These capabilities are alarming, the legal situation may be fuzzy, and all in all, it's a situation that's not going to disappear.

An AI-generated Bruce Willis was used for an advert promoting the Russian telecommunications company MegaFon, for example. Willis denied any involvement with Deepcake, the startup that helped create the ad.

Extras have spoken out about their fears that their likenesses could be scanned and used to create fake AI body doubles, allowing production companies to perpetually use the computer-generated images and avoid rehiring the extras. Members of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), a union representing hundreds of thousands of workers in the media and entertainment industry in the US, are currently on strike in part over the use of AI in entertainment. 

SAG-AFTRA is negotiating with Hollywood trade group the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to increase wages, restrict the use of AI, and improve health and retirement benefits. "The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, AI," Fran Drescher, the union's president and actress, previously said.

"If we don't stand tall right now we are all going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business, who cares more about Wall Street than you and your family," she added.

Last week, AMPTP and the Writer's Guild of America reached an agreement to improve working conditions, salaries, and protect screenwriters against generative AI. ®

Updated to add

Mr Beast – the stupendously successfully YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson – has also complained that an AI fake of him was used in an ad to push an iPhone giveaway. Get used to this new era of bogus ML-driven celeb endorsements.

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