More People Come Forward To Warn People About The Use Of Their Image
Tom Hanks, the celebrated actor and producer, that has graced our televisions for decades. Has taken to social media to caution his fans regarding a video advertisement promoting a dental plan featuring his likeness and voice, which was actually created by artificial intelligence (AI).
The Oscar-winning actor posted a screenshot of this computer-generated version of himself on his Instagram account on October 2, 2023, with a stark warning: “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 is not the only one that has sparked out rage about this, we wrote about Zelda Williams the daughter of the late robin williams voicing her concerns over use of her fathers image and voice.
The Era of Deepfakes
Hanks has joined the growing list of celebrities who have fallen prey to deepfakes—a phenomenon characterized by the creation of highly realistic yet wholly synthetic images or videos of individuals, generated by AI algorithms.
While deepfakes can serve a range of purposes, including entertainment, education, or satire, they simultaneously pose serious threats to privacy, security, and democracy. These malevolent applications include spreading disinformation, character defamation, political impersonation, and manipulation of public opinion.
AI’s Impact on the Entertainment Industry
Tom Hanks has previously expressed concerns regarding AI’s impact on the film and TV industry, with a particular focus on the rights and livelihoods of actors and creatives. In a podcast interview with British comedian Adam Buxton in May 2023, Hanks delved into the legal implications of actors’ faces and voices serving as their intellectual property.
Hanks noted, “Right now, if I wanted to, I could get together and pitch a series of seven movies that would star me in them in which I would be 32 years old from now until kingdom come. Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI or deepfake technology.” He acknowledged that this presents both an “artistic challenge” and a “legal one.”
SAG-AFTRA’s Ongoing Strike
Tom Hanks’ statement aligns with the ongoing strike organized by SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors and performers within the film and TV industries. Central to this strike is the issue of AI and digital doubles’ utilization in media and entertainment, which holds the potential to replace or exploit the labor of human actors.
SAG-AFTRA has vociferously demanded that actors be granted the right to provide consent and actively negotiate the terms and conditions concerning their digital likenesses and voices. The union has further called for heightened transparency and accountability from producers and studios employing AI and digital replicas.
Several actors have already reported instances where their images and voices were scanned and used in AI applications without their knowledge or consent. Additionally, they harbor concerns that their likenesses could be harnessed to train AI programs, leading to the development of full-body replicas. Other celebrities have voiced their concerns about the use of AI like actress Whoopi Goldberg.
AI Fakes and Their Impact on Celebrities
Tom Hanks’ situation is not unique, as several other actors have encountered AI fakes. In September 2023, consumer financial expert Martin Lewis took legal action against Facebook for permitting scammers to employ his image in fraudulent cryptocurrency advertisements. Furthermore, in August 2023, a deepfake video featuring former U.S. President Donald Trump endorsing a fictitious candidate for California governor gained widespread online attention.
Addressing the Challenge of AI Fakes
AI-generated fakes are progressively advancing in sophistication and accessibility, which poses a significant challenge to online information verification and the safeguarding of personal identities and reputations. Experts have underscored the necessity for increased regulation and education to combat the misuse of AI fakes.