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Tom Hanks warns of AI-generated ad using his likeness

Tom Hanks has warned his fans not to be fooled by a video ad circulating online that appears to show him endorsing a dental plan.

The ad has apparently been created using an artificial intelligence-powered tool that’s able to mimic his voice and closely match his lip movements to his spoken words.

The Hollywood star took to his Instagram account on Sunday to say that the AI-generated ad has nothing to do with him.

“BEWARE!!” Hanks began his post. “There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.” His words were pasted over an image of a younger-looking Hanks, though it’s not clear if the shot was taken directly from the dental ad.

Tom Hanks' message on Instagram warning about an AI-generated ad that uses his likeness.
Tom Hanks

Hanks declined to share the details of the ad, and it’s not clear who created it.

The growing ease with which new AI-powered tools can impersonate individuals suggests such scams will become a growing problem for celebrities, or indeed for anyone with a lot of video content online that features their face and voice.

AI technology is advancing all the time, and one of the issues in the ongoing actors strike concerns the degree to which movie studios will be able to use AI to create likenesses of movie stars.

Speaking on The Adam Buxton Podcast earlier this year, Hanks said: “We saw this coming. We saw that there was going to be this ability to take zeros and ones inside a computer and turn them into a face and a character. Now that has only grown a billion-fold since then, and we see it everywhere.”

He added that if he was suddenly no longer here, the technology now exists for him to appear in new movies.

“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on,” the star said. “Outside the understanding of AI and 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.”

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