Tom Hanks Exposes AI Clone In Misleading Ad, Says 'The Polar Express' Was Early Warning Sign

Zinger Key Points
  • Tom Hanks warns against unauthorized AI depictions, talks about deepfake’s growing implications in the film industry
  • The actor said he saw AI coming as early as 2000 during the production of The Polar Express: "That is only grown a billion-fold since then."

Tom Hanks on Sunday alerted fans via Instagram to a misleading promotional video for a dental plan featuring an AI-generated representation of him, saying he has no association with it.

The well-known actor previously expressed his concerns regarding the implications of AI and deepfake technologies in creative industries, saying that the tech will be able to render performances of other actors, including himself, even after they're dead.

Hanks’s Experience With AI: Hanks, in an April podcast with Adam Buxton, said he saw that AI was going to be the future of film production as early as 2000 when he was filming "The Polar Express," recalling that there was extensive data and likeness storage during the production of the movie.

“We saw this coming, we saw that there was going to be this ability in order to take zeros and ones inside a computer and turn it into a face and a character,” Hanks said. “Now, that has only grown a billion-fold since then.”

The two time Oscar-winning actor continued, "I could get together and pitch a series of seven movies that would star me, and in which I would be 32 years old from now until kingdom come. Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age by way of AI or deep fake technology."

Read also: SAG-AFTRA Members Approve Strike Action Against Video Game Firms

Why It Matters: AI representation is a key issue in the backdrop of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, where discussions and negotiations are intensifying regarding rights, residuals, and protections against AI replacements.

SAG-AFTRA members are hoping to secure protections similar to those gained by the Writers Guild, but the varied demands of different performance sectors within the union, including actors, dancers, and stunt people, complicate the negotiations.

AI tech represents an existential threat to all actors — especially to background actors — some of whom have already experienced body scanning for reuse, according to NPR.

While the entertainment industry is hopeful for a swift resolution to the ongoing strikes and is optimistic about securing protections against AI replacements, the actors’ diverse and specific needs are expected to prolong the negotiation process with the studios’ trade association.

Read next: Robin Williams’ Daughter Slams AI Voice Replications Of Late Father Amid SAG-AFTRA Strikes: ‘A Horrendous Frankensteinian Monster’

Photo: Shutterstock

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