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A deepfake of Tom Hanks endorsing a dental plan sparked a warning from the actor

An AI-generated Hanks is duping people about healthcare.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Oct 2, 2023   Updated on Oct 2, 2023, 9:24 am CDT

Hollywood actor Tom Hanks has urged his fans not to fall for a deepfake video that purports to show him endorsing a dental plan.

In a post on Instagram, Hanks shared a screenshot from the AI-generated video that alerted his more than 9.5 million followers of the hoax.

“BEWARE!!” Hanks began. “There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.”

No further information was provided by Hanks, such as where the video had been circulating and what dental company was reportedly behind it.

Hanks has previously discussed both what he sees as positives and negatives with AI in regard to its use in the entertainment industry.

During a podcast interview in April, Hanks said that he has long been aware of AI-like tools since starring in the 2004 Christmas movie The Polar Express, which featured a CGI version of the actor.

“And 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,” he said. “Now, that has only grown a billionfold since then, and we see it everywhere.”

The Oscar winner went on to detail the current struggles in Hollywood among actors who are concerned over their likeness being used once their careers have ended.

“I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but my performances can go on and on and on,” Hanks said. “And outside of the understanding that it’s been done by 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. And that is certainly an artistic challenge, but it’s also a legal one.”

Hanks’ comments were made just months before the recently-ended Hollywood writers’ strike. The Writers Guild of America approved an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers last week that included guardrails for the use of AI technology.

Actors, like Hanks, are still striking.

Hanks is far from the first high-profile figure to have their likeness used without permission to promote content online. Deepfake versions of individuals such as billionaire Elon Musk, for example, are regularly used by scammers in order to promote cryptocurrencies.

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*First Published: Oct 2, 2023, 9:22 am CDT