Tom Hanks Wonders If Future Audiences Will Care Whether a Performance Is A.I.-Made or Not

Tom Hanks’ take on artificial intelligence hasn’t aged a day.

The Oscar winner, who credits Robert Zemeckis’ groundbreaking animated film “The Polar Express” with pioneering deepfake technology in film, weighed in on the current A.I. debate during “The Adam Buxton Podcast.”

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Hanks is confirmed to co-star opposite Robin Wright, Paul Bettany, and “Yellowstone” breakout Kelly Reilly in Zemeckis’ comic book adaptation “Here,” set across a series of years. The upcoming film will use Metaphysic AI technology to include deepfakes.

“This has always been lingering,” Hanks said. “The first time we did a movie that had a huge amount of our own data locked in a computer — literally what we looked like — was a movie called ‘The Polar Express.’ 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. Now, that has only grown a billion-fold since then, and we see it everywhere.”

Hanks added of the impact of A.I. on Hollywood, “I can tell you that there [are] discussions going on in all of the guilds, all of the agencies, and all of the legal firms in order to come up with the legal ramifications of my face and my voice — and everybody else’s — being our intellectual property.”

Yet the technology could mean that actors’ careers could last forever onscreen.

“What is a bona fide possibility 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,” Hanks said. “Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are, by way of A.I. or deep fake technology…I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but my performances can go on and on and on. Outside of the understanding that it’s been done by A.I. or deep fake, 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.”

The “Forrest Gump” actor noted of audiences, “Without a doubt, people will be able to tell, but the question is, will they care? There are some people that won’t care, that won’t make that delineation.”

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” features a de-aged Harrison Ford, with the actor revealing that it was essentially a deepfake of his own face placed over his current acting body. Marvel mega-producer Joe Russo speculated that entirely A.I.-generated films are “two years” away from being mainstream. The issue of A.I. potentially taking over writing roles has also been part of the ongoing WGA strike.

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