Even after death, thanks to artificial intelligence, it may not be the last we hear from Tom Hanks.
The actor says there’s a “bona fide possibility” that the show will continue long after his death, as the AI will immortalize the actors on screen through posthumous content.
“Anyone at any age can now recreate themselves using AI or deepfake technology,” Hanks said during a May 12 appearance on “The Adam Buxton Podcastwhile promoting his debut novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.
“I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and that’s it, but my achievements can always go on,” he added.
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Hanks said AI has become so mature that, disclaimers aside, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to distinguish between “lifelike quality” and AI, which presents “an artistic but also a legal challenge.”
However, presenter Adam Buxton said he believes audiences can “tell” the difference between the actual actor and an AI-generated portrayal of him, due to stylistic choices and human actions that make his performances unique, but onstage technology would be lost. And while Hanks agreed, he wondered if audiences would mind.
“No doubt people will be able to recognize it, but the question is, will they care?” he said. “There are some people who don’t care and don’t do this performance.”
Hanks added that there are major legal discussions to protect actors’ likenesses through intellectual property, but that an AI version of him wouldn’t be too taxing thanks to his work in animation.
“The first time we did a film that had a huge amount of our own data stored in a computer — literally, how we looked — was a film called ‘The Polar Express,'” he said.
When it was released in 2004, the animated film was considered “technologically groundbreaking” because it used motion capture technology to transform its performance from a sound stage into three-dimensional animation CNN.
“We saw that coming, we saw that there was going to be this ability to take zeros and ones in a computer and make a face and a character out of it,” he continued. “It’s only grown a billion times since then and we’re seeing it everywhere.”