As the rise of artificial intelligence continues to weave its way into various sectors, the entertainment industry, particularly Hollywood, is grappling with the growing issue of AI-generated images and videos, often referred to as deepfakes.

The Deepfake Dilemma

Tom Hanks, an esteemed actor in the film industry, recently took to social media to caution his followers about an advertisement allegedly featuring him. To Hanks’ dismay, this ad, which promoted a dental plan, was crafted using an AI-fabricated version of the actor. “I have nothing to do with it,” Hanks stressed. His revelation serves as a stark reminder of the potential misuse of such technology, especially when unsuspecting consumers might be misled by the fraudulent use of a trusted face.

A Threat Beyond Hollywood

The problem extends beyond Hollywood. Deepfakes have also been utilized to create misleading representations of public figures, such as former US President Donald Trump and current Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, thereby amplifying online misinformation. Google has responded to this growing concern by mandating political ads on its platform to disclose any use of AI in their creation.

Moreover, AI manipulations have sometimes been utilized in revenge schemes, with deepfakes appearing in explicit content. The severity of these instances led the government in England and Wales to fortify the law, making the prosecution of culprits more straightforward.

An Artistic Challenge

Deepfakes aren’t solely viewed through a negative lens. The technology has enabled virtual concerts like those of the band Abba, offering audiences a unique experience. Tom Hanks, in his appearance on the Adam Buxton podcast, explored the potential of AI in extending the careers of performing artists. He remarked on the possibility of recreating artists at various ages using deepfake technology.

Yet, with these innovations come significant challenges. The potential for actors to be supplanted by AI versions of themselves has caused unrest in Hollywood. Prominent shows such as Stranger Things and The Last of Us have felt the impacts of strikes driven by AI-related concerns. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has recently reached an agreement over these concerns, though disputes with actors persist.

A Rising Tide of Warnings

Tom Hanks isn’t the sole voice raising alarms. Gayle King, co-host of “CBS Mornings”, revealed that her AI-generated likeness was used for a deceptive advertisement about a weight loss product. Like Hanks, King affirmed no association with the company or product in question.

Such incidents underline the pressing need for clear regulations and guidelines surrounding AI-generated content, especially when it involves public figures.

Treading Carefully with AI

While the advancement of AI presents numerous opportunities, it also brings forth ethical and legal challenges. As discussions around intellectual property rights for an actor’s face and voice gain momentum, the industry and policymakers must strike a balance that respects individual rights and encourages technological progress.

In this evolving landscape, policy experts in the United States are indicating that the journey towards drafting comprehensive rules for AI is just beginning. The road ahead, undoubtedly, will require meticulous navigation to ensure the responsible and ethical use of AI.