Tom Hanks says AI could see him featuring in movies long after his death

Tom Hanks says he can see a future where AI plays him in movies long after his death.
Tom Hanks says he can see a future where AI plays him in movies long after his death. Photo credit: Getty Images

Actor Tom Hanks believes that he could keep appearing in new movies after he dies thanks to the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

“What is a bona fide possibility right now, if I wanted to, [is] 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 told the latest episode of The Adam Buxton Podcast.

“Anybody can now recreate themselves at any age they are by way of AI 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,” the Oscar-winning actor added.

“Outside of the understanding that it’s been done by AI 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.”

Buxton then suggested that people would be able to tell the difference between AI Hanks and the real version.

While Hanks acknowledged that an AI version of himself would not be able to produce the same performances as he does now, he wondered whether audiences would really mind.

“Without a doubt people will be able to tell, but the question is, will they care?” he said.

“There are some people that won’t care, that won’t make that delineation.”

The task of creating an AI Hanks would be made easier as his likeness and movements were recorded for use in the 2004 movie The Polar Express, he said.

“This has always been lingering,” said Hanks.

“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 billionfold since then and we see it everywhere.”

Hanks also said that the developments in AI are encouraging movie agents to write contracts to protect actors’ likenesses as intellectual property.

“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,” he said.

Hanks is currently promoting his debut novel The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.

According to the official synopsis, the book is based on “a wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all.”

Some of the initial reviews of the book have been mixed, but Hanks is taking the criticism in his stride.

In an interview with the BBC, he explained why he took on the project.

“Sometimes you just have to have some other reason to spark your imagination,” he said, adding that his novel will “live and die based on its own ability to entertain and enlighten an audience.”