Over the last year artificial intelligence has become a growing concern. It has the capacity for greatness, including in the field of medicine. It can also be destructive. It can destroy job and make it easier to steal people’s identities. Hollywood is already feeling the effects, as when Tom Hanks learned an AI version of him was starring in a dental ad. The latest to be affected is Scarlett Johansson.
Per Variety, the erstwhile Marvel actress was nonplussed to learn an AI app had used her likeness for an ad. It’s called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, and it’s an AI image-generator that demonstrated its prowess by making an ad starring an AI version of a movie star who famously sued a gigantic corporation because they stiffed her. Predictably that didn’t turn out so hot.
“We do not take these things lightly,” Johansson’s attorney, Kevin Yorn, told Variety. “Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have.”
The ad, which was first spotted on October 28, appears to have been deep-sixed. How did it use Johansson?
The ad, reviewed by Variety, begins with an old clip of Johansson behind the scenes of Marvel’s “Black Widow.” Johansson says, “What’s up guys? It’s Scarlett and I want you to come with me…” before a graphic covers her mouth and the screen transitions into AI-generated photos that resemble the actor. A fake voice imitating Johansson then continues speaking, promoting the AI app. “It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it,” says a voice that sounds like Johansson.
Fine print under the ad read “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person” — an apparently attempt to cut any legal action by Johansson off at the pass. Apparently that didn’t work.
It’s not surprising that Hollywood would fall victim of the shadier aspects of AI. But there was one big player who had the tech’s number before anyone: Tom Cruise, who made the main baddie in Mission: Impossible 7 a rogue form of AI. One person who saw that film was President Joe Biden, and it scared him enough that it inspired him to sign an executive order to rein in AI. If humanity has avoided one of those robot takeovers depicted in fiction for decades, it may be partly thanks to the guy who keeps risking his life to entertain us.