What’s better than an ultra-high-tech, Mission: Impossible-style mask? The deepfake technology this TikToker is using to impersonate Tom Cruise, apparently (via The Daily Beast). The deeptomcruise account appears to feature someone who’s pretending to be the famous actor, and the impression isn’t just jaw-dropping because of how well the person replicates Cruise’s famous laugh.
How can you tell it’s not actually Tom Cruise using some sort of strange Twitter name? First, his voice is close, but it’s not quite there, especially since the lip-syncing is a tiny bit off at some points. You can hear what the real Cruise sounds like in this video (unless, of course, James Corden also deepfaked him in).
Second, while the tracking and lighting on the face are darn near immaculate — especially when the actor passes something in front of his face — there are still a couple of telling glitches, notably in the golf one where the sunglasses disappear and his mouth morphs for a frame or two.
Even with these minor blips, the effect is still spooky. I’m not going to yell from the rooftops that deepfakes will be ruinous to society, but the fact that someone is posing, almost believably, as a famous actor on TikTok (and gaining 236,000 followers in the process) shows that it’s still hard to track deepfakes. While the account pretty clearly indicates that it’s a fake by using “deep” in its name, the next one to pop up might not. TikTok didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Verge asking whether this type of account is allowed under its terms of service, but its TOS explicitly call out impersonations as forbidden:
You may not: [...]
impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent you or your affiliation with any person or entity, including giving the impression that any content you upload, post, transmit, distribute or otherwise make available emanates from the Services
That said, this account does seem to be a bit of relatively harmless fun. If you’re reading this, person who runs deeptomcruise (or the real Tom Cruise), please show us if this tech can keep up with your best Tom Cruise run, or if it can handle you dancing and lip-syncing to Bob Seger. Just whatever you do, leave Oprah, deepfaked or not, out of it.