What is a ‘deepfake?’ It’s essentially a convincing fabrication of a person’s likeness captured in a video or audio recording. Through powerful machine learning technology, an AI can take footage of a person’s face and replace it with a computer-generated one. There are plenty of YouTube videos demonstrating this tech with side-by-side comparisons of original videos and their manipulated deepfake versions, but TikTok account @deeptomcruise has taken it to the next level through an unsettling marriage of artificial intelligence, social media, and spot-on celebrity impersonation.
The @deeptomcruise account isn’t the work of one master trickster. The uncanny videos are a collaboration between VFX artist @chrisume and actor Miles Fisher. Not only does the man appearing in the videos literally have the face of Tom Cruise, the impersonator’s voice, mannerisms and entire vibe makes for a convincing illustration of Tom Cruise going through some sort of comical midlife crisis. In the past, @chrisume has urged the public not to worry about deepfakes like his, since the amount of painstaking work that goes into each clip is too big a task for the average VFX dabbler. Still, one can’t help but wonder what a heavily-funded team of geeks with malicious intent could do with this tech. If you aren’t totally freaked out yet, keep scrolling for some uncanny @deeptomcruise TikToks, reactions, and a YouTube explainer video detailing how the tech works.