Tom Cruise deepfake guy says technology is ‘bleeding edge’ but morally fine

Photo by Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

The man behind a series of ultra viral Tom Cruise deepfake videos says the technology used is cutting edge and has some very positive aspects to it.

Miles Fisher is an actor who already kind of looks like Tom Cruise, but it’s his ability to impersonate the famous actor while wearing his digital face that really fools people. Fisher appeared on Today and talked about his newfound TikTok fame.

“As I find myself the unofficial face of this deep fake movement, it’s important to learn, and I’m fascinated by this,” Fisher said. “This is the bleeding edge of technology.”

The really uncanny part of the videos is how believable they are if you don’t know what you’re looking at. Fisher, as Cruise, does things like run around, swing a golf club, and play guitar.

“I think we’ve created the first deepfake that’s so realistic that a large majority of people have seen,” he said.

Of course, there are some moral issues with deep fakes. Impersonating a celebrity is not new, but doing so where it’s hard to tell if it’s actually the celebrity doing it is not as common. Is it OK? Fisher thinks so.

“I think the technology is morally neutral,” Fisher said. “As it develops, the positive output will so far outweigh the negative, nefarious uses.” 

Not everyone agrees. According to NBC News, University of Maryland law professor Danielle Citron appeared before a congressional panel about the issue in 2019 and warned about the dangers of the technology.

“Deepfakes can cause real, concrete harm. Whether that’s a deepfake sex video, or a fake porn video targeting political enemies, or a well-timed deepfake, may be used to cause harm to an IPO,” Citron said. “And in unrest, if you time it just right, you can incite violence.”

The videos are fairly easy to spot as fake if you know what you’re looking at, but if you’re just casually glancing or don’t know, then they’re pretty convincing. And they’re popular – @deeptomcruise on TikTok has 3.3 million followers. Take a look below.

Fisher admitted that because he already kind of looked like Cruise, it’s been hard for him to secure acting roles. Instead of running away from the connection, he decided to lean into it. He linked up with a visual effects specialist from Belgium named Chris Umé to make the videos.

Because the technology is moving forward so fast, what used to take weeks now takes much less time.

“About five days, maximum six days, I could turn around something like this,” Umé told the news program.

Cruise, so far, has not asked the duo to stop making the videos. The two creators now want to start a company using the technology.

“How can we use this technology by creating kind of identity rights?” Fisher said. “Let’s say Tom Cruise gave us the consent for this likeness, where we could move beyond just small parody clips. Everybody gets paid for that intellectual property.”