In a bizarre incident, Justin Bieber has been fooled into thinking that a deepfake video of 'Tom Cruise' playing guitar and singing is real, even going so far as to respond with a cover of the performance.
In the clip, which was posted to TikTok back in August, ‘Cruise’ is seen performing what appears to be an original song.
@deeptomcruise (opens in new tab)
Making real music again!♬ original sound - Tom (opens in new tab)
To be fair to Bieber, it’s a pretty impressive piece of deepfakery, though the fact that it came from an account called ‘deeptomcruise’ might possibly have given the game away.
The penny clearly didn’t drop, though; not only did Bieber take to Instagram to praise Cruise’s guitar-playing skills, tagging the real actor as he did so, but he also proceeded to post his own version of the song,
Eventually, though, someone did alert Bieber to the fact that he’d been duped. “That’s not really Tom Cruise? Lol, oh well, still hilarious,” was his response.
deeptomcruise (opens in new tab) is the work of Belgian visual effects artist Chris Ume, who’s used AI technology to place his tech-concocted Tom in a variety of real-world environments.
The account is run for the purposes of entertainment, and has racked up huge numbers of views, but also raises awareness of the potential for deepfakes to fool people - Justin Bieber, for example - into thinking that what they’re watching is real.