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Bruce Willis Makes Deepfake History With This Huge Decision

Deepfake technology is both a tremendous boon to entertainment and a serious problem when it comes to politics and propaganda. Business Insider describes the tech as an artificial intelligence algorithm that can "learn" how to analyze a person's face (and even voice) in order to project their visage onto another person. This has recently been used in "The Mandalorian" and "The Book of Boba Fett," which brought back a young Luke Skywalker using a body double and a digitally-constructed mask of young Mark Hamill. Even hobbyists have learned how to manipulate this technology for their own ends, as illustrated in a YouTube video that shows Tom Cruise as Iron Man.

Of course, technology that can replicate a person's look and voice is rife for potential abuse. As reported by The Guardian, deepfake technology has been used as an effective means of propaganda; when you can fake footage of a politician saying anything you want, there are going to be some nefarious examples in play. 

Despite the potential and pratfalls of this burgeoning technology, legendary actor Bruce Willis has made a rather startling decision — and one that will certainly have an impact on the entertainment industry going forward. Just a few days after news broke that Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones' voice will be digitally recreated by an AI in all future "Star Wars" appearances, Willis took things one step further.

Willis has decided to sell his likeness

Reporting from The Telegraph indicates that "Armageddon" and "Die Hard" actor Bruce Willis has decided to sell the rights to his likeness to the company Deepcake, whom he has had previous experiences with. Last year the actor's "digital twin" starred in Russian commercials for phone carrier and internet provider MegaFon, without Willis himself ever stepping foot on set.

In a statement on Deepcake's website, Willis said, "I liked the precision with which my character turned out. It's a mini-movie in my usual action-comedy genre. For me, it is a great opportunity to go back in time." The actor continued, "With the advent of modern technology, even when I was on another continent, I was able to communicate, work and participate in the filming. It's a very new and interesting experience, and I thank our entire team."

His decision is based on his diagnosis of aphasia, which affects an individual's ability to speak, listen, and read. Previously, Willis has said that he is stepping away from acting, but this most recent decision will still allow at least his likeness to still pop up in movies and commercials, and Willis to still get a cut of the profits. A pretty lucrative deal, and a smart move on Willis' behalf. Although he can no longer meet the demands of being an in-person actor, his face and voice is still known the world over, so this is a way to continue "working" in some capacity. 

It could have far reaching results as well, by setting the groundwork and legal foundations for actors (and their estates) when it comes to the usage of a likeness. Whether people think it's cool or just plain creepy, we could be looking at the future of Hollywood.