In a recent turn of events, Hollywood icon Scarlett Johansson has taken legal action against an AI application that utilized her name and AI-generated likeness in an online advertisement without her consent. The irony lies in the fact that Johansson, renowned for her role in the 2013 film “Her,” where she portrayed an AI virtual assistant named Samantha, is now facing a situation where life imitates art.
Reported by Variety, the 22-second ad, promoting an image-generating app called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, has unsurprisingly vanished. The ad began with a genuine clip of Johansson behind the scenes as Black Widow, with her saying, “What’s up guys, It’s Scarlett, and I want you to come with me…,” before transitioning into AI-generated photos resembling the actor closely. An AI version of Johansson’s voice then promoted the app, concluding with the line “I think you shouldn’t miss it.”
Despite a disclaimer in small print stating “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person,” the situation remains contentious. Similar instances of AI-generated celebrity content have become increasingly common on social media platforms. Even A-listers like Tom Hanks have faced similar situations; Hanks recently had to deny endorsing a dental plan that used an AI version of him in its marketing, though he has not taken legal action yet.
Speaking about the technology, Hanks remarked, “I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, and that’s it, but performances can go on and on and on and on. And outside of the understanding that it’s been done with AI or deepfake, there’ll be nothing to tell you that it’s not me and me alone. And it’s going to have some degree of lifelike quality. That’s certainly an artistic challenge, but it’s also a legal one.”
As for the lawsuit, it remains to be seen how it will unfold. Typically, such cases are settled swiftly, especially when the infringement is as blatant as this. However, the increasing frequency of these incidents suggests that a precedent-setting legal battle might be on the horizon. Johansson’s representatives have confirmed her lack of involvement with the app, and her attorney, Kevin Yorn, stated, “We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have.”