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Terrifying Tom Cruise deepfakes might be the most realistic yet

Ah, deepfakes. On one hand, they're an impressive demonstration of the power of contemporary VFX. On the other, they're a terrifying glimpse at how said VFX could be used to spread misinformation in the probably-not-too-distant future. And these new examples, starring none other than everyone's favourite impossible mission completer Tom Cruise, might be the most impressive and terrifying we've seen.

The videos, posted to TikTok over the past week, appear to show Cruise golfing, performing magic tricks and even, er, telling jokes about Mikhail Gorbachev. Pretty random stuff – but what all three videos have in common is the fact that they look very, very real. (Check out our best computers for video editing if you fancy having a crack at a deepfake of your own, and see our piece on the ethics of digital humans.)

Tom Cruise deepfake

(Image credit: deeptomcruise on TikTok/Future owns)

The videos don't quite look perfect – there are still hints of that 'uncanny valley' quality that comes from looking at fake human eyes. But there are moments where, if the TikTok account wasn't called deeptomcruise, we might well believe we were watching the star himself doing a banal magic trick, or waxing lyrical about his love of golf.

It probably helps that whoever is playing Tom Cruise here has managed to nail the actor's voice and mannerisms. The former is usually the big giveaway when it comes to deepfakes – while the AI exists to mimic faces, the same isn't true of voices (yet). And with familiar Cruisian (that's a word, right?) mannerisms such as those spontaneous bursts of white-teethed laughter all present and correct, these are truly realistic deepfakes.

But while they're both amusing and impressive, the clips have also served to demonstrate how, in the word of one Twitter user (below), deepfake technology is getting "scary good". 

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These are by no means the first impressive deepfakes we've seen in the last few months. From Harrison Ford reprising the role of Han in 2018's 'Solo' to this contemporary recast of Back to the Future, we've seen all manner of weird and wonderful examples of the tech lately. If you fancy going further down the deepfake hole, check out these 10 deepfake examples that terrified and amused the internet.

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Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an 'iSheep', but he's fine with this. It doesn't bother him at all. Why would it? They're just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.