Why Val Kilmer’s brief cameo is the most powerful moment in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Val Kilmer’s lone scene in “Top Gun: Maverick” is strikingly powerful — not only because it successfully projects decades of close friendship between his character, Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, and Tom Cruise’s, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, but because it also draws on the actor’s own experiences

In the 1986 original, Iceman was Maverick’s competition for the top spot in the Top Gun rankings

. “Maverick,” set about 35 years later, finds Cruise’s character largely the same — still disobeying orders, still buzzing towers — if calmed and weathered a bit, and struggling with his failure as a surrogate father to his late best friend’s son.

Much of the scene’s poignancy, of course, comes from the fact that Kilmer, the handsome golden boy of ‘80s cinema and critically hailed chameleon of the ‘90s and beyond, was struck by throat cancer in the 2010s.

“In the end, we generated more than 40 different voice models and selected the best, highest-quality, most expressive one,” Flynn said. “Those new algorithms are now embedded into our voice engine, so future clients can automatically take advantage of them as well.”

One of the biggest A.I. breakthroughs that can be used to create fake voices is a learning system called WaveNet: technology that was pioneered by Google-owned DeepMind and open-sourced in 2016.

Fake voices were used in a multimillion-dollar case of bank fraud last year, with the culprits stealing $35 million after cloning the voice of a company director in the UAE.