ChatGPT maker responds after Scarlett Johansson says "Her" voice copied

    The Hawk
    May21/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    She disclosed that OpenAI's Sam Altman had proposed licensing her voice, which she declined. Despite this, a voice resembling hers was used, leading OpenAI to pause the Sky voice after public backlash.

    Scarlett Johansson

    San Francisco: Hollywood actor Scarlett Johananson has said she was "shocked", "angered," and "in disbelief" after Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI launched an Artificial Intelligence personal assistant voice that was "eerily similar" to her own voice.
    Johansson's statement was released hours after Sam Altman-founded tech company said it was taking down the voice it had dubbed as 'Sky.'
    OpenAI had last week unveiled a new version of its flagship ChatGPT chatbot, which can read text aloud to users and can receive and respond to voice commands, images and videos.
    Several people compared the similarities between the chatbot's tone with that of Johansson's in the 2013 film 'Her'. Directed by Spike Jonze, the movie is about a man who develops a close relationship with an advanced piece of software. The Operating System takes the persona of a female and calls herself Samantha. In the film, the Academy award nominated Scarlett Johansson is the voice of Samantha.
    Artificial intelligence company, OpenAI, in a blog post on Monday wrote the process in which it had chosen the voices used by the ChatGPT, stating that worked with award-winning casting and directing professionals to narrow down over 400 submissions before selecting five voices.
    Apart from Sky the other voices debuted by OpenAI are dubbed - Breeze, Cove, Ember and Juniper.
    According to US media outlet NPR, Johansson's legal team has sent OpenAI two letters asking the company how it had developed the "Sky" voice.
    Johansson said that nine months ago Altman had approached her proposing that she allow her voice to be licensed for the new ChatGPT voice assistant as he thought it would "comforting to people" who are uneasy with AI technology.
    "After much consideration and for personal reasons, I declined the offer," Johansson said in her statement shared with NPR.
    The actor said that just two days before the new ChatGPT was unveiled, Altman again reached out to Johansson's team, urging her to reconsider but before she and Altman could connect, the company publicly announced its new product, with a voice that she says appears to have copied her likeness.
    "I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference," Johansson said.
    Following this, OpenAI in a statement on the company's blog said, "We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity's distinctive voice".
    "Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice," the tech company said.
    The tech company founder Altman further said that it has "paused" using Sky's voice.
    In a statement to US media outlet NPR, Altman wrote, "We cast the voice actor behind Sky's voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky's voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn't communicate better,"
    Meanwhile, OpenAI, according to a report in the Washington Post, is facing a wave of lawsuits by authors including Game of Thrones writer George RR Martin, and news organizations including the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, which allege the company violated copyright law by using their content to train its AI models.