Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of copying her voice for ChatGPT

OpenAI, which is accused by actress and CEO Sam Altman, announced a voice that sounds like Scarlett Johansson: ChatGPT will change its accent.

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“We've heard questions about how we choose ChatGPT sounds,” OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, said Monday on X (formerly Twitter).

Therefore, “we are suspending the use of Sky (which interacts voice-wise with Internet users, editor's note) while we respond,” the company specifies.

However, OpenAI emphasized in a blog post that “Sky's voice is in no way an imitation of Scarlett Johansson's voice,” ensuring that it was developed based on the voices of different actresses.

But the actress accuses OpenAI and its general manager, Sam Altman, of deliberately copying her voice, without her knowledge, forcing her to hire a lawyer in order to obtain the modification.

“Last September, I received an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to be the voice of the current ChatGPT 4.0 ecosystem,” she said in this press release late Monday.

She added: “He said he thought my voice would comfort people,” confirming that she “rejected the offer after that.”

“I was shocked”

“When I heard the demo, I was shocked, angry and in disbelief that Mr. Altman had developed a voice so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and the media couldn't make a difference,” says the actress.

She adds, “Mr. Altman even hinted that the resemblance was intentional, tweeting one word “she.”

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The fact is that Scarlett Johansson embodied the voice of the artificial intelligence system in the movie “Her”, from which the creators of ChatGPT did not hide their inspiration.

The actress explains that she “then had to seek the help of a legal advisor, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAI, (…).” Therefore, OpenAI reluctantly agreed to remove the “Sky” sound.

“At a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and protecting our image, our work and our identity, I believe these issues deserve absolute clarity,” she added, saying she was “impatiently” awaiting “appropriate legislation.” To help ensure the protection of individual rights” will be adopted.

For its part, OpenAI detailed how it worked with professional actors to create several digital voices, which it called Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper, and subsequently Sky.

New voices are coming

The announcement comes days after OpenAI announced the dissolution of its team whose mission was to mitigate the potential long-term risks of hyper-AI.

This announcement was marked by the departure of one of the company's founders, Ilya Sutskever, as well as the head of the team, Jan Laiki.

“OpenAI must become a company that puts the safety of AGI above all other considerations,” Mr. Laiki wrote on Friday on X.

Sam Altman expressed his regret at his departure, adding, “He's right, we have to do more, that's our goal.”

On Monday, the company introduced the new version of its flagship product, GPT-4o, with improved performance and behavior that aims to be closer to humans, also making it free for all users.

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“In the future, you should expect more options as we plan to add voices to ChatGPT to better meet users' diverse interests and preferences,” OpenAI added on its blog.

Samantha Arnold

<p class="sign">"Web fanatic. Travel scholar. Certified music evangelist. Coffee expert. Unapologetic internet guru. Beer nerd."</p>

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