OpenAI accused of copying Scarlett Johansson’s voice for new ChatGPT 4.0

With its impressive voice functionality, OpenAI’s latest unveiling of ChatGPT 4.0 stirred up more than just excitement in the tech world. The introduction of the “Sky” voice option quickly became embroiled in controversy, drawing stark comparisons to the voice of Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson.

ChatGPT

In September, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman approached Johansson with an offer to voice their new ChatGPT 4.0 system. Altman believed that Johansson’s voice would provide a comforting bridge between technology and creativity, easing consumers into the realm of AI advancements. However, Johansson declined the offer for personal reasons.

Fast forward to the recent launch of ChatGPT 4.0, and the “Sky” voice option raised eyebrows for its uncanny resemblance to Johansson’s voice, particularly notable given her portrayal of an AI in the 2013 film “Her.” Despite OpenAI’s assertions that the voice was not intended to mimic Johansson’s, the similarities sparked outrage and accusations of unauthorized use.

Johansson expressed shock and anger upon discovering the resemblance, especially after Altman’s insinuation with a cryptic tweet referencing “Her.” The situation escalated when Altman contacted Johansson’s agent just days before the demo release, urging reconsideration and further exacerbating Johansson’s concerns.

In response to mounting pressure, OpenAI temporarily halted the use of the “Sky” voice, citing the need to address questions surrounding its selection process. Altman reiterated that the voice actor behind “Sky” was chosen before any outreach to Johansson, emphasizing respect for her decision.

Despite OpenAI’s assertions, Johansson’s legal team demanded transparency regarding the creation of the “Sky” voice, underscoring broader concerns about the protection of personal likeness in an era rife with deepfakes and AI advancements.

As a result of their actions, I was forced to hire legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAI, setting out what they had done and asking them to detail the exact process by which they created the ‘Sky’ voice. Consequently, OpenAI reluctantly agreed to take down the ‘Sky’ voice.

In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity. I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.

OpenAI defended its position, maintaining that the “Sky” voice was not an imitation of Johansson’s but belonged to a different professional actress. However, the company faced criticism for its lack of communication and transparency throughout the ordeal.

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. To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.

This incident goes beyond celebrity drama. Instead, it highlights the challenges of developing AI responsibly and the importance of protecting people’s identities in our increasingly digital world. As technology keeps blurring the lines between what’s real and what’s not, it’s crucial to hold developers accountable and ensure everyone’s rights are respected.

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  • Asma Hussain

    Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.