Scarlett Johansson Blasts OpenAI For Mimicking Her Voice In ChatGPT After She Turned Them Down

The actress, who voiced a computer voice assistant in the 2013 movie “Her,” previously declined to voice OpenAI’s latest chatbot.

(Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Scarlett Johnasson is calling out OpenAI and its popular ChatGPT chatbot for creating a voice that sounds “eerily similar” to her own. According to a statement from the actress that was published by NPR, she’d previously declined to do a deal with OpenAI to license her voice.

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that [OpenAI founder Sam Altman] would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine,”¬†Johansson wrote.

“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,” Johansson said.

OpenAI recently showcased GPT-4 Omni (GPT-4o), its latest AI model, which includes access to a more conversational chatbot capable of interpreting facial expressions, whispering, speaking sarcastically and flirting, according to CNET.

Spectators were quick to compare the voice of the chatbot, dubbed “Sky,” to Johansson’s voice in 2013’s Her, a Spike Jonze-directed sci-fi movie in which Joaquin Phoenix’s character falls in love with a computer program and its feminine voice.

Altman, who reportedly has cited Her as his favorite movie, leaned into the comparisons by tweeting the word “her” after GPT-4 Omni (GPT-4o) was announced.

OepnAI has since deactivated Sky’s voice, but OpenAI executives, including Altman, have denied it ever had a connection to Johansson.

“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,” Altman wrote in a statement to NPR.

“It says more about our imagination, our storytelling as a society than about the technology itself,” added OpenAI chief technology officer Mira Murati in an NPR interview. “The way we developed this technology is not based on the movie or a sci-fi story. We’re trying to build these machines that can think and have robust understandings of the world.”

Johannsson is using the incident as a jumping off point to discuss legal ramifications of utilizing AI-powered technology, saying, “I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.”

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