Scarlett Johansson Upset Over ChatGPT’s Voice Similarity

Scarlett Johansson Upset Over ChatGPT's Voice Similarity

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OpenAI’s founder, Sam Altman, is facing an unexpected challenge from Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson. In September, Altman approached Johansson to lend her voice to ChatGPT’s text-to-speech product, but she declined the offer, as reported by the New York Times.

Nine months later, ChatGPT introduced a voice option that closely resembled Johansson’s, leaving her “shocked, angered, and in disbelief.” Johansson’s statement to the Times revealed that she sought legal counsel to inquire about the voice creation process, known as Sky. Altman has previously expressed admiration for the 2013 film “Her,” in which Johansson plays a voice robot.

Launched in 2023, ChatGPT’s voice mode allows users to interact with the AI software by speaking and provides a text-to-speech tool with five voice options. Despite Altman’s denial that Sky was designed to mimic Johansson’s voice, the company has paused its use to address user concerns about voice selection and sampling.

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Altman clarified that Sky’s voice actor was cast before any contact with Johansson. Out of respect for Johansson, the company has halted Sky’s use and apologized for the miscommunication.

OpenAI’s blog post explained that Sky’s voice belongs to a different professional actress and is not an imitation of Johansson. The company collaborated with casting professionals and voice actors, narrowing down the options from 400 to five. The actors are compensated as long as their voices are used in ChatGPT’s products.

On Monday, Johansson’s publicist confirmed that Altman had contacted her in September and again two days before the voice demo was released. Johansson was upset that the voice was launched without further discussion. She sought legal advice, which led to the removal of the Sky voice.

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