Scarlett Johansson Slams OpenAI For Using Voice “Eerily Similar” To Hers Despite Turning Them Down

Scarlett Johansson was “shocked, angered and in disbelief” after OpenAI used a voice “eerily similar” to hers for their new GPT-4o chatbot even after she declined the company’s request to lend her voice.

The 39-year-old actress revealed that OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, reached out to her in September, 2023, asking if they could use her voice for their new GPT-4o system because he found it “comforting.”

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“Last September, I received an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to voice the current ChatGPT 4.0 system,” the Hollywood star said in a statement to NBC News. “He told me that he felt that by my voicing the system, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and AI. He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people.”

Scarlett Johansson released a statement targeting OpenAI for their use of a voice “eerily similar” to hers for their new GPT-4o chatbot

Image credits: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“After much consideration and for personal reasons, I declined the offer,” she added in the statement released on Monday, May 20.

When OpenAI debuted its new GPT-4o last week, the chatbot offered five voices—Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky.

The North Star actress said she was taken aback when people began telling her that the system’s Sky voice sounded similar to hers.

The movie star revealed that the CEO of the AI-driven tech company asked her if she could lend her voice to system

Image credits: Vogue

“…My friends, family and the general public all noted how much the newest system named ‘Sky’ sounded like me,” the Marvel icon said.

“When I heard the released demo, 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,” she added.

As GPT-4o was unveiled, OpenAI’s Sam tweeted one word: “her,” which was perceived as a reference to Spike Jonze’s 2013 movie Her, in which Scarlett stars as a voice robot

“Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word ‘her’ – a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system, Samantha, who forms an intimate relationship with a human,” she added.

“Two days before the ChatGPT 4.0 demo was released, Mr. Altman contacted my agent, asking me to reconsider. Before we could connect, the system was out there,” she went on to say.

Despite turning down their request, the 39-year-old actress accused OpenAI  of using “a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine”

Image credits: Solen Feyissa

“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.”

The award-winning star said she is seeking some form of resolution through transparency and also wanted appropriate legislation to be passed with respect to the issue.

Scarlett Johansson said in her statement that she wanted “resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation”

“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,” her statement continued.

The AI-driven tech company put out a tweet that said they are pausing the use of Sky following the “questions” raised.

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“We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky. We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them,” the company said.

In light of the controversy, the company CEO Sam Altman claimed the chatbot’s voice belonged to another professional actress

OpenAI also said in a May 19 statement that Sky’s voice belongs to another professional actress.

“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,” the company said.

YouTuber Victor Mochere uploaded a clip that he said was the Hollywood star’s statement read out by Sky’s voice

The AI developer’s CEO also claimed the artist who offered their voice for Sky was cast before Scarlett was contacted with the request.

“The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was never intended to resemble hers,” Sam reportedly said via a spokesperson.

“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,” he said. “We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better.”

With the revolution of AI, some people believe this issue is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of identity protection

The post Scarlett Johansson Slams OpenAI For Using Voice “Eerily Similar” To Hers Despite Turning Them Down first appeared on Bored Panda.

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