June 18, 2024

OpenAI Halts ChatGPT Voice Amid Scarlett Johansson Imitation Claims

OpenAI, the developer behind ChatGPT, has announced a “pause” in the use of its new voice mode due to concerns regarding the process of voice selection. The decision comes after questions emerged about the “Sky” voice, one of five voices available for the chatbot.

On May 20, the developer acknowledged on X that it had “heard questions” about its “Sky” voice and is working to address them.

Scarlett Johansson Raises Concerns

The controversy erupted when actress Scarlett Johansson revealed that OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, had approached her for voice work on ChatGPT 4.0. Johansson declined the offer, only to find the released “Sky” voice strikingly similar to her own.

“When I heard the demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine,”

Statement from Scarlett Johansson

Moreover, Johansson also emphasized the importance of protecting one’s likeness in the era of deepfakes.

ChatGPT Voice Process and Altman’s Statement

OpenAI defended its voice casting process, asserting that Sky’s voice while resembling Johansson’s, was performed by a different actress. Altman also clarified that the similarity was unintentional.

However, Altman’s recent social media post, “her,” has drawn attention, leading some to speculate on connections to Scarlett Johansson’s role in the 2013 film “Her” and the broader issue of AI impersonation.

Growing Concerns Over AI Usage

Furthermore, Johansson’s case highlights broader concerns about AI and celebrity likeness. Hollywood actors, including Johansson, have pushed back against unauthorized AI usage, fearing the implications of deepfake technology.

Similarly, Susan Bennett, the original voice of Apple’s Siri, expressed frustration over her voice being used without consent or compensation.

As AI continues to advance, the debate over the ethical use of voices and likenesses intensifies, prompting both legal battles and discussions within the industry.

Image from Flickr

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