Scarlett Johansson slams OpenAI for voice likeness

The actress’ claims raise concerns about the use of actors’ voices and images in AI technology as computer-generated content becomes increasingly realistic.

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Scarlett Johansson has accused OpenAI of creating a voice for its ChatGPT system that sounds ‘eerily similar’ to hers despite declining an offer to voice the chatbot herself. Johansson’s statement, released Monday, followed OpenAI’s announcement to withdraw the voice known as ‘Sky’.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman clarified that a different professional actress performed Sky’s voice and was not meant to imitate Johansson. He expressed regret for not communicating better and paused the use of Sky’s voice out of respect for Johansson.

Johansson revealed that Altman had approached her last September with an offer to voice a ChatGPT feature, which she turned down. She stated that the resemblance of Sky’s voice to her own shocked and angered her, noting that even her friends and the public found the similarity striking. The actress suggested that Altman might have intentionally chosen a voice resembling hers, referencing his tweet about ‘Her’, a film where Johansson voices an AI assistant.

Why does it matter?

The controversy highlights a growing issue in Hollywood concerning the use of AI to replicate actors’ voices and likenesses. Johansson’s concerns reflect broader industry anxieties as AI technology advances, making computer-generated voices and images increasingly indistinguishable from human ones. She has hired legal counsel to investigate the creation process of Sky’s voice.

OpenAI recently introduced its latest AI model, GPT-4o, featuring audio capabilities that enable users to converse with the chatbot in real-time, showcasing a leap forward in creating more lifelike AI interactions. Scarlett Johansson’s accusations underline the ongoing challenges and ethical considerations of using AI in entertainment.