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Scarlett Johansson Calls In Lawyers Over New ChatGPT Voice

Scarlett Johansson

Actress Scarlett Johansson said OpenAI used her voice for its GPT-4o model without her consent.

This prompted her to hire a lawyer and demand OpenAI cease using the voice they called "Sky."

OpenAI suspended the release of "Sky" over the weekend. 

Johansson declined CEO Sam Altman’s request to license her voice for a virtual assistant just days before its release.

She revealed that Mr Altman had approached her agent twice in the past year for licensing her voice.

However, Johansson turned down both requests. 

In a blog post, OpenAI said: “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.”

For Johansson, this situation mirrors her role in the 2013 film "Her", in which she voiced an AI system. 

OpenAI said the voice actor for Sky was cast before any outreach to Johansson

The film depicts a man who forms a deep connection with a virtual assistant named Samantha, highlighting the potential emotional complexities of advanced technology.

Sam Altman acknowledged the similarity to "Her" in a social media post with the word "her." 

OpenAI said the voice actor for Sky was cast before any outreach to Johansson. 

The company apologized to Johansson and paused the use of Sky's voice out of respect for her.

Johansson is the latest in a series of high-profile figures to accuse OpenAI of using creative work without permission. 

Over the past year, OpenAI has faced lawsuits from authors, actors, and newspapers for copyright violations.

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This incident marks the second time in recent years that Johansson has publicly opposed a major company. 

In 2021, she sued the Walt Disney Company for breaching her contract by releasing "Black Widow" simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, eventually reaching a settlement.

Johansson, known for her roles in films like "Lost in Translation" and the Marvel franchise, said Altman initially contacted her in September to use her voice to bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives. 

However, she declined the offer, feeling her voice would not be used appropriately.

Last week, OpenAI unveiled its assistant at an event in San Francisco, demonstrating its integration of ChatGPT's conversational skills with the functionality of a voice assistant like Siri. 

Despite OpenAI's assertions, many, including movie critic Alissa Wilkinson, noted the similarity of Sky's voice to Johansson's.

OpenAI's Chief Technology Officer, Mira Murati, told The Verge that any resemblance to Johansson's voice was coincidental and unintentional.

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