Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of copying her voice for ChatGPT

Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of copying her voice for ChatGPT
Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of copying her voice for ChatGPT

A voice that looks exactly like that of Scarlett Johansson: ChatGPT will change its tone, announced the company OpenAI, which the actress accuses, as well as its general director, Sam Altman, of having voluntarily and at her discretion. unknowingly copied his voice.

“We have heard the questions about how we chose the voices for ChatGPT,” OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, said on Monday on X (formerly Twitter).

Therefore, “we are working to suspend the use of Sky (which interacts vocally with Internet users, Editor’s note) while we respond,” specifies the company.

“Sky’s voice is in no way an imitation of that of Scarlett Johansson”, however assured OpenAI in an article posted on its blog, ensuring that it had been developed based on the voices of different actresses.

But the actress accuses OpenAI and its general director, Sam Altman, of having deliberately copied her voice, without her knowledge, forcing her to hire a lawyer in order to obtain the modification.

“Last September, I received an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to be the voice of the current ChatGPT 4.0 system,” she said in this press release late Monday.

“He said he thought my voice would comfort people,” she detailed, stressing that she then “declined the offer”.


“When I heard the demo released, I was shocked, angry and in disbelief that Mr. Altman had developed a voice that sounded so eerily like mine that my closest friends and the media could not do the difference,” says the actress.

She adds that “Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, by tweeting a single word, ‘she’.”

Scarlett Johansson had in fact embodied the voice of the artificial intelligence system in the film “Her”, from which the creators of ChatGPT have not hidden their inspiration.

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT, announced Monday that it was working on a modification of the digital voice intended to respond to Internet users, while the latter expressed the impression of being dealing with actress Scarlett Johansson / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP /Archives

The actress explains that she was then “forced to hire legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAI, (…). Consequently, OpenAI reluctantly agreed to remove the +Sky+ voice”.

“At a time when we are all struggling with + deepfakes + and the protection of our own image, our own work, our own identity, I think these questions deserve absolute clarity,” she lamented again, saying “impatiently” awaiting the adoption of “appropriate legislation to help ensure the protection of individual rights”.

OpenAI, for its part, detailed how it worked, with professional actors, to create several digital voices, which it called Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and, therefore, Sky.

New voices coming

This announcement comes days after OpenAI announced it was disbanding its team whose mission was to mitigate the possible long-term dangers of overly intelligent AI.

The announcement was marked by the departure of one of the company’s co-founders, Ilya Sutskever, as well as the head of the team, Jan Leike.

Scarlett Johansson at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, April 27, 2024 / Drew ANGERER / AFP

“OpenAI must become a company that puts the safety of general AI above all other considerations,” Leike wrote on X on Friday.

Sam Altman expressed his regret at seeing him leave, adding that he “is right, we have to do more, that’s our goal.”

The company presented on Monday the new version of its flagship product, with GPT-4o, with improved performance and behavior that is intended to be closer to humans, also making it free for all users.

“In the future, you should expect even more options as we plan to add voices to ChatGPT to better meet diverse user interests and preferences,” OpenAI added on its blog.



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