Scarlett Johansson Slams Sam Altman-run AI company Over Voice Imitation
Scarlett Johansson Slams OpenAI Over Imitation(Photo Credit –Instagram)

Scarlett Johansson called out tech giant OpenAI after the Chatbot used a voice “eerily similar” to hers” without her consent. In a letter to Page Six On Monday, May 20, the “Her” actress alleged OpenAI sued a voice similar to hers to voice the artificial intelligence research organization’s new ChatGPT 4.0 system, “Sky,” despite the actress declining the offer last year.

The actress fired back at OpenAI founder Sam Altman over the imitation and threatened litigation, prompting the Chatbot to pause the AI voice. Here’s all we know about the Scarlett Johansson and OpenAI controversy.

Last week, OpenAI debuted its new chatbot model, Sky. Shortly after, commentators noticed the Chatbot’s tone was similar to Scarlett Johansson’s in the 2013 AI film Her, which is about a man who falls in love with the female voice (Johansson) of his computer’s operating system.

Scarlett Johansson Accuses Sam Altman-run AI Company of deliberately copying her voice

In a statement sent to the media, Scarlett Johansson accused the company and its founder, Sam Altman, of copying her voice without her consent. In the letter, Johansson alleged that CEO Sam Altman approached her in September 2023, asking her to voice the system. Altman allegedly added that she could “bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives” and assuage consumers’ concerns about using AI technology. The actress added, “He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people.”

Johansson allegedly declined the offer and was stunned when people began to notice the similarities between the Chatbot and her voice in the film “Her.”

She 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.”

Johansson then accused Altman of deliberately using her voice despite her refusal, saying the CEO “even insinuated that the similarity was intentional” when he tweeted the word “Her” last week while introducing the system.

Johansson revealed last week Altman asked her to reconsider her position voicing the system. Johansson added that OpenAI reluctantly agreed to take down the voice after she hired legal counsel, who sent Altman and the company two letters “asking to detail the exact process by which they created the ‘Sky’ voice.”

OpenAI Takes Down Chatbot Voice After Controversy

In a blog post on Monday, May 20, the Sam Altman-run AI company said that Sky Voice is paused. The company refuted claims that it deliberately imitated the A-list actress, stating that the voice belonged to a professional actress.

They wrote, “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.”

The company added that “to protect their privacy,” it will not release the name of the actress who voiced the system.

The controversy comes amid creatives speaking out against using AI in the industry, which could render the talent redundant.

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