Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI CEO contacted her about using her voice in pulled ChatGPT 4 update

The AI company, which uses other people's content to train its models, claims that its Sky voice is not an imitation of the actor.


Updated on May 20, 2024 at 9:07 p.m .PT: According to Hayden Field of CNBC, Sam Altman reached out with a statement regarding the situation. The statement is as follows:

The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was never intended to resemble hers. We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky’s voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better.

The original piece continues.

As the advancement of artificial intelligence pushes forward into new spaces, there comes with it some pushback from creators as they seek to set up boundaries. The latest resistance comes in the form of Scarlett Johansson, who has sought legal counsel after friends, family, and the public noted how similar OpenAI’s new Sky voice sounds to her own.

Text reads: We support the creative community and collaborated with the voice acting industry We support the creative community and worked closely with the voice acting industry to ensure we took the right steps to cast ChatGPT’s voices. Each actor receives compensation above top-of-market rates, and this will continue for as long as their voices are used in our products.  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. To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.

Source: OpenAI

OpenAI has announced on social media on May 20, 2024 that it is working to pause the use of the voice Sky for its GPT-4o artificial intelligence. This decision comes after viewers and users alike noted how similar the voice sounds to actress Scarlett Johansson.

Johansson, who voiced an AI character called Samantha in the movie Her, has taken legal action against the artificial intelligence company. According to the actor, Sam Altman offered to hire her to voice the company’s ChatGPT 4.0 system, but she declined for personal reasons. Johansson goes on to note that two days before the demo, Altman reached out to her agent again and requested that she reconsider.

“I was forced to hire legal counsel, who wrote two letters to Mr. Altman and OpenAI, setting out what they had done and asking them to detail the exact process by which they created the ‘Sky’ voice,” Johansson wrote in her statement. “Consequently, OpenAI reluctantly agreed to take down the ‘Sky’ voice.”

Muddying the waters is the fact that Altman posted on social media the word “her” around the same time that OpenAI revealed GPT-4 Omni.

The company has since released a post on its website that goes into detail about how the voices for ChatGPT were chosen. “Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” The post reads. “To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

This isn’t the first time that artificial intelligence has come under fire for potentially using someone else’s hard work. These various learning models are known to utilize human-created content in order to “train” the AI to create. Just recently, OpenAI signed a deal with Reddit that would allow ChatGPT to be trained on the aggregation platform’s content.

“In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity,” Johansson wrote in her statement. It seems that more creators are becoming wary of artificial intelligence and are willing to protect their own, and by extension other people’s, personal property.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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