Scarlett Johansson has recently made claims that OpenAI approached her to lend her voice to their ChatGPT 4.0 system, but when she declined, the company went ahead and created a voice that sounded uncannily like hers. Johansson has expressed her shock and dismay at the situation, stating that she has been forced to hire legal counsel to address the issue. OpenAI, on the other hand, has denied intentionally replicating Johansson’s voice.

According to Johansson, Sam Altman, an executive from OpenAI, reached out to her with an offer to voice the ChatGPT 4.0 system. Altman believed that Johansson’s voice would bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives, making consumers more comfortable with the idea of human-AI interaction. However, Johansson declined the offer for personal reasons, leading to the development of a voice for the system without her involvement.

After the ChatGPT voice demo featuring a voice known as Sky, which bore a striking resemblance to Johansson’s own voice, was released, several commentators and news outlets noted the similarity. Johansson herself expressed disbelief at how closely the voice of Sky mirrored her own. The situation escalated when Altman seemingly acknowledged the resemblance by posting the word “her” on social media, referencing Johansson’s role in the movie “Her” where she played an AI voice assistant.

Sam Altman and OpenAI have denied intentionally creating a voice that emulated Scarlett Johansson’s voice for the ChatGPT system. They claim that the voice of Sky was portrayed by an actor hired by the company who spoke in their natural voice. In response to the allegations, OpenAI decided to pause the use of the Sky voice in their products out of respect for Johansson’s concerns. They have also expressed regret for any miscommunication that may have occurred during the development process.

Scarlett Johansson has indicated that she is seeking transparency and an explanation from OpenAI regarding the exact process used to create the voice of Sky. Her legal team has sent two letters to OpenAI outlining their concerns and requesting more information about the development of the voice. Given the current climate of technological advancements like deepfakes, Johansson believes it is crucial to clarify issues related to the protection of personal identity and likeness.

The controversy surrounding OpenAI and Scarlett Johansson highlights the ethical considerations that arise when creating AI voices that closely resemble those of public figures. The incident raises questions about consent, transparency, and the boundaries of technology in reproducing human voices. It serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting individuals’ rights and identities in the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence.

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