OpenAI To Pull ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Similar To Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Asteroid City' at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

When the generative artificial intelligence startup OpenAI released a demo of its new ChatGPT 4o model last week, it included extensive video of its “Voice Mode,” which features an emotive voice answering user questions.

While there are a number of voices available, viewers noticed that one of them, “Sky,” sounded suspiciously like actress Scarlett Johansson, who portrayed the voice of an emotive AI in the 2013 film Her (in fact, OpenAI founder Sam Altman posted “her” on X during the demo).

Now, OpenAI says that it is “pausing” the use of the Sky voice as it seeks to address the concerns from users about such a familiar voice being used.

“We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky,” the company posted Monday morning. “We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.”

In a blog post, the company acknowledged the concerns, and explained its process for creating the voices, noting that it ran an extensive casting process

“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 blog post said. “To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

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