Home OpenAI removes AI voice likened to Scarlett Johansson

OpenAI removes AI voice likened to Scarlett Johansson

OpenAI has removed one of the voices used by ChatGPT 4o after it was likened to the actress Scarlett Johansson and the character she played in the 2013 movie Her.

The US artificial intelligence research firm is “working to pause” the voice of ‘Sky’ which responds to ChatGPT users, while it addresses the situation around the similarity to the Hollywood star.

In Her, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his phone’s operating assistant, voiced by Johansson.

OpenAI published a blog post setting out that “AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice” as well as denying Sky’s tones were an imitation of the highest-grossing box office female talent of all time, but instead “belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice.”

The detailed statement outlined how the company “worked closely with the voice acting industry to ensure we took the right steps to cast ChatGPT’s (five) voices.”

It added how each actor “receives compensation above top-of-market rates”, and “to protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents”.

At present, it is unclear if OpenAI will permanently remove Sky as a voice assistant or if any amendments will be made.

Sam Altman’s X post evokes suspicion

Despite the distance OpenAI is attempting to make between its creation and the likeness to Johansson’s operator character in Her, company CEO Sam Altman referenced the name of the movie when they unveiled the new model GPT-4o on May 13.

During a demonstration of the advanced, human-like conversational features, the flirty, conversational voice of Sky stated to an OpenAI staff member, “Wow, that’s quite the outfit you’ve got on”.

In response to a return compliment, the chatbot said, “Stop it, you’re making me blush”.

The added functionality has not yet been made available to all ChatGPT users, but the company has said subscribers who pay for premium services will be the first to have access with many users already able to access GPT-4o already.

Featured Image: AI-generated in Ideogram

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Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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