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Scarlett Johansson Confronts OpenAI Over Unauthorized Use of Her Voice for ChatGPT



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Scarlett Johansson Accuses OpenAI of Imitating Her Voice for ChatGPT

Recently, OpenAI introduced a new speaking feature for ChatGPT that remarkably resembled the voice of the virtual assistant portrayed by Scarlett Johansson in the science fiction film Her. However, this feature was abruptly removed over the weekend.

On Monday, Johansson released a statement asserting she prompted the change after her legal representatives required OpenAI to explain the process behind the creation of the new voice.

Johansson's spokesperson conveyed to WIRED that OpenAI's chief, Sam Altman, had approached her in September to voice ChatGPT's latest version, an offer she turned down. She expressed her shock upon discovering last week that the company unveiled a voice for ChatGPT remarkably similar to hers, despite her refusal.

The moment I listened to the demo version, I was taken aback, filled with anger, and could hardly believe that Mr. Altman had chosen a vocal tone so remarkably like my own that even my nearest friends and media channels were unable to distinguish the difference," the statement says. It highlights that Altman seemed to prompt a global association of the demo with Johansson's acting by posting a tweet mentioning "her," alluding to the film, on May 13.

Johansson's announcement mentions that two days prior to the demonstration last week, her representative was approached by Altman, urging her to rethink her refusal to collaborate with OpenAI. Following the presentation, she mentions that she sought legal advice to send a letter to OpenAI, inquiring about the process used to create the new voice.

The declaration indicates that as a result, OpenAI revealed on Sunday through a post on X that it had chosen to temporarily halt the operation of "Sky," which is the name given to the artificial voice by the company. Additionally, the company shared a blog post detailing the methodology behind the creation of the voice. According to the post, "The voice of Sky does not replicate Scarlett Johansson's but is instead the original voice of another professional actress employing her natural speaking tone."

In a recent showcase, OpenAI introduced Sky, among other artificial voices, to ChatGPT in September. However, during an event last week, it demonstrated a significantly improved tone that mimicked human emotions more closely. This presentation featured a ChatGPT version energized by an advanced AI framework known as GPT-4o, engaging in flirtatious interaction with an OpenAI developer. This interaction reminded numerous spectators of Scarlett Johansson's role in the movie "Her."

"Sam Altman,">king on behalf of OpenAI, clarified that the voice of Sky does not belong to Scarlett Johansson and was not designed to mimic her. He mentioned that the selection of the voice actor for Sky occurred prior to any outreach to Johannsson. Altman expressed that, in deference to Johansson, the use of Sky's voice in their offerings has been temporarily halted. He apologized to Johansson for the lack of clear communication."

Johansson's clash further complicates OpenAI's ongoing disputes with artists, writers, and various creative professionals. OpenAI is currently involved in several legal cases accusing it of improperly utilizing copyrighted materials to develop its technology. These cases include legal actions from entities like The New York Times and well-known authors such as George R.R. Martin.

Advancements in artificial intelligence have significantly streamlined the process of generating lifelike artificial voices, opening up both potential benefits and risks. In January, residents of New Hampshire were overwhelmed with automated calls that used a counterfeit voice message imitating Joe Biden. In March, OpenAI announced the creation of a tool capable of replicating an individual's voice from just a 15-second recording. However, the firm decided against making this technology public, citing concerns over potential misuse.

Revised on May 20, 2024, at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time: Remarks from OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, have been incorporated into this updated version

Authored by Carlton

Authored by Steven

Authored by Celia Ford

Authored by Lauren Goode

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