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Scarlett Johansson calls for legal protections after ChatGPT allegedly copied her voice 

The American actress is demanding transparency from OpenAI and wants legislation to protect people’s voices from being illegally duplicated through such AI systems
  • OpenAI says the AI chatbot voice came from a voice actor whose identity they cannot disclose, and that it did not replicate Johansson’s voice

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 May 2024, 4:18 pm

US actress Scarlett Johansson issued a statement on Monday to express her dismay over Sky, the now-suspended voice of OpenAI’s new GPT-4o chatbot, which she claims “sounded so eerily similar” to her own that neither her friends nor the media were able to distinguish the difference.

In a statement that was published by Variety, the actress said that she felt “shocked, angered and in disbelief” when she heard the demo of Sky’s voice

Johansson said that the resemblance was not coincidental, as she had turned down an offer from Open AI’s CEO Sam Altman nine months earlier to provide the voice for the company’s ChatGPT 4.0 system, citing “personal reasons.” 

The actress also pointed out that Altman had posted a tweet on X earlier this month that referenced the movie Her in which she voices the AI character Samantha. Moreover, the 39-year-old performer said that in the days leading up to the release of the ChatGPT 4.0’s demo, Altman had asked her to “reconsider” his offer by reaching out to her representatives.

Johansson stated that two legal letters addressed to OpenAI and its CEO were written on her behalf, with each one calling for an explanation of how the AI voice was conceived. 

[See more: ChatGPT just got more ‘human’]

Altman apologised to the actress and the company stated that a voice actor had been hired to voice Sky. “Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson, but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” it said. 

The US Screen Actors Guild supported Johannsson’s stance by calling for a bill to protect people’s voices and likeness from being digitally copied without permission. 

The actress meanwhile stated that she hoped for “transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation.” 

Open AI has since replaced Sky with a voice called Juniper. 

UPDATED: 22 May 2024, 4:18 pm

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