Scarlett Johansson Asks Why ChatGPT Sounds Like Her


OpenAI released its new GPT-4o model last week, featuring a voice that sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson’s — even though the actress turned the company down for the job months ago.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman asked Johansson to voice the ChatGPT update, GPT-4o, in September to help the general public feel more comfortable with changes brought about by AI, according to a statement Johansson released Monday.

She turned him down “for personal reasons.” Nine months later, she was shocked to hear ChatGPT’s “eerily similar” new voice, Sky, which the company placed front and center in their demo.

Related: OpenAI Launches New AI Chatbot, GPT-4o

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference,” Johansson stated.

Scarlett Johansson. Photo by ZOULERAH NORDDINE/AFP via Getty Images

Johansson voiced an AI in the 2013 movie “Her.” Altman tweeted “her” on the day of the release — implying that the company’s choice to go with a similar voice “was intentional,” Johansson said.

According to Johansson’s statement, she hired legal counsel following GPT-4o’s release and asked OpenAI to transparently detail how they created the “Sky” AI voice that sounds like hers.

As a result, the company “reluctantly” took down the voice, she stated. OpenAI paused the rollout of the voice on Monday.

In response, OpenAI released a blog post on Sunday stating that Sky’s voice came from another actress and is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson’s.

“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice,” OpenAI wrote in a Sunday blog post.

OpenAI has been under scrutiny over the safety of its AI models and the high-profile resignations of leading researchers, including Jan Leike, who resigned last week and called for OpenAI to put safety first over “shiny products.”

OpenAI is currently worth $80 billion.

Related: OpenAI Chief Scientist, Cofounder Ilya Sutskever Resigns

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