Home Tech Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI took her voice for ChatGPT

Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI took her voice for ChatGPT

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Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI took her voice for ChatGPT

Last week OpenAI revealed a new conversational interface for ChatGPT with an expressive, synthetic voice strikingly similar to that of the AI ​​assistant played by Scarlett Johansson in the sci-fi film. His-only for suddenly deactivate the new voice over the weekend.

On Monday, Johansson issued a statement claiming to have forced that reversal, after her lawyers demanded OpenAI clarify how the new voice was created.

johansson statement, relayed to WIRED by her publicist, claims that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman asked her last September to provide ChatGPT’s new voice, but she refused. She describes her amazement at seeing the company demo a new voice for ChatGPT last week that sounded like her anyway.

“When I heard the pitch demo I was shocked, angry and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and the media couldn’t tell the difference,” it reads in the statement. He notes that Altman seemed to encourage the world to connect the demo to Johansson’s performance by tweeting “his”, in reference to the film, on May 13.

Johansson’s statement says that Altman contacted her agent two days before last week’s demo and asked her to reconsider her decision not to work with OpenAI. After seeing the demo, he says he hired legal counsel to write to OpenAI asking for details on how he created the new voice.

The statement claims this led to OpenAI’s announcement on Sunday in a publish in X that he had decided to “pause the use of Sky”, the name the company gives to the synthetic voice.

Sky is one of several synthetic voices that OpenAI gave to ChatGPT last September, but at last week’s event he showed off a much more realistic intonation with emotional cues. In the demo, a version of ChatGPT powered by a new AI model called GPT-4o appeared to flirt with an OpenAI engineer in a way that many viewers found reminiscent of Johansson’s performance in His.

When asked why OpenAI had decided to disable Sky, Niko Felix, an OpenAI spokesperson, told WIRED a blog post also from Sunday describing the process the company went through to choose its voice. “Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson, but rather she belongs to a different professional actress who uses her own natural voice,” the post says.

“For now, we’re pausing the use of Sky’s voice while we address some questions, but we hope to get it back soon,” Felix said.

The conflict with Johansson adds to OpenAI’s existing battles with artists, writers and other creatives. The company is already defending a series of lawsuits alleging that it inappropriately used copyrighted content to train its algorithms, including lawsuits from The New York Times and authors such as George RR Martin.

Generative AI has made it much easier to create realistic synthetic voices, creating new opportunities and threats. In January, New Hampshire voters were bombarded with robocalls with a fake voicemail from Joe Biden. In March, OpenAI said it had developed technology that could clone someone’s voice from a 15-second clip, but the company said it would not release the technology because it could be misused.

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