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OpenAI to Pull ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Similar to Scarlett Johansson

When AI meets Hollywood: OpenAI hits pause on a controversial voice that echoes Scarlett Johansson’s iconic Her role.

Scarlett Johansson OpenAI ChatGPT
Marvel Studios / OpenAI
Key Takeaways

OpenAI is pausing the use of its Sky voice, which has drawn comparisons to Scarlett Johansson’s AI character in Her, to address user concerns.
The voice selection process involved over 400 submissions, with the final choices made by collaborating with award-winning casting directors and producers.
Scarlett Johansson OpenAI voice emphasizes that their AI voices are not imitations of celebrities, and they are committed to fair compensation and privacy for the voice actors.
Nerdspin Line

When OpenAI unveiled its latest breakthrough, the ChatGPT-4o model, tech enthusiasts were abuzz with excitement. The spotlight shone brightly on its innovative “Voice Mode,” which showcased a range of emotive voices designed to elevate user interaction. Yet, amid the applause, a whisper of controversy began to echo. One particular voice, “Sky,” caught the Nerdspin office’s ear, bearing an uncanny resemblance to favorite person Scarlett Johansson’s iconic portrayal of an AI in the 2013 film Her. Adding fuel to the fire, OpenAI founder Sam Altman cheekily posted “her” on X during the demo.

Scarlett Johansson OpenAI voice is getting pulled

In response to the growing buzz, OpenAI has decided to hit the pause button on the Sky voice to address user concerns about the familiar sound. “We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky,” the company announced on Monday morning. “We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.”

OpenAI’s blog post delves into the intricacies of its voice selection process, emphasizing its commitment to authenticity. “We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice — Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice,” the post clarified. However, the company remains tight-lipped about the identities of their voice talents to protect their privacy.

The journey to finding the perfect voices began in early 2023 when OpenAI teamed up with “well-known, award-winning” casting directors and producers. After sifting through over 400 submissions, they meticulously narrowed it down to 14 promising candidates. The company engaged in in-depth conversations with each actor, discussing the vision for human-AI voice interactions, the technology’s capabilities, limitations, and potential risks, as well as the safeguards in place. This rigorous process culminated in the selection of five final voices, each bringing a unique flavor to the ChatGPT experience.

Recording sessions took place in San Francisco, where the chosen actors breathed life into their roles before the voices were officially integrated into ChatGPT last fall. OpenAI promises that this is just the beginning, with plans to introduce new voices to the platform over time.

 Scarlett Johansson OpenAI
Getty Images

“We support the creative community and worked closely with the voice acting industry to ensure we took the right steps to cast ChatGPT’s voices,” the blog post continued. “Each actor receives compensation above top-of-market rates, and this will continue for as long as their voices are used in our products.”

As OpenAI navigates these choppy waters, the tech world watches closely. The company’s commitment to innovation, transparency, and ethical considerations sets a high bar, reaffirming its place at the forefront of AI development. As for Sky, whether or not we hear her again remains to be seen, but the dialogue she’s sparked about AI and creativity is sure to resonate for some time.

Update: Scarlett Johansson has responded to the OpenAI news

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