Scarlett Johansson slams ChatGPT for using ‘eerily similar’ voice

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Originally appeared on E! Online

Scarlett Johansson does not want to be Her.

The “Black Widow” star called out OpenAI CEO Sam Altman for allegedly using a voice in its artificial intelligence software that she believes sounds like her own without her consent, she said in a statement her rep issued to NBC News May 20. According to Johansson, the businessman sent her an offer in September to hire to her as the voice of the ChatGPT 4.0 system, but she turned it down.

“He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people,” she said. “After much consideration and for personal reasons, declined the offer.”

However, Johansson accused the company going ahead with it by using a voice that “sounded like me” without her consent on their new system called “Sky,” even saying that her “friends, family and the general public all noted” similarities.

“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,” the 39-year-old continued. “Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word ‘her’ — a reference to the film in which I voiced a chat system, Samantha, who forms an intimate relationship with a human.” (Altman tweeted the word on May 13.)

Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost’s Cutest Pics

In her statement, Johansson further alleged that Altman had contacted her agent four days before the demo dropped, asking her to “reconsider” the offer.

“Before we could connect, the system was out there,” she shared. “As a result of their actions, I was forced to hire legal counsel.”

Johansson’s lawyers wrote two letters to Altman and OpenAl, according to the Oscar nominee, who added that the company “reluctantly agreed” to take down the “Sky” voice.

Scarlett Johansson is cheering on Colin Jost! The actress joined her husband for the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27 where the “SNL” star served as the evening’s host.

“In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities,” she concluded, “I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity. I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.”

OpenAI addressed concerns over the “Sky” voice on May 19, tweeting, “We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky. We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.”

The organization also denied that the audio intentionally replicated Johansson’s voice.

“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice,” read their May 19 statement. “Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice. To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

E! News has reached out to Altman, ChatGPT and OpenAI for comment on the actress’ statement but has not heard back.

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