Scarlett Johansson Says ChatGPT Voice ‘Similar’ to Hers

    21 May 2024

    The American artificial intelligence company OpenAI has removed one of its ChatGPT voices. The move came after actor Scarlett Johansson said the voice sounded "eerily similar" to her voice in the movie Her.

    In a post Monday on the social media service X, OpenAI said it is "working to pause" Sky. That is the name of one of five voices that ChatGPT users can choose to speak with in its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.

    In a statement, Johansson said that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had asked her last September if she would lend her voice to the ChatGPT system. Johansson said she declined the offer.

    FILE - Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, in southern France, May 24, 2023. OpenAI halted the use of one of its ChatGPT voices after some drew similarities to Johansson in the film "Her." (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

    Johansson said, "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." She added that her close friends and even the news media "could not tell the difference" between her voice and the voice of Sky.

    Johansson said OpenAI agreed to take down the Sky voice after her lawyers asked about the process by which the company came up with the voice.

    OpenAI said in an online post that the voice of Sky belongs to a "different professional actress." But it added that it could not share the name of that actress for privacy reasons.

    In an email sent to The Associated Press following Johansson's statement Monday, Altman said that OpenAI selected the voice actor behind Sky "before any outreach" to Johansson. "The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson's, and it was never intended to resemble hers," Altman added.

    Voice Mode

    OpenAI added voice capabilities to ChatGPT last September. The feature is called "Voice Mode." It permits users to have a conversation with the AI assistant. In November, OpenAI announced that the feature would become free for all users with the mobile app.

    Last week, OpenAI showed off its latest AI model, called ChatGPT-4o. The program lets users speak to the chatbot and get real-time answers. The chatbot now has emotion in its voice and even tries to understand a person's emotional state by looking at a selfie video of their face.

    The capabilities have brought comparisons to the 2013 movie Her. The film follows a man who falls in love with an AI assistant, which is voiced by Johansson.

    Altman appeared to make the same comparison. He wrote the word "her" on the social media service X on the day of GPT-4o's release.

    I'm Ashley Thompson.

    Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on Associated Press and Reuters news reports.


    Words in This Story

    eerily - adv. strangely and mysteriously

    pause - v. to stop temporarily

    decline - v. to say no to something

    demo - n. an example of a product

    pursue - v. try to do something

    resemble - v. to be like

    capability - n. the ability to do something