OpenAI suspends ChatGPT voice ‘that sounds like Scarlett Johansson’

OpenAI says it will “pause” the use of a ChatGPT voice after users noticed it sounded like actress Scarlett Johansson.

The artificial intelligence (AI) company offers five voices that can speak generated answers through its ChatGPT service.

Some users noticed that one of the voices – called Sky – sounded like Johansson, who voiced an AI assistant in the 2013 movie Her.

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman appeared to reference the film on social media site X last week, posting the word “her” on 13 May – the same day the firm showed off interactions with the voices using the new AI chatbot GPT-4o.

A week later, the company denied it intentionally copied Johansson and said it believed “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,” OpenAI said in a blog post.

“To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

Sam Altman at a summit in November
OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman. Pic: Reuters

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But in a statement on Monday, OpenAI said: “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 New York Times sued OpenAI at the end of last year over allegations it, and its biggest investor Microsoft, unlawfully used the newspaper’s articles to train and create ChatGPT.

The suit alleges that the AI text model now competes with the newspaper as a source of reliable information and threatens the ability of the organisation to provide such a service.

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