Scarlett Johansson Wants Answers About ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like ‘Her’

Bobby Allyn, NPR:

Lawyers for Scarlett Johansson are demanding that OpenAI disclose how it developed an AI personal assistant voice that the actress says sounds uncannily similar to her own.


Johansson said that nine months ago [Sam] Altman approached her proposing that she allow her voice to be licensed for the new ChatGPT voice assistant. He thought it would be “comforting to people” who are uneasy with AI technology.

“After much consideration and for personal reasons, I declined the offer,” Johansson wrote.

In a defensive blog post, OpenAI said it believes “AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice” and that any resemblance between Johansson and the “Sky” voice demoed earlier this month is basically a coincidence, a claim only slightly undercut by a single-word tweet posted by Altman.

OpenAI’s voice mimicry — if you want to be generous — and that iPad ad add up to a banner month for technology companies’ relationship to the arts.1 Are there people in power at these companies who can see how behaviours like these look? We are less than a year out from both the most recent Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes, both of which reflected in part A.I. anxieties.

Update: According to the Washington Post, the sound-alike voice really does just sound alike.

  1. A more minor but arguably funnier faux pas occurred when Apple confirmed to the Wall Street Journal the authenticity of the statement it gave to Ad Age — both likely paywalled — but refused to send it to the Journal↥︎