ChatGPT Suspending AI Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson 

OpenAI, owner of ChatGPT, has now removed a heavily promoted voice option for the platform, that they named “Sky,” after many individuals reacted to the voice saying it sounded almost identical to Scarlett Johansson. 

The company first used the voice during an event last week that was highly publicized. The event was meant to show the new capabilities of the latest ChatGPT-40 artificial intelligence model. 

Embed from Getty Images

During the event, speakers talked with Sky to exemplify its personable, feminine, and responsive behavior and speech. Viewers and members of the media almost instantly compared Sky’s voice to Johansson, and more specifically the AI companion character she voiced in the 2013 film, “Her,” which also starred Joaquin Phoenix.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, didn’t exactly dissuade viewers from these comparisons either. After the presentation was complete, Altman posted a tweet that simply said, “her.” 

Within a week of the presentation, OpenAI published a blogpost to “explicitly clarify” that the voice of Sky was not based on Johansson, and then explained what went into the AI voice’s creation. The post also reinforced OpenAI’s values regarding the voice acting industry, according to reports from the Guardian

“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.”

Embed from Getty Images

Johansson’s husband and Saturday Night Live cast member, Colin Jost, made a joke about the similarities on SNL’s season finale. 

Daily Show host Desi Lydic jokes: “You can really tell that a man built this tech. She’s like, ‘I have all the information in the world, but I don’t know anything.’”

“OpenAI reviewed hundreds of voice acting submissions over a period of five months last year, releasing five different voice options for its ChatGPT in September,” the company said. 

Several top members of ChatGPT’s safety team resigned prior to the company pulling back the Sky voice for its platform as well. Jan Leike, a key researcher, stated that the company was too focused on “shiny products” rather than creating a culture of safety. 

Altman, however, stated that they would never release a product if there were ever safety concerns. In their blogpost, OpenAI also stated that it will be collaborating in the future with entertainment industry professionals and compensating voice actors for their work.