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Is that 'Her'? OpenAI Pauses a ChatGPT Voice After Resembling Scarlett Johansson

Due to the resemblance to Scarlett Johansson, OpenAI temporarily suspends the use of the Sky voice in ChatGPT. OpenAI rejects intentional imitation and clarifies that the voice belongs to another actress. Scarlett Johansson alleges she rebuffed OpenAI's offer to provide her voice for the system.

The voice in question, entitled Sky, has been compared to Johansson's performance as an AI assistant in the 2013 film "Her."

In a recent post on the social media network X, OpenAI recognised user concerns and announced plans to "pause" the Sky voice. The company expressed its commitment to addressing questions about the selection process for the lifelike audio options available in its flagship AI chatbot.

OpenAI also took the opportunity to dispel rumors circulating on the internet regarding Johansson's involvement in the project. In a blog post, the company clarified that Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice. OpenAI, however, refrained from disclosing the names of its voice actors for privacy reasons.

Contrary to OpenAI's statement, Scarlett Johansson released a statement on Monday claiming that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had approached her in September to request her voice for the system. Johansson declined the offer and expressed her shock and disbelief upon hearing the released demo, stating that the voice sounded eerily similar to hers. She further mentioned that her lawyers had written letters to Altman, prompting OpenAI to reluctantly agree to remove the Sky voice.

OpenAI has not provided further details on why it decided to pause the use of the Sky voice despite Johansson's denial of involvement. The company initially introduced voice capabilities for ChatGPT in September, offering users the option to engage in interactive conversations with the AI assistant. The "Voice Mode" feature was initially available only to paid subscribers but was later made free for all users with the mobile app.

OpenAI continues to enhance ChatGPT's capabilities, with the latest update boasting the ability to mimic human cadences in verbal responses and even detect people's moods. The newest model, GPT-4o, works faster than previous versions and can reason across text, audio, and video in real time. Although GPT-4o is not widely available yet, select users will have access to its text and image capabilities in the coming weeks and months. However, the new voice mode will remain exclusive to paid subscribers of ChatGPT Plus.

The recent developments in ChatGPT's capabilities have sparked comparisons to the movie "Her," where a man falls in love with an AI-operating system. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman added to the speculation by posting the word "her" on social media during the unveiling of GPT-4o.

Critics have also raised concerns about the gendered nature of voice assistants, pointing out the historical tendency of tech companies to develop and engage with female-voiced assistants in subservient roles. The United Nations' culture and science organisation highlighted this issue in 2019, emphasising the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. The flirtatious tone observed in some of ChatGPT's interactions has reignited the conversation around the gendered dynamics of AI chatbots.

  • OpenAI temporarily pauses the use of the Sky voice in ChatGPT due to resemblance to Scarlett Johansson.

  • OpenAI denies intentional imitation and clarifies that the voice belongs to a different actress.

  • Scarlett Johansson claims she declined OpenAI's offer to lend her voice to the system.

Source: AP NEWS

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