ChatGPT to lose voice over America actress Scarlett Johansson similarity

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OpenAI has announced it will remove one of ChatGPT’s voices after users noted its resemblance to Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson.

Users noticed the similarity in the chatbot’s “Sky” voice option, which reads responses aloud, when OpenAI demonstrated features of its new model.

The flirty, conversational upgrade to the AI chatbot drew comparisons to the 2013 film *Her*, which stars Johansson.

OpenAI said the voices available in ChatGPT’s voice mode were “carefully selected through an extensive process spanning five months involving professional voice actors, talent agencies, casting directors, and industry advisors”.

Set in the near future, *Her* features Joaquin Phoenix falling in love with his phone’s operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

Director Spike Jonze stated at the time that the film was “not about technology or software,” but rather about finding love and intimacy.

In November, Johansson reportedly took legal action against an artificial intelligence (AI) app that used her likeness without permission in an advertisement.

OpenAI clarified on Monday that its “Sky” voice is not intended to be an “imitation” of the actress.

“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice,” it said in a blog post.

The firm said it is “working to pause” the voice while it addresses questions about how it was chosen in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Despite this, when OpenAI showed off its new model GPT-4o on 13 May, boss Sam Altman referenced the name of the film on X.

During the demonstration of its more human-like conversational abilities, the chatbot told an OpenAI staff member, “Wow, that’s quite the outfit you’ve got on.”

It also responded with, “Stop it, you’re making me blush,” when complimented.

While memes and posts about ChatGPT, featuring gifs of the film’s lonely protagonist Theodore Twombly, circulated, there were also critical reactions to the voice.

“This is giving such “female character as written by men” vibes,” said one person on X.

“Why is she so obsequious and flirty?”

In its blog post, OpenAI explained that the five voices used by its chatbot were created in partnership with voice actors.

The characteristics targeted for these voices included being multilingual and having an “approachable” or “charismatic” quality that “feels timeless” to shape the personalities.

OpenAI consulted individually with shortlisted actors about its vision for human interactions with AI, discussing the technology’s capabilities, limitations, and risks before selecting the final voices.

The advanced voice features showcased at its spring update event have not yet been made available to ChatGPT users.

OpenAI stated that these features will be accessible to subscribers who pay for faster responses and priority access to new features in the coming weeks.