Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman of stealing her voice

Actress Scarlett Johansson has accused OpenAI CEO Sam Altman of stealing her voice for his company's latest AI-powered voice-generation project.

2 minutes & 13 seconds read time

Scarlett Johansson has accused OpenAI of stealing her voice to its latest ChatGPT AI product called "Sky", with the actress saying she was "shocked, angered in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine."

Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman of stealing her voice 156561156

The actress has spoken to publications regarding her concerns about OpenAI's ChatGPT AI voice called "Sky" following its launch last week. Johansson says that OpenAI has used a voice similar to hers for its artificial intelligence voice software despite saying no to Altman's request to use her voice. Notably, the response from Johansson comes after OpenAI said it was going to pull amid the controversy around the Johansson resemblance.

According to Johansson, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman approached her last September and again two days before the announcement of ChatGPT-4o on May 13. Notably, Johansson played the voice character in the film "Her" which is about a man who developers a relationship with an AI virtual assistant.

The actress explained she declined the offer from Altman, who said that "I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and AI. He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people."

Furthermore, on the day OpenAI announced its new AI, Altman posted a seemingly cryptic message, "her," which appears to be linked to Johansson's movie.

"The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson's, and it was never intended to resemble hers. We cast the voice actor behind Sky's voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson," Altman said. "Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky's voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn't communicate better."

"When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference," Johansson said. "Mr. Altman even insinuated that the similarity was intentional, tweeting a single word 'her.'"

"We've heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky," OpenAI posted on X on Monday.

"Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice," the company wrote in a blog post on Sunday. "To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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