Thursday, June 20, 2024

Scarlett Johansson sues over AI voice

Scarlett Johansson Criticizes OpenAI Over Synthetic Voice Resemblance

Scarlett Johansson Reacts to OpenAI Sky Voice: 'Shocked' and 'Angered'

Actor Scarlett Johansson expressed her “shock, anger, and disbelief” in a statement to CNN on Monday, condemning OpenAI CEO Sam Altman for using a synthetic voice in a ChatGPT update that closely resembles her own.

OpenAI announced it would pause the update featuring the controversial voice, Sky, following comparisons to Johansson’s character in the film “Her.” The backlash centered on the voice’s overly familiar and flirtatious tone, which critics mocked as a male fantasy.

HER, Joaquin Phoenix, 2013.

HER, Joaquin Phoenix, 2013

In her statement, Johansson revealed that Altman had offered her a role to voice ChatGPT 4.0, which she declined for personal reasons. Despite her refusal, Altman reached out again just before the update’s release. Johansson has since hired legal counsel, leading OpenAI to remove the Sky voice after receiving letters from her lawyer.

Johansson emphasized the need for clarity and legal protection regarding the use of one’s likeness, especially in the era of deepfakes. OpenAI maintained that the Sky voice was performed by a different professional actress and was not intended to resemble Johansson.

Altman apologized for any miscommunication and confirmed the suspension of Sky’s voice, reiterating the company’s efforts to create trustworthy and approachable AI voices.

The incident highlights ongoing societal concerns about biases in technology developed by predominantly White male-led companies. It also follows internal criticism of OpenAI’s safety practices by a departing employee, who argued that the company prioritized product development over safety.

OpenAI President Greg Brockman defended the company’s approach to long-term AI safety, emphasizing their commitment to rigorous testing and international governance of AI systems.

The controversy over Sky underscores the broader challenges in balancing technological innovation with ethical considerations and user trust.

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