A Voice Too Familiar: Johansson and Altman Clash Over AI

Johansson and Altman Clash

Johansson and Altman Clash

Actress Scarlett Johansson and Sam Altman, CEO of AI research company OpenAI, are embroiled in a controversy surrounding the voice used in OpenAI’s ChatGPT system. Johansson alleges that Sky, the voice model for ChatGPT’s latest iteration, sounds suspiciously similar to her own despite her refusal to participate in the project.

According to Johansson, Altman approached her in September 2023 to provide the voice for ChatGPT 4.0. After declining for personal reasons, she was shocked to hear a voice eerily reminiscent of hers in Sky, unveiled by OpenAI in May 2024. Johansson contends that this constitutes unauthorized impersonation and has taken legal action.

OpenAI maintains that the voice was never intended to resemble Johansson’s. They claim a separate voice actress was hired before contacting the actress. Altman has apologized for the miscommunication but denies any deliberate attempt to replicate Johansson’s voice.

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This incident raises critical questions. Did OpenAI borrow from Johansson’s voice without her consent? Was it an unintended technical quirk, or does this mark a new era of AI-powered celebrity impersonation that infringes upon likeness rights? The debate has ignited discussions on ethical considerations in AI development and the need for transparency concerning the use of personal data.

The situation remains in flux. Johansson pursues legal action, while OpenAI denies any wrongdoing. The outcome of this dispute will have significant implications for the future of AI and the protection of celebrity rights in the digital age.

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