TechScarlett Johansson sues Openai over chatbot voice similarity

Scarlett Johansson sues Openai over chatbot voice similarity

Scarlett Johansson sues Openai over chatbot voice similarity
Images source: © Pexels | Solen Feyissa

11:53 AM EDT, May 21, 2024

Scarlett Johansson took legal action against OpenAI after discovering that one of the voices used in ChatGPT sounded suspiciously similar to hers. The actress was surprised because she had previously refused the company's request to use her voice. OpenAI did not admit fault but apologized and temporarily suspended using the controversial voice.

OpenAI, the company responsible for the development of artificial intelligence, caused significant controversy because one of the voices used in ChatGPT sounded suspiciously similar to Scarlett Johansson's. Surprised by the situation, the actress took legal action to learn more about creating this voice. As reported by TechCrunch, in light of the problem, OpenAI agreed to suspend the use of that voice temporarily.

Scarlett Johansson outraged after hearing the new voice in ChatGPT

In an official statement, Scarlett Johansson expressed her surprise and concern that the voice used in ChatGPT sounded almost identical to her own. The actress explained that for personal reasons, she had rejected an offer from OpenAI to use her voice, which she received in September of last year. Therefore, she was shocked when she heard from friends that the voice used in the presented version of GPT-4.0's tool sounded very similar.

To fuel the fire, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman posted a tweet containing "Her," which suggested a deliberate reference to the film starring Johansson. She had lent her voice to a virtual assistant in that film, with whom the main character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, falls in love. Moreover, according to Johansson, the head of OpenAI had contacted her agent two days before the release of the ChatGPT 4.0 demo, asking them to reconsider the proposal to use her voice. Before the actress could respond, the system had already premiered.

OpenAI denies using Johansson's voice

After intervention from Johansson's lawyer, OpenAI assures that the voice used in ChatGPT did not imitate Johansson's but belonged to another actress. The company is committed to creating diverse voices that meet various user needs. Johansson believes that the entire situation highlights essential issues related to deepfakes, the protection of image and identity rights, and ethical boundaries in working with AI, showing how vital appropriate legal regulations are in this field.

Both sides have declared their willingness to resolve the situation transparently and with respect for the rights of all involved. OpenAI apologized to Johansson and suspended using the controversial voice, explaining its intentions and emphasizing its respect for the actress.

This is not Johansson's first clash with AI creators

Interestingly, this is not the first instance where Scarlett Johansson had to intervene legally regarding AI projects' unauthorized use of her voice or image. On October 28, 2023, a commercial for the Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar app was published on the platform X. The commercial used actual footage of the actress from the set of the movie "Black Widow," which had been modified using AI technology to promote the app's capabilities in generating images and voices. Since the commercial used Johansson's name, photo, and voice without her consent, and the ad gained significant popularity, the actress took legal action against the app's creators. As a result, the commercial was removed.

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