Scarlett Johansson Demands Answers From OpenAI’s Sam Altman

Johansson revealed that she previously declined an offer from OpenAI to use her voice for their ChatGPT 4.0 system. Yet, ChatGPT 4.0's new voice, “Sky,” sounds incredibly familiar…

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Scarlett Johansson Demands Answers From OpenAI’s Sam Altman

Breaking news: A tech entrepreneur emboldened by the popularity of his product is sort of creepy to an IRL human woman. OpenAI released the latest version of ChatGPT (ChatGPT 4.0) last week and one of the voices—Sky—in this new version sounds remarkably like Scarlett Johansson. Cinephiles (or people who can remember back to 2013) know that Johansson voiced Samantha, the AI system that Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with in Spike Jonez’s Her

Is the striking similarity a coincidence? Well, rarely are there coincidences in companies boasting $1 billion in revenue. But more pointedly, Johansson brought out some neatly stacked receipts of the damning correspondence she had with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI.

“Last September, I received an offer from Sam Altman, who wanted to hire me to voice the current ChatGPT 4.0 system. He told me that he felt that by my voicing the system, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and A.I. He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people. After much consideration and for personal reasons, I declined the offer.”

Cut to this past week, when Johansson and her fam and friends and the general public heard the voice of Sky and were like, uhhhh whomst is that!?!? The actor also revealed that two days before the release of ChatGPT 4.0, Altman reached out to her team again asking her to reconsider using her voice. Not sure what sort of timeline they operate on over at OpenAI but sounds like they were waffling on what side of “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” they wanted to fall on. Allegedly, of course.

Altman and OpenAI have denied any connection, but they’ve paused Sky’s voice after Johansson hired lawyers to demand the company disclose how they developed the voice. But don’t worry! Altman’s tweet from early last week where he just wrote “her” is still up. I’m not a legal expert, but I wouldn’t lay out breadcrumbs like that if there was even a slight possibility people would allege I stole the star of that movie’s voice for my invention. I also wouldn’t have ever gone on record saying it’s my favorite movie. 

Against the evolving nightmare landscape of deepfakes, this breach of privacy is obviously concerning. Would love to see technology that promises a vision for the future that also doesn’t abuse women’s (or anyone’s!) autonomy and likeness!

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