Scarlett Johansson Slams OpenAI for Unapproved Use of Her Voice: Sparking Demand for Clearer AI Laws

Scarlett Johansson has threatened major AI company OpenAI with legal proceedings over an alleged “copy” of her voice in their latest ChatGPT demo.

AI Overreach?

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Concern over the future implications of artificial intelligence technology is at an all-time high – but for Holywood A-lister Scarlett Johansson, those fears have become very real, seemingly overnight. 

Accusations Against OpenAI

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Johansson has accused OpenAI, the San Francisco-based research company at the forefront of AI innovation, of deliberately copying her voice in the most recent update to their virtual chatbot, ChatGPT. 

A Strange Similarity

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ChatGPT’s latest model demo, the GPT-4.0, was released on May 13, and many users immediately noticed that the voice of the chatbot, named “Sky” shared a strange similarity to Johansson’s voice.

An Echo of “Her”

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The comparisons were not lost on Johansson, who famously voiced a similar chatbot technology in the 2013 film Her. Now, Johansson and her team are threatening OpenAI and its founder-CEO Sam Altman with legal action.

Scathing Public Statement

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On Sunday she released a scathing public statement, describing how “shocked” and “angered” she was over the release, and accusing Altman of generating a voice that sounded “eerily similar” to hers.

Shock and Anger

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“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered, and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice so eerily similar to mine that my close friends and family could not tell the difference,” the statement read.

A Previous Offer

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Johansson then went on to lob a stunning accusation. According to her, Altman had reached out to her nine months before the new ChatGPT demo was released, in an attempt to hire her as the voice of the system.

Strange Business Tactics

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The actress declined his offer, but it didn’t end there. “Two days before the Chat-GPT demo was released, Mr. Altman contacted my agent, asking me to reconsider,” the statement continued. “Before we could reconnect, the system was out there.”

Altman Speaks Out

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CEO Altman then issued a formal statement of his own, categorically denying the accusation. “We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson,” it read. “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.”

OpenAI Denies the Claim

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The company also shared a blog post on its website, insisting that an unnamed actress had provided her voice and that it was never meant to be an “imitation of Scarlett Johansson.”

A Social Media Reference

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While ChatGPT has formally denied any attempts to copy Johansson’s voice and has put a pause on its use, Altman did make a tongue-in-cheek joke about the comparisons before Johansson shared her public statement.

A Nod to “Her”

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After the demo release, Altman took to X to post the word ‘Her’ on his account, a clear reference to Johansson’s 2013 film. 

Legal Council Weighs in

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Johansson has now confirmed that her legal council has sent letters to OpenAI seeking clarification of the “exact process” used to create ‘Sky.’

More Legislation Needed

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Whether any further legal action will be taken on behalf of the actress is unclear. But for many, one thing is certain – the situation is another example of why stricter legislation is needed around AI transparency. 

The House of Representatives

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Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, a politician at the forefront of the push for AI legislation to be considered by the House of Representatives, drew attention to the incident in a statement on Tuesday.

Ensuring That Questions Are Answered

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“Anyone who believes their voice is used without their permission would ask the same questions Scarlett Johansson is asking now,” Beyer said. “The AI Foundation Model Transparency Act would ensure that those questions are answered.”

The AI Foundation Model Transparency Act

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The AI Foundation Model Transparency Act was a proposal introduced by Beyer in 2023, which would require more transparency in the development of advanced AI models. 

Sharing Their Data

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If passed, AI companies and developers would be required to share the training processes for their AI models, including the data they use to train them. 

Protecting Peoples Rights

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Beyer and other advocates for the act believe it would help many people, including Johansson, to “protect their rights and address widespread concerns from businesses and individuals about AI.”

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The postScarlett Johansson Slams OpenAI for Unapproved Use of Her Voice: Sparking Demand for Clearer AI Laws first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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