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Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI was asked to use her voice. Twice.| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Days before OpenAI demonstrated its flirty new voice assistant last week, actress Scarlett Johansson said, Sam Altman, the company's chief executive, called her agent and asked him to consider licensing her voice for a virtual assistant.

It was his second request to the actress in the last year, Johannson said in a statement Monday, adding that he had said no both times.

Despite those denials, Johansson said, OpenAI used a voice that sounded “eerily similar to mine.” He hired a lawyer and asked OpenAI to stop using a voice he called “Sky.”

Open AI suspended his release from “Sky” over the weekend. The company said in a blog entry on Sunday that “AI voices should not deliberately imitate a celebrity's distinctive voice; Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson, but rather belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural voice.”

In the 2013 film “Her,” a lonely introvert named Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, is seduced by a virtual assistant named Samantha, voiced by Ms. Johansson. Last week, Altman seemed to nod to the similarity in a publish in X with the single word “she.”

OpenAI said it could not share the names of its voice professionals for privacy reasons. He said he had worked with unnamed directors and producers to develop five voices for his product: Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky. The vocals were recorded last summer in San Francisco.

Ms. Johansson's statement was previously reported by NPR's Bobby Allyn.

Johansson is the latest high-profile person to criticize OpenAI for using creative work without permission. Over the past year, OpenAI has been sued for copyright violations by authors, actors, and newspapers, including the Authors Guild of America and The New York Times, which defendant OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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