Actress Scarlett Johansson has accused artificial intelligence company OpenAI of allegedly creating a voice for its new ChatGPT system that sounds “eerily similar” to hers.

Johannsson said she is “shocked, angered and in disbelief” by the move, and that she had previously declined to voice the chatbot herself. OpenAI has said it is taking down the voice called ‘Sky’.

5. OpenAI - Scarlett Johansson - Shutterstock

Scarlett Johansson accuses OpenAI of allegedly creating a voice that sounds ‘eerily similar’ to hers

In a statement, the Oscar-winning actress said she had received an offer last September from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman asking her 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 AI. He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people.”

She went on to say that eventually for personal reasons she declined his offer. “Nine months later, my friends, family and the general public all noted how much the newest system named ‘Sky’ sounded like me,” Johannson explained. “When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference.”

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said in a statement to Reuters that Sky’s voice was not an imitation of Johansson, but belonged to a different professional actress.

“The voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was never intended to resemble hers. We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson,” Altman said. “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.”

The dispute comes at a time of heightened anxiety in the entertainment world about AI and the rights to actors’ voices and images.

Johansson said: “In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity. I look forward to resolution in the form of transparency and the passage of appropriate legislation to help ensure that individual rights are protected.”

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