ChatGPT loses its voice because it sounds eerily like Scarlett Johansson

OpenAI has put one of its voices on pause after users noticed that it sounds similar to Scarlett Johansson.

Sky, one of the chatbot’s voice options, was likened to Scarlett Johansson, who voices the operating system in the movie Her, where the protagonist falls in love with a chatbot.

Although OpenAI has denied that the voice was modeled on or imitated the actor, when GPT-4o was announced, Sam Altman shared a post on X which simply said “Her.”

OpenAI has explicitly stated in a blog post that AI voices “should not deliberately mimic a celebrity's distinctive voice – Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice.”

In a post on X, OpenAI claims to have paused Sky until the situation is resolved.

The post reads:

“​​We’ve heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky. We are working to pause the use of Sky while we address them.”

OpenAI claims that the entire process of picking the right voices for the bot “involved extensive coordination with the actors and the casting team, taking place over five months.”

News outlets like the BBC, which first reported this story, have described the new ChatGPT voices as a flirtatious upgrade.

In a blog post, OpenAI claimed that people have responded well to the feature and that it was “encouraged by the way users have responded to the feature and the individual voices.”

“In early 2023, to identify our voice actors, we had the privilege of partnering with independent, well-known, award-winning casting directors and producers. We worked with them to create a set of criteria for ChatGPT's voices, carefully considering the unique personality of each voice and their appeal to global audiences,” the post reads.

Johansson claims that she previously turned down the opportunity to voice the chatbot and the actor accused OpenAI and Altman of copying her voice, a statement seen by the BBC shows.

The star released a statement that claims she was approached by Altman last September to collaborate on the voice of ChatGPT 4.0 and after careful consideration the actor declined.

Johansson expressed her "shock," "disbelief," and anger when she heard that the voice of Sky sounded "eerily similar" to her own. The actor has supposedly consulted with legal counsel to pursue the incident further.

Despite the positive way OpenAI has positioned these voices, some users had mixed reactions. One X user stated, “This is giving such “female character as written by men' vibes," the BBC reported, and another user said, "Why is she so obsequious and flirty?"

The voice features included in the OpenAIs spring update are not yet available to the public, but the company claims that they will be available to “ChatGPT Plus users in the coming weeks.”