OpenAI disables ChatGPT voice that sounds like Scarlett Johansson

ChatGPT maker OpenAI said it is suspending the use of one of its popular AI voices after users noted how similar it sounds to actor Scarlett Johansson's voice.

The company's so-called voice mode feature, launching in 2023, lets users interact with ChatGPT, the widely used “generative” artificial intelligence software, by talking to it. It also acts as a text-to-speech tool that reads out answers to user prompts in one of five different voice options.

Although OpenAI said the voice in question, called Sky, is not Johansson's, the company said it is pausing its use to respond to user questions about how it chooses and samples the voices in ChatGPT.

“We are working to pause use of Sky while we address them,” the company said in a message rack on X (formerly Twitter).

In a blog post Late on Sunday, OpenAI elaborated on how it comes up with its different voices, reiterating that the Sky option uses the voice of an actor who is not Johansson.

“We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity's signature voice – Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson, but belongs to another professional actress using her own natural speaking voice. To protect their privacy, we may not disclose the names of our voice talents,” the company said in the post.


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OpenAI worked with casting professionals and voice actors, ultimately narrowing down the five voices from a pool of 400 options. The actors will be paid as long as their voices are used in ChatGPT's products, the company said. The winners were selected based on several criteria, including a sense of timelessness and how easy the voices are to listen to.

Some users lamented the company's decision to temporarily disable Sky, calling it “the best” or their “favorite” voice. It remains unclear why the company felt it necessary to remove the voice if it came from a paid actor. OpenAI has not indicated when the voice will be available again.

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