OpenAI Fires Back Against Scarlett Johansson’s Concerns—Original Voice Actress Says ‘I’ve Never Been Compared to Her”

OpenAI fires back against Scarlett Johansson lawsuit
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OpenAI fires back against Scarlett Johansson lawsuit
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Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

OpenAI has revealed documents related to its casting call for the ChatGPT 4.0 update that features a voice assistant. Scarlett Johansson sought legal counsel after saying she believes the voice was modeled on her own. OpenAI says that’s not the case.

The Washington Post has reviewed documents for the OpenAI casting call including requirements that include being a non-union actor, between 25 and 45 years-old, and must have a “warm, engaging, and charismatic” voice. No where on the casting call did the request to “sound like Scarlett Johansson” appear.

Johansson says she found the similarities between her own voice in the 2013 movie “Her” and that of OpenAI’s new voice assistant as striking.

The verdict on whether Sky—OpenAI’s virtual assistant—sounds like Scarlett Johannson’s voice is still out. OpenAI says they hired an actress in June 2023 to create the Sky voice, months before Altman contacted Johansson about becoming the voice of the assistant. The voice actresses’ agent says neither Johansson or the movie ‘Her’ were ever mentioned by OpenAI.

“The actress’s natural voice sounds identical to the AI-generated Sky voice, based on brief recordings of her initial voice test reviewed by The Post,” writes Nitasha Tiku for The Washington Post. “The agent said the name Sky was chosen to signal a cool, airy, and pleasant sound.”

Following Scarlett Johansson’s public statement about the voice assistant, OpenAI paused the use of Sky in the most recent version of ChatGPT. It published a blog post detailing the lengthy process of developing AI voices. Meanwhile, Altman himself released a statement saying that OpenAI never intended for the voice to sound like Scarlett Johansson’s at all—even if he did tweet the word ‘her’ shortly before its reveal.

In a statement from the Sky actress provided by her agent, she writes the backlash “feels personal being that it’s just my natural voice and I’ve never been compared to her by the people who do know me closely.”