OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

    OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is now being paused after OpenAI used it when demoing its new GPT-4o model last week.

    “We believe 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,” the company wrote in a blog post. “To protect their privacy, we cannot share the names of our voice talents.”

    A video of the demo made the rounds on social media last week as users found the voice to be similar to Johansson’s. Some mocked the voice for being overly flirtatious, while others likened it to a male fantasy.

    The flirty voice has drawn comparisons to the 2013 film “Her,” in which Johansson voices a sultry virtual assistant. The film’s main character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, ends up falling in love with the virtual assistant.

    Although the company hasn’t compared Sky’s voice to Johansson’s, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted the word “Her” following the company’s event.

    The demo aimed to showcase the chatbot’s enhanced conversational abilities, but went viral after the sultry voice giggled at almost everything an OpenAI employee was saying. At one point, the chatbot told the employee: “Wow, that’s quite the outfit you’ve got on.” At another point, the chatbot said, “Stop it, you’re making me blush” after receiving a compliment.

    In its blog post, OpenAI says it wants its chatbot’s voices to sound “approachable” and to “inspire trust.” It also wants them to have a “warm, engaging, confidence-inspiring, charismatic voice.”

    Going forward, OpenAI says it plans to “introduce additional voices in ChatGPT to better match the diverse interests and preferences of users.”

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