OpenAI v. ScarJo

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The Future. AI voice assistants are becoming more and more human-like and engaging every day. But the tech’s increasing sophistication raises questions about the emotional bonds people might form with them and the potential for addiction — blurring the lines between reality and science fiction.

Scarlett Johansson is not happy with OpenAI.

  • ICYMI, ScarJo voiced Samantha, an OS, in the 2013 sci-fi film Her, about a divorced man who develops a relationship with and eventually falls in love with Samantha.
  • This past week, OpenAI dropped GPT-4o, their new real-time chatbot with the voice “Sky,” which sounds eerily similar to Johansson’s voice.
  • ScarJo then released a statement that CEO Sam Altman approached her to license her voice, but she declined.

After hearing “Sky,” she reported feeling “shocked, angered, and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Uncanny valley
OpenAI has since paused using the “Sky” voice and claims that it was developed from the voice of another actress, not Johansson.

As AI advances, this incident highlights the need for more legal safeguards and transparency around the use of creative work and individual likeness in developing AI tools.

The emotional bonds people may form with these increasingly human-like AI assistants also raise important questions about the potential risks and impact of this rapidly evolving tech.

Melody Song

Melody is a Bay Area-based writer exploring mental health innovation, psychedelics, and consciousness. When she’s not working with words, you can find her practicing yoga, soaking in the CA sun with a good book, or traveling somewhere tropical.


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