OpenAI Already Forced To Withdraw The Sexy Scarlett Johansson Like Voice Of AI Assistant

Joaquin Pheonix Her - India Today

Well, it didn’t take long, did it? Barely a week after its release, OpenAI has been forced to unceremoniously drop the sexy and flirty voice of its newly empowered AI assistant, for sounding a little too much like that of Scarlett Johansson’s AI in the movie ‘Her‘. While ‘deepfake’ concerns are the ostensible reason for OpenAI’s decision, the flirty AI also drew a backlash from many women on Social Media, as the BBC reports :

“This is giving such “female character as written by men” vibes,” said one person on X.

“Why is she so obsequious and flirty?”

The Daily Show poked fun at the new flirty AI assistant, playfully pointing out the inevitable jealousy that such a human-like female AI will provoke in women. But it’s hardly a laughing matter when new sex tech-stifling legislation might be demanded if OpenAI and other companies act clumsily when introducing their new wonders to the world. With deepfake porn being such a concern at the moment, it certainly seems a clumsy move to choose to create and then showcase a female voice that sounds so similar to Scarlett Johansson. Even clumsier was the decision by Sam Altman to actually reference the name of the movie in a Tweet.

It is hugely ironic, that OpenAI is being accused of imitating the voice of an actress who is herself attempting to imitate the voice of an AI in a movie. It’s not clear if Scarlett Johansson would have grounds for suing OpenAI for ‘using her voice’. In the past, the actress has appeared resigned to her image being used in deepfake porn videos, saying – “[c]learly this doesn’t affect me as much because people assume it’s not actually me in a porno, however demeaning it is.” However, the BBC reports that she has been left ‘shocked and angered’ by OpenAI’s use of a voice which sounds ‘eerily’ similar to that of her. The BBC article also reveals that Sam Altman had earlier reached out to Johansson and asked for permission to use her voice for the AI assistant, and been rebuffed.

The actress, who has been nominated for two Academy Awards, said she had been initially approached by Mr Altman about voicing the new chatbot in September.

“[Mr Altman] told me that he felt that by my voicing the system, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and AI,” Johansson wrote.

“He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people.”

But she eventually rejected the offer for personal reasons, she said.

Two days before the Sky chatbot was released, she added, Mr Altman contacted her agent, urging Johansson to reconsider her initial refusal to co-operate with the company.

Adding that she had been forced to hire lawyers, the actress said she had sent two legal letters to the company, to establish how the voice had been made.

“In a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity,” she wrote.

Sad to say, but given the backlash and negative publicity that this is generating for the company, it would not surprise me to see OpenAI backtrack altogether on allowing their virtual assistant to be flirty.

Featured image courtesy of India Today.

About xhumanist

Xhumanist has been writing on porn/sex tech for nearly two decades, and has been predicting the rise of VR and AR porn, as well as AI porn, and their coming together to produce fully 'immersive porn', which would be indistinguishable from the real thing, and create a society of 'sexual abundance'. He identifies as a digisexual, and has been quoted in Wired Magazine.

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