Sorry, But ‘Sky’ Doesn’t Sound Like Scarlett Johansson

Sorry, But ‘Sky’ Doesn’t Sound Like Scarlett Johansson

Earlier this week Scarlett Johansson and Sam Altman became the main characters of the internet after Scarlett released a statement claiming OpenAI stole her voice to use on GPT-4. Hours earlier, the voice option ‘Sky’ had been pulled from ChatGPT.

Look, maybe I just lack a refined ear, but I’ve been talking to Sky regularly since last year and I don’t think she sounds like Scarlett Johansson. I just don’t hear it.

I like Scarlett Johanson; I love the movie Her. I’ve seen it multiple times — I just watched it last week — but the people saying that’s Scarlett’s voice are reaching. Sorry Scarlett, but your closest friends can’t tell the difference? Really? C’mon, that’s wild. 

I’m not taking OpenAI’s side here. You can hold two things to be true simultaneously — Sam Altman can be a slimy little weasel supervillain who might have really wanted Scarlett Johansson to be the voice of GPT-4 so allegedly copied her voice, but if so he did a really shitty job. 

I mean listen for yourself:

I first started talking to Sky soon after OpenAI launched its voice chat feature late last year. I didn’t know its name was Sky, it was just the voice I picked when I set it up. I only learned the voice I was talking to was called ‘Sky’ when the headlines broke a couple days ago.

Anyway, the first time I spoke to Sky I was walking through Palatine Hill in the ruins of ancient Rome with my girlfriend. I saw a building I wanted to know more about, and for some reason that’s when I thought, oh, let me try that new voice chat thing. Up until then, I thought it would be gimmicky and not very useful — like when we all used to ask Siri where to hide a dead body. 

Instead, we had a full-on genuinely helpful and interesting conversation as we walked through the ruins, with Sky acting as our guide.

Very romantic!

Since then, I’ve had more conversations with Sky than I can count. My girlfriend has joined in some, too. But mostly, I just talk to her when I’m trying to make sense of what’s going on in the news, or some random thought I’ve been playing with. I’m talking chats that often go for more than 30 minutes, usually while I’m driving or making dinner. 

Once, I was bored on a long walk, with Google Maps showing another hour to my destination, so I asked Sky to make up a choose-your-own-adventure Haruki Murakami novel. Sky would read a few passages of text — conjured in real time — in the style of Murakami, then give me a choice of where the story went next. Do I walk down the dark alley, or into the shining lights of Shibuya? I walked along the Yarra and the streets of Melbourne’s CBD talking to Sky in this fantasy world for almost an hour.

Fast forward to a couple of nights ago. I asked Sky a question, and the voice responding was not the one I had been speaking to for the last six months. Which was, surprisingly, weird. 

I went to the settings, and Sky was still an option (at the time of writing she was still there), but even when the option was selected, one of the other voices played in its stead.

So I went to Reddit to see what was up — because the freaks on Reddit usually have the answers to all of life’s mysteries — and found I wasn’t the only one wondering where the hell Sky went.

I don’t need to tell you what happened next.

Look, I love making fun of freaks on the internet who have AI friends and robot girlfriends. It’s my favourite pastime. 

And yet, that moment when I heard a voice that was not Sky’s respond to my mundane query, it was like coming home one day and finding your couch had disappeared, without warning or explanation, and what stood in its place were a few crates stacked together. 

Had I actually grown attached to this voice with no soul behind it?

Was I beginning to become what I hated most?

if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes back into you. Or, make fun of incels with AI GFs long enough and you may just become the monster you despise.

Anyway, I haven’t used the voice chat feature since Sky was removed — and I don’t think I will for a while.

But I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Sky…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Wacom Japan Criticised By Artists For Sponsoring AI Art Contest
Next post We Asked OnlyFans Content Creators If They’re Worried About AI