Published: 09:52, May 22, 2024 | Updated: 10:17, May 22, 2024
Actors union backs Scarlett Johansson after claim of voice misuse by OpenAI
By Reuters
In this file photo dated Sept 28, 2023, US actress Scarlett Johansson arrives for The Albies hosted by the Clooney Foundation at the New York Public Library in New York City. (PHOTO / AFP)

SAG-AFTRA, an influential body representing television and radio artists, on Tuesday backed Scarlett Johansson after the American actress raised concerns over the voice feature of a new OpenAI system that she said sounded "eerily similar" to her own.

OpenAI unveiled its latest artificial intelligence model, GPT-4o, last week, featuring an audio-interacting persona named "Sky".

Johansson said on Monday that she had previously turned down a request from the company to use her voice for this system. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman clarified that the voice belonged to a different professional actress and said he was removing Sky's voice from the company's products.

In this file photo dated Oct 24, 2023, the SAG-AFTRA logo is displayed outside of the National Headquarters on Wilshire Blvd during the actors strike in Los Angeles, California. (PHOTO / AFP)

"We thank Ms. Johansson for speaking out on this issue of crucial importance to all SAG-AFTRA members. We share in her concerns and fully support her right to have clarity and transparency regarding the voice used," a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said.

SAG-AFTRA, which represents about 160,000 entertainment and media professionals globally, played a big role in securing agreements from Hollywood studios for better pay and protections against the use of AI for actors.

ALSO READ: Scarlett Johansson says OpenAI chatbot voice 'eerily similar' to hers

A photo taken on Nov 23, 2023 shows the logo of the ChatGPT application developed by US artificial intelligence research organization OpenAI on a smartphone screen (left) and the letters AI on a laptop screen in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (PHOTO / AFP)

The dispute over the rights to actors' voices and images has become a focal point in Hollywood as studios evaluate AI's potential for creating new entertainment. The issue is particularly relevant as computer-generated images and sounds become increasingly indistinguishable from human ones.

READ MORE: Scarlett Johansson ties the knot with comedian Colin Jost

SAG-AFTRA said it was "strongly championing federal legislation that would protect their voices and likenesses" and will continue engaging with OpenAI and other stakeholders "to enshrine transparent and resilient protections for all of us".