Signal CEO denounces OpenAI leadership over ScarJo controversy

Meredith Whittaker
Photo by Doug Cody, courtesy of O’Reilly Media

  • Signal’s CEO criticized OpenAI’s handling of the Scarlett Johansson controversy in an interview with TechCrunch.
  • Meredith Whittaker said OpenAI leadership is doing “disrespectful” and “unnecessary” Edge Lord nonsense.
  • Johansson accused OpenAI of stealing her voice for her assistant “Sky”, which OpenAI denies.

Meredith Whittaker can’t resist OpenAI.

Signal’s CEO weighed in on the controversy between OpenAI and Scarlett Johansson, accusing the buzzy AI company of having a “bedroom” culture.

In an interview with TechCrunch published on Friday, Whittaker was asked what he thought about allegations that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman asked Scarlett Johansson to provide her voice for the company’s AI assistant and then, After Johansson refused, he released a vocal for his product that sounded similar. to the actor.

“It’s like… ‘Edge Lord’ nonsense. It’s very disrespectful. It’s very unnecessary,” Whittaker told TechCrunch.

She continued: “And it really tears the veil off this mythology that you are all serious people at the pinnacle of science building the next Godhead, when it is very clear that culture is bedroom shenanigans incited by a bunch of ‘Yes , men’ who think every joke they tell is funny, because they get paid to do it, and no one around takes this leadership by the shoulders and says, ‘What the fuck are you doing!?’

OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider about Whittaker’s interview.

Earlier in the week, Whittaker took to X, formerly Twitter, to express his opinions on the topic.

In response to an account that reposted Johansson’s statement accusing OpenAI of ripping off her voice, Whittaker wrote on Tuesday: “The lack of respect, unprofessionalism and strategic mistakes typical of real decision-making in the industry of AI speak infinitely louder than all voluntary security promises ever made. could.”

“In fact,” Whittaker continued, “those promises serve primarily to highlight how far the path of words is.”

OpenAI unveiled the “Sky” AI voice option last week alongside an announcement about the company’s new GPT-4o large language model. People immediately began to notice the voice’s similarity to Johansson’s, particularly her performance in the 2013 film “Her,” where the actor played an artificial intelligence assistant with whom the main character falls in love.

On Monday, Johansson issued a statement alleging that Altman had previously approached her about voicing Sky, which she declined.

Altman has said in a blog post that OpenAI did not intend for Sky’s voice to resemble Johansson’s, and that the voice belongs to a different actress the company hired. But Altman had posted a one-word statement on X after the product’s launch: “she.”

The company has stopped using Sky voice in its products, OpenAI said.

Axel Springer, the parent company of Business Insider, has a global agreement to allow OpenAI to train its models on reports from its media brands.

Axel Springer, the parent company of Business Insider, has a global agreement to allow OpenAI to train its models on reports from its media brands.