27 Comments

Sam is nuttier than a fruitcake and an idiot. Not a good combination for a CEO but it seems that's not uncommon😕

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Here's my admittedly crazy theory: Altman wanted to force Congress into regulating AI. This would automatically squeeze out most competitors because, in highly regulat5ed industries, the win goes to the company with the most lawyers.

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May 22Liked by Brian Merchant

"It’s hard to see how the AI wasn’t merely holding them back from all this, and why Altman would find this outcome inspiring in the context of running a company that is bent on inundating the world with AI. Maybe he just missed the subtext? It’s become something of a running joke that Altman is bad at understanding movies: he thought Oppenheimer should have been made in a way that inspired kids to become physicists, and that the Social Network was a great positive message for startup founders."

That is crazy. I dimly remember a MAD magazine bit where a reporter visits some neo-Nazis, and their favorite movie is "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," because they only watch the first 45 minutes.

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May 23Liked by Brian Merchant

Sam Altman’s obsession with "Her" is problematic; it exposes OpenAI's entitlement issues and ethical lapses.

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May 24Liked by Brian Merchant

There is a lot being said about the movie "Her" here with no mention of the creator, writer and director of the film, Spike Jonze. There is a lot Altman gets wrong about what the film is about that could have been readily rebutted by citing commentary and insights from the actual creator of the film. In the realm of commentary on AI in the context of our culture right now, that feels like a big miss (although likely not intentional)

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May 22Liked by Brian Merchant

Yeah... probably not best that such people think there are solutions in the first place.

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0708606/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

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You know I've seen a few "articles" mentioning that Microsoft was forced to stop using a voice that sounded eerily similar to Scarlett Johannsen's, but none of them mentioned this movie "Her" that you speak of, and without that context, it makes it seem like it actually could be a coincidence. I'm so tired of articles these days that seem to think people only care about the headline, so I really appreciate this excellent journalism.

I also think the link you make about 'consent' is interesting. I read something truly disturbing recently from his sister, that makes me realize that he's disregarded the concept of consent for a long time.

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There is no proof (at least yet) that Altman “pilfered” Johannsson’s voice.

This controversy is bringing out the worst of Substack.

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At the risk of sounding mean: most of the “tech bros” have the same vibe: young, sheltered, private-school educated, and very wealthy. Not a variety of experiences. Given a lot of opportunity and power at a relatively young age (before their 40s). All from wealthy NY or West Coast enclaves. They’re all the same-ish.

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I think there are some misunderstandings and biases regarding the alleged "scandal" involving the voice of GPT-4o's Sky and the movie "Her".

1. Voice comparison: After watching videos of both "Her" and GPT-4o's Sky on YouTube, I found that the voices do not sound the same. Many voices can have similar characteristics without being the same.

2. Inspiration and similarity: It's possible that Sam likes "Her" and chose a voice that sounds somewhat similar. This does not constitute copyright infringement. There are many voices with similar "raspy" qualities (https://famouspeopletoday.com/actresses-with-raspy-voices/). Many white American girls sound similar or the same. The voice is literally the voice of a stereotypical hip and smart and friendly American girl.

3. Legal Perspective: From a legal perspective, Scarlett Johansson does not seem to have a strong case here. The voices are different, and OpenAI has contacted over 400 voice actors (https://openai.com/index/how-the-voices-for-chatgpt-were-chosen/). The rest seems to be circumstantial.

4. Return of "Sky": While it's a controversial issue, I think OpenAI should consider reinstating "Sky" if it's consistent with their principles and community guidelines, and should not give in to external pressure and haters.

5. Movie "Her" in 2024: Opinions on the movie "Her" may vary (Sam and 95% of critics loved it, I hated it). Some people find its portrayal of AI-human relationships realistic, while others may see it differently. Personally, I think the movie (in 2024) sucks, and the guy is a loser and an idiot, and we should all say so explicitly so as not to normalize this type of phenomenon in the future. The story is interesting as a movie of AI-human interaction, not as a reality of human needs and not something we want to instantiate or normalize.

6. Public Reaction: The reactions to this story are influenced by the rapid progress and success of OpenAI, which evokes strong, biased emotions, including admiration and envy (haters, man).

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author

Appreciate the perspective — will just point out that it wouldn't be a copyright case, but an appropriation case a la Bette Midler or Tom Waits, who sued after companies used impersonators to cash in on their likeness. Given the deliberateness with which Altman compared his product to Her, and the general similarities, I definitely think Johansson has a case, if not an ironclad one.

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These cases refer to impersonators. In this case, we are talking about a real voice actor whose voice was used to create Sky.

In the first case you mention, the voice of the impersonator was said to sound "impeccably" like the singer's (Wikipedia). In the second case, Frito Lay had doubts about the impersonator because it sounded a bit "too much" like the singer (https://boingboing.net/2024/05/24/when-tom-waits-sued-frito-lay-for-paying-someone-to-imitate-his-voice.html).

In this case, the voice does not sound impeccably like Scarlett's, as I argued. In fact, OpenAI did not copy or impersonate her voice, and the voice actor they used stated that she was never forced to sound like Scarlett, and that the situation "feels personal being that it's just my natural voice and I've never been compared to her by the people who do know me closely".

She would probably have a case against Scarlett, since she is a voice actor and not an impersonator, if Scarlett were to take legal action against OpenAI.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2024/05/22/openai-scarlett-johansson-chatgpt-ai-voice/

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For example, the voice actor OpenAI hired can bring the following types of actions against Scarlett:

1) Defamation: If Scarlett's claims are falsely damaging to the voice actor's reputation. (which they are, because they make her look like an impersonator and a fraud).

2) Tortious interference: If Scarlett's actions intentionally interfered with her contractual or business relations. (They are, because OpenAI pulled Sky's voice, potentially interfering with the actor's income stream or future fame).

3) False Light: If the claims placed the voice actor in a false and offensive light. (Given the voice actor's less public persona at the moment of the case and as a voice actor, this applies).

4) Emotional distress: If Scarlett's actions caused substantial emotional distress. (This can lead to imposter syndrome and fear of retaliation from Scarlett's groupies or fans).

On top of this, there could be criminal cases against Scarlett if there is harassment or threats from her fan base or associates. Additionally, if Scarlett's statements about being "shocked" were shown to have been made with the intent to deceive OpenAI and the public (demonstrating knowledge of falsity, which could be revealed during discovery if any messages from Scarlett or her associates show awareness of the voice mismatch or non-likeness), this could form the basis of a criminal fraud case. Misrepresentation could also be considered as part of a fraud case against Scarlett if Scarlett continues to make statements that misrepresent the voice actor's involvement or the nature of Sky's voice.

While it is doubtful that OpenAI and its voice actor are currently considering criminal charges, if any of the above conditions are met after the voice actor's identity is revealed, pursuing such charges could become a viable option.

However, it is advisable that the actor (with or without OpenAI's assistance) pursue civil action against Scarlett as soon as possible to address any resulting damages arising from Scarlett's actions.

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I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you are not a lawyer, are you?

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So damn annoying to deal with people like you online. I researched the legal cases surrounding the issue and investigated the information. I researched potential civil cases that might apply to OpenAI’s voice actor (torts or wrongs).

The criminal cases are a stretch (and I admitted it in the post), but a nice part of my imagination and curiosity, and I'm pretty sure the executioner-style legal teams working at Big AI or Big Tech wouldn't mind having someone like me working in the same company as them (on another team, or guiding them and giving them ideas, or even telling them to find crazy precedents that would get the company out of trouble, even if they're a stretch, that's the point of the law, it just has to make logical sense for it to apply, and entertaining a case is enough to keep someone else from suing you).

I hope this answers your question. Yes, you took a hazard in questioning me.

Now, let's be realistic. The whole point of the argument here is to make some sort of overkill out of the Scarlett Johansson case. I think it is reasonable to think that the case:

(1) Goes nowhere, given that the OpenAI voice actor is real (even Johansson's people said, "Oh, but OpenAI didn't tell us about the existence of this voice actor," implying that they realize the case goes nowhere now that this has surfaced), and not an impersonator.

Source: Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/scarlett-johansson-openai-voice-actor-chatgpt-sam-altman-2024-5?op=1, ("Johansson's agent told the outlet that the actor was never mentioned by OpenAI or CEO Sam Altman during the process".)

(2) If the case against OpenAI goes forward, OpenAI can retaliate against Johansson via the voice actor types of claims I made.

(3) The criminal ones, which are obviously the overkill. But hey, suppose it "somehow" turns out that Johansson's associates or fan base are threatening the voice actor, or it "somehow" turns out that Johansson knew that Sky's voice sounded different from hers, since she said that "everyone around her was shocked," and this could be construed as "knowledge of falsity" (a requirement in fraud). Then you could argue that she intentionally wanted to deceive OpenAI and the public.

So (1) and (2) are perfectly valid assumptions. (3) is unlikely, just overkill. Sometimes you have to try to attack your opponent disproportionately in order to win.

What's so stupid about that?"

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While the media focuses on Sam Altman, Microsoft is making plans to build data centers in more than half a dozen countries.

They are able to do this because of their deal with OpenAI and faster Azure growth. What will they do in those countries like Indonesia and Thailand?

They will train the cheap labor AI workers of the future.

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so let me get it straight

You believe

1. altman thinks he will build AGI

2. altman see a significant risk for AGI turn to ASI and destroy the planet

3. altman believes if that risk materializes he can save himself from that ASI with the help of a bunker

you see the inconsistencies in that flow right?

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author

Not really? I don't really "believe" Altman on any of these points, but he has stated all of those things — he constantly professes to building AGI, constantly worries publicly about the risk, and has admitted he has a plot of land in Big Sur, guns, and a survival bunker. I *do* think he intuits on some level how much his class is loathed and worries about unrest etc, and maybe a wider calamity, and yes, I do think his hubris is such that he believes he'll be insulated in a bunker if things get hairy!

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Because she’s alluring

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Sorry, turns out if you are the most enthusiadtic fieriest responder o course t robot w putt you up front. Sorry , my fear stands. I think you will notice in future your carefully worded respinses getting attached as responses to older staler comments. This is my this minute experience.

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Gawd y ou all sorry my bad. My blague was posted as a new tgread and i tbought it was randomly sent up as a comment on a random comment. Ugh i still think Her is the one only utopia in english fiction.

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Your sub optimum, non positive. You will see give it two days it is abew feature. I have ominir skin inflmation because Shortstack has not told us they are using AI. Goto hell .

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