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OpenAI saga: From Sam Altman’s return to Scarlett Johansson’s allegations

OpenAI saga: From Sam Altman’s return to Scarlett Johansson’s allegations

OpenAI, the AI giant driving ChatGPT, has once again made headlines over a tiff with Scarlet Johansson’s voice. Following the return of CEO Sam Altman last year, who was replaced twice and eventually brought back within five days, the company has been grappling with questions about the safety of AI systems. 

Scarlett Johannson ‘angered’ over ChatGPT’s voice imitation: May 21, 2024 

Actress Scarlett Johansson claims OpenAI’s new audio chatbot mode Sky bears an uncanny likeness to her own voice. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman approached her last September to lend her vocals. ChatGPT offers users a choice between the conversational voices Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper, or Sky. Altman had hoped Johansson could forge ties between tech and artists, easing the public into accepting artificial intelligence. However, when Altman contacted her just two days before launch, Johansson opted to withdraw. 

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered, and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference,” Johansson said in a statement.

SAG AFTRA, the largest U.S.-based federation of actors in Television and Radio, has backed the ‘Her’ actor, whereas Sam Altman revealed the decision to exclude Sky from OpenAI’s offerings. Johansson’s assertion has sparked an examination of AI firms utilizing copyrighted material with authorizations to refine tools such as ChatGPT.

Jan Leike’s Resignation: May 17, 2024

Jan Leike, co-leader of the ‘surperalignment’ team, which focuses on ensuring superintelligent AI is safe and beneficial for humanity, took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce his departure from OpenAI. In his tweet, he said his abrupt resignation was a result of disagreements with the company’s leadership and its ethos. “Over the past years, safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products,” Leike posted. He described his time at the research institute as a “wild journey” and said his decision to leave was one of the hardest he’s ever made.

Ilya Sutskever’s Departure: May 14, 2024

A disagreement with CEO Sam Altman led to the firing of co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who was also a part of the ‘super alignment’ team. Sutskever said in a tweet his differences compelled him to move away. “I have made the decision to leave OpenAI. The company’s trajectory has been nothing short of miraculous, and I’m confident that OpenAI will build A.G.I. that is both safe and beneficial,” Sutskever said.  A.G.I. or artificial general intelligence are AI systems that can match or surpass human capabilities.

New York Times Lawsuit: January 19, 2024

The New York Times became the first major American newspaper to sue OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. The article claims that millions of The New York Times articles served as the training ground for automated chatbots. The newspaper did not seek monetary relief for this infringement. However, “given the massive scale of the copying and the undeniable commercial success of these chatbots,” it asked for OpenAI to be held accountable for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages.”

Elon Musk’s Lawsuit: December 5, 2023

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, and Sam Altman were founding members of OpenAI. In 2018, Musk resigned and said he quit the company because he “didn’t agree with some of what (the) OpenAI team wanted to do.” 

In December last year, he sued OpenAI in California, stating that Altman and the other executives had “breached the founding agreement” of the company to “serve the broader community” in order to chase private commercial achievements, instigating questions about the direction OpenAI is taking. 

Sam Altman returns as CEO: November 22, 2023

On November 17, 2023, Sam Altman was sacked from his position as CEO after an internal conflict among the board members. However, after the news was made public, many employees and other stakeholders decided to quit the organization, forcing board members to reinstate him as CEO.

This week has been quite eventful in the field of AI, with notable progress, clashes, and new ideas coming to light. GPT 4o by OpenAI is expected to improve the effectiveness and adaptability of AI technologies. At the time, global advancements in AI are still on the go, and the full potential of AI is yet to be revealed. It’ll be interesting to see how AI’s development influences and what lies ahead for us.

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ToAI Team
Fueled by a shared fascination with Artificial Intelligence, the Times Of AI journalists team brings together various researchers, writers, and analysts. We aim to provide a comprehensive knowledge of AI for a broad audience of the Times Of AI. Through in-depth analysis of the latest advancements, investigation of ethical considerations around AI development, AI governance, machine learning, data science, automation, cybersecurity, and discussions about the future impact of AI across various sectors, we aim to empower readers with the details they need to navigate this rapidly evolving field.

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