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OpenAI pauses the release of AI voice assistant to address safety issues

The OpenAI logo appears on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen with random binary data, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Boston.
The OpenAI logo appears on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen with random binary data, Thursday, March 9, 2023, in Boston. Copyright Michael Dwyer/Copyright 2023 The AP.
Copyright Michael Dwyer/Copyright 2023 The AP.
By Pascale Davies
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The advanced voice mode technology was first demoed in May but its launch has now been pushed back by a month.

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OpenAI said it is delaying the launch of its new artificial intelligence (AI) voice assistant because more time was needed for safety testing.

The ChatGPT maker showed off the “advanced voice mode” technology in a demo last month,  which was eerily human-like in its emotional responses and worked almost in real-time.

OpenAI said it would roll out the voice technology to a small group of ChatGPT Plus users at the end of June, but said on X on Tuesday that “it needed one more month to reach our bar to launch”.

“We’re improving the model’s ability to detect and refuse certain content. We’re also working on improving the user experience and preparing our infrastructure to scale to millions while maintaining real-time responses,” the company said.

OpenAI said the advanced voice mode may not launch until autumn and that exact timelines depend on meeting their “high safety and reliability bar”. 

“ChatGPT’s advanced Voice Mode can understand and respond with emotions and non-verbal cues, moving us closer to real-time, natural conversations with AI,” the company added. 

“Our mission is to bring these new experiences to you thoughtfully”.

OpenAI also faced a lawsuit from the actor Scarlett Johansson for allegedly copying her voice for one of its AI characters. 

One of the “personas” called Sky, is similar to the voice of an AI assistant that Johansson played in the film ‘Her’.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO and co-founder, has denied the allegations. 

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