ChatGPT's Voice Mode won't launch on time — no word from Scarlett Johansson yet

OpenAI and ChatGPT
OpenAI says it needs an additional month to polish ChatGPT's Voice Mode. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

What you need to know

  • OpenAI demonstrated a Voice Mode for ChatGPT earlier this year that supported verbal communication with natural language.
  • Voice Mode was set to roll out to a select group of testers this month, but it has been delayed.
  • OpenAI explained that it needs to improve the "model's ability to detect and refuse certain content."
  • The company also aims to improve the user experience of Voice Mode and prepare infrastructure to handle the scale of expected demand.
  • OpenAI received criticism from Scarlett Johansson, who claimed the "Sky" voice for Voice Mode was based on her, though OpenAI did not mention that legal battle when announcing the delay of Voice Mode.

You'll have to wait at least one more month to try out OpenAI's Voice Mode for ChatGPT. Last month, OpenAI demoed the voice-based experience, which allows you to communicate with ChatGPT using natural language. The company planned to start testing Voice Mode with a small group of ChatGPT Plus users this month, but it has since delayed that rollout.

OpenAI shared that the delay will give the organization more time to improve "the model's ability to detect and refuse certain content." The tech giant did not specify what type of content needs to be refused, though some have speculated that users may try to have ChatGPT act like a virtual girlfriend. If that is the case, OpenAI will want to lock down what Voice Mode will and will not do.

The delay will also give OpenAI a chance to improve the user experience of Voice Mode and get its infrastructure ready to meet demand.

Live demo of GPT4-o voice variation - YouTube Live demo of GPT4-o voice variation - YouTube
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OpenAI shared the following statement on X (formerly Twitter):

"We're sharing an update on the advanced Voice Mode we demoed during our Spring Update, which we remain very excited about:

We had planned to start rolling this out in alpha to a small group of ChatGPT Plus users in late June, but need one more month to reach our bar to launch. For example, 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.

As part of our iterative deployment strategy, we'll start the alpha with a small group of users to gather feedback and expand based on what we learn. We are planning for all Plus users to have access in the fall. Exact timelines depend on meeting our high safety and reliability bar. We are also working on rolling out the new video and screen sharing capabilities we demoed separately, and will keep you posted on that timeline.

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. Our mission is to bring these new experiences to you thoughtfully."

OpenAI did not mention Scarlett Johansson in its statement. The actress accused OpenAI of making the "Sky" voice for ChatGPT sound like Johansson. Specifically, the voice was compared to Johansson's character in the Netflix movie "Her." OpenAI pulled its voice technology shortly after Johansson issued a statement.

Later, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman responded to allegations, stating, "Sky is not Scarlett Johansson's, and it was never intended to resemble hers. We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson. Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky’s voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better."

Regardless of if the delay of ChatGPT's Voice Mode is connected to any potential legal battles between OpenAI and Johansson, testers will have to wait until at least next month to try the voice technology.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

  • JamesDax3
    F Scarlett Johansson and this whole idea of being able to copyright a god damn voice. Such bullshit. imo