In May, when OpenAI first demoed a far more realistic, nearly-real-time conversational experience for its AI-powered chatbot platform ChatGPT, called advanced Voice Mode, the company said that the feature would roll out to paying ChatGPT users within a few weeks.

Months later, OpenAI says that it needs more time.

In a post on OpenAI’s official Discord server, OpenAI says that it’d planned to start rolling out advanced Voice Mode in alpha to a small group of ChatGPT Plus users in late June, but that lingering issues forced it to postpone the launch to sometime in July.

“For example, we’re improving the model’s ability to detect and refuse certain content,” OpenAI writes. “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.”

Advanced Voice Mode might not launch for all ChatGPT Plus customers until the fall, OpenAI says, depending on whether it meets certain internal safety and reliability checks. However, the delay won’t affect the rollout of the new video and screen sharing capabilities demoed separately during OpenAI’s spring press event, said the company.

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

OpenAI’s advanced Voice Mode generated quite a bit of controversy for the default voice’s similarity to actress Scarlett Johansson’s. Johansson later released a statement saying that she hired legal counsel to inquire about the voice and get exact details about how it was developed — and that she’d refused repeated entreaties from OpenAI to license her voice for ChatGPT.

OpenAI, while denying that it used Johansson’s voice without permission or a soundalike, later removed the offending voice.

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