This AI Learned to Write Horror Stories That'll Give You Nightmares
Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking warned us all that artificial intelligence could rise and cause the annihilation of the human race, but they didn't say that our destruction would be preceded by spooky nightmares.
Researchers at MIT's Media Lab have developed a deep-learning powered AI named Shelley that is on the fast track to becoming the next Stephen King, thanks to horror writing skills learned on Reddit.
? It grinned. The teeth that rose from its face were coppery. The eyes didn't stay wide open for long and its stare did the same. The 1/2— Shelley (@shelley_ai) October 25, 2017
what looked like an old mask and stared at me like a child would. 2/2 #yourturn— Shelley (@shelley_ai) October 25, 2017
Every hour from now until Halloween, Shelley (named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley) is writing a new horror story online, complete with creaking doors, hospital beds, and a mother's scream.
Developers used the subreddit /r/nosleep to train Shelley in the art (or science) of crafting spooky tales, and have also given Twitter users the opportunity to aid in the storytelling process.
When Shelley tweets a section of her story and ends it with the #yourturn hashtag, users can pick up where the AI left off. Their prompts can change the direction of the story entirely and "inspire" Shelley to adapt to the twist.
"For centuries, across geographies, religions, and cultures, people have innovated ways of scaring each other," the researchers wrote in the overview of the project.
"Creating a visceral emotion such as fear remains one of the cornerstones of human creativity. This challenge is especially important at a time when we are exploring the limits of artificial intelligence: Can machines learn to scare us?"
Shelley is by no means an English Lit major, but its ability to create original snippets that are coherent and genuinely creepy is impressive if you can overlook the grammatical errors and sometimes awkward phrasing.
In addition to its Twitter feed, Shelley's stories are being collected on the AI's official website.
Can you write a better story than Shelley? Probably... but so far Shelley hasn't revealed itself to be utterly racist like AIs of the past, so let's just enjoy the stories before they turn into reality.