Happy Halloween: MIT-Built Artificial Intelligence Writes Its Own Horror Stories

Rob Stothard/Getty Images
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

An artificial intelligence bot built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology writes new, short horror stories every hour, according to a report.

The bot, which is nicknamed Shelley, “tweets out the beginning of a new horror story every hour, alongside the hashtag #yourturn as an invitation to human co-writers.”

“Anyone is welcome to reply to the tweet with the next installment of the story, thereby prompting Shelley to reply again with the next part,” reported Digital Trends on Monday.

According to one of the project’s researchers, Pinar Yanardhag, “Shelley is a deep learning-based A.I. that took her name [from] horror story writer, Mary Shelley.”

“She initially trained on over 140,000 horror stories on Reddit’s popular r/nosleep subreddit, and is able to generate random snippets based on what she learned, or continue a story given a text,” Yanardhag explained. “We expect Shelley to inspire people to write the weirdest and scariest horror stories ever put together. So far, Shelley has co-authored over 100 stories with Twitter users, and some of them are really scary.”

MIT Media Lab Associate Professor Iyad Rahwan, however, claimed human writers shouldn’t fear robot replacement anytime soon.

“Human authors have nothing to fear in the short term,” Rahwan declared. “Today, A.I. algorithms can generate highly structured content, such as reports on market developments or sports games. They can also generate less structured, more creative content, like short snippets of text. But algorithms are still not very good at generating complex narrative.”

“It will be a while before we have an A.I. version of J. K. Rowling or Stephen King, [although] there are no guarantees about where things are headed in the medium or long term,” the professor concluded. “Machines may eventually be able to construct complex narratives, and explore new creative spaces in fiction.”

Some of the stories that Shelley has created can be read on the Stories by Shelley website, while they can all be seen on the AI’s official Twitter account.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.


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