Nightmare Machine

Nightmare Machine

Don't throw away your Stephen King collection just yet. But the Master of the Macabre might want to keep an eye out behind him, because scientists have just unleashed a nightmare machine on a mission to churn out its own bone-chilling tales.

MIT researchers have applied the electrodes and brought to life a new fiction-writing bot they call Shelley—after "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley. To keep the bot busy—no wandering the countryside terrorizing villagers!—the team gave it a crash course in the horror genre, forcing it to read 140,000 stories published by amateur writers on a popular online forum.

Now Shelley's artificial neural network is generating its own stories, posting opening lines on Twitter, then taking turns with humans in collaborative storytelling.

She’s creating really interesting and weird stories that have never really existed in the horror genre.
— Pinar Yanardag

Sample Initial Story by Shelley

I then looked out my window to the side of my house and I could see the figure of a man standing in the woods. I froze and then I ran after him. I ran and ran and ran and ran, and then I realized he was ...

Sample Result after 14 Tweets with 5 Participants

I then looked out my window to the side of my house and I could see the figure of a man standing in the woods. I froze and then I ran after him. I ran and ran and ran and ran, and then I realized he was not a man at all. But something far worse. It stopped to look back at me and the breath caught in my throat. It was a tall black humanoid figure with no facial features and I didn't know why it was staring. I realised too late it was probing me, trying to find a way into my mind. An awful alien voice filled my head and I couldn’t run from it anymore. It felt like forever, and I felt something tickle me, a burning that I knew would never stop. I understood now its sole purpose: not just killing me but erasing all memory of my existence. I was unable to move and I stared at this thing for a moment and then I felt its skin was cold and pale and then it felt like a shifting body in my lungs was trying to stay in my soul. He was slowly taking over my body. I could feel his alien presence inside me. He chose me to be his host; his human companion while he is going to take over the world. The sound of my last breath burned to a crack in his body. I could feel it rise above my body. I was terrified of what was coming. I looked up at my “body” and saw myself floating In my last conscious thought, I felt sorry for the world, for it will be over soon, and felt proud of the alien race I belonged to.

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