Meet Shelley, an AI bot that writes terrifying horror stories

By : |November 1, 2017 0

Imagine a world ruled by robots. Weird right? But this thought might just be coming true in the future. The researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) have designed an AI bot that writes scary horror stories that give you a spine-chilling experience. The world’s first collaborative horror writer named Shelley tweets out a new story every hour alongside the hashtag #yourturn and if someone responds to the tweet, the bot replies back with a new sentence that continues the tale.

Shelley, which was created by Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian, and Iyad Rahwan, is a sequel of sorts. Last Halloween, the trio launched a project called “Nightmare Machine,” which used deep learning to generate scary images. Both projects were inspired by human fears over what artificial intelligence will mean for the future, and what it would mean if AI could scare us more viscerally.

One of the popular stories by Shelley begins as “I would wake up at 4 a.m. and see the girl lying in my bed, her head down, looking down at me. I knew I was being held by her.” Another story starts as “My heart is beating so fast it is a bit shorter than my breathing. I think I’m being stalked.”


Pinar Yanardag, one of the researchers on the project, said, “Shelley initially trained on over 140,000 horror stories on Reddit’s popular r/no sleep subreddit, and is able to generate random snippets based on what she learned or continue a story given a text. We expect Shelley to inspire people to write the weirdest and scariest horror stories ever put together.”

The bot also relies on user engagement. Shelley measures how many likes and retweets a particular story has got and writes more similar stories. So far, Shelley has written over 200 stories collaborating with her Twitter co-authors. The bot is named after famed Gothic novelist and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley.

The emergence of such AI bots could eventually affect the job employment rate in the world for humans. However, the real question herein lies whether robots can replace human writers?

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