Wrap Up Your Halloween by Reading This Twitter Bot's Weird Reddit-Generated Horror Stories

Tom McKay today at 03:08. 0 comments
Spooky Scary Halloween Horror AI Machine Learning Twitter Social Media Technology

This year’s Tuesday-night Halloween means that most of the nation’s serial killers, monsters, and various stabby creatures have to turn in early for a bright and early hump day. But in lieu of being chased around by a low-budget demon, it’s not too late to wrap up your night by dimming the lights and reading some tales from a machine designed to creep you out.

MIT Media Lab researchers have developed Shelley, a social media program primed with 140,000 posts from Reddit’s horror fiction subforum r/nosleep until it was ripe with ideas of wildly variable quality. (For those who have never read r/nosleep, it produces a few gems alongside mountains of parody-inspiring slop—just like the real horror genre.) Shelley generates intros to horror stories based on its library of Reddit posts, posts them to Twitter, and then collaborates with users to continue certain tales when it gets engagement with the hashtag #yourturn.

As you can imagine, Shelley’s Reddit-fed brain is equal parts gross, campy, and weird:

Sometimes it doesn’t quite make sense.

On a few lucky occasions it’s kind of creepy, or comes up with something that could conceivably be the intro to a spooky tale.

But mostly it pulls directly from a big box of well-established tropes.

Then sometimes Shelley just leaves you with a cliffhanger.

One commonality is that virtually all of these stories seem to start off with the protagonist in the dark with something weird staring at them... but that’s pretty much what you get with r/nosleep.

“The rapid progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has people worried about everything from mass unemployment to the annihilation of the human race at the hand of evil robots,” researcher Iyad Rahwan wrote to Quartz. “We know that AI terrifies us in the abstract sense. But can AI scare us in the immediate, visceral sense?”

Shelley is fun and weird, but we’re probably going to have to wait a few more generations of AI development before she keeps you up all night. Still, check out this archive of her stories on their website. The intro to this one is my personal favorite:

I thought it was my imagination being played on me and that I was just seeing things. After a few minutes of this, I realized that it was a website called “Demonic Christian Chronicle”. What!? The website had the strangest fonts, and was asking for a password to log into it. I tried “666” and… it worked.

Folks, and that website... was Gizmodo dot com.

[Quartz]

HighResolutionMusic.com - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 CHVRCHES

Here With Me flac

CHVRCHES. 2019. Writer: Steve Mac;Martin Doherty;Marshmello;Lauren Mayberry;Iain Cook.
2 5 Seconds Of Summer

Who Do You Love flac

5 Seconds Of Summer. 2019. Writer: Andrew Taggart;Talay Riley;Oak;Sean Douglas;Luke Hemmings;Calum Hood;Ashton Irwin;Michael Clifford;Trevorious;Zaire Koalo.
3 Bonn

No Sleep flac

Bonn. 2019. Writer: Albin Nedler;Bonn;Martin Garrix.
4 Katy Perry

365 flac

Katy Perry. 2019. Writer: Zedd;Katy Perry;Caroline Ailin;Corey Sanders;Daniel Davidsen;Cutfather;Peter Wallevik.
5 Alan Walker

Are You Lonely flac

Alan Walker. 2019.
6 DEAMN

Happy flac

DEAMN. 2019.
7 Jonas Brothers

Sucker flac

Jonas Brothers. 2019. Writer: Kevin Jonas;Joe Jonas;Nick Jonas;Ryan Tedder;Louis Bell;Frank Dukes.
8 Brooks

Better When You're Gone flac

Brooks. 2019. Writer: David Guetta;Emma Lov Block;Ido Zmishlany;Jackson Foote;Jeremy Dussolliet;Brooks.
9 Ariana Grande

Imagine flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: JProof;Priscilla Renea;Happy Perez;Andrew "Pop" Wansel;Ariana Grande.
10 P!nk

Walk Me Home flac

P!nk. 2019. Writer: P!nk;Scott Harris;Nate Ruess.
11 Ava Max

So Am I flac

Ava Max. 2019. Writer: Cirkut;Ava Max.
12 Louis Tomlinson

Two Of Us flac

Louis Tomlinson. 2019. Writer: Bryn Christopher;Andrew Jackson;Duck Blackwell;Louis Tomlinson.
13 Bebe Rexha

Last Hurrah flac

Bebe Rexha. 2019. Writer: Andrew Wells;Nick Long;Lauren Christy;Bebe Rexha.
14 Anna Yvette

Chosen flac

Anna Yvette. 2019. Writer: TheFatRat;Laura Brehm;Anna Yvette.
15 Avril Lavigne

Dumb Blonde flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Mitch Allan;Bonnie McKee;Nicki Minaj;Avril Lavigne.
16 Greyson Chance

Timekeeper flac

Greyson Chance. 2019. Writer: Greyson Chance;Willy Beaman.
17 Why Don't We

Cold In LA flac

Why Don't We. 2019. Writer: Corbyn Besson;Zach Herron;Jack Avery;Jonah Marais;Daniel Seavey.
18 Tiffany Young

Born Again flac

Tiffany Young. 2019. Writer: Fiction;Satica;Tiffany Young.
19 Anitta

R.I.P flac

Anitta. 2019. Writer: Chaz William Mishan;David Delazyn (The Fliptones);Shari Lynn Short;Thomas Augusto;Omar Tavarez;Tainy;The Fliptones;Rita Ora;Sofía Reyes.
20 Avril Lavigne

Crush flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Johan Carlsson;Avril Lavigne;Zane Carney.

Suggested posts

Other Tom McKay's posts

Language