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Artificial Intelligence Creates Horror Stories At MIT

BOSTON (CBS) -- Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created artificial intelligence that can write horror stories just in time for Halloween.

The program, named "Shelley" after Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, creates a collaboration between the machine and humans.

"We wanted to ask the question, can we literally scare people using AI?" says Pinar Yanardag, PhD, one of Shelley's creators at MIT's Media Lab.

To find out if they could create artificial intelligence to write scary stuff, they fed Shelley about 140,000 horror stories that were posted to Reddit.

"Shelley," an artificial intelligence program created at MIT to write horror stories (WBZ-TV)

"We trained Shelley to be able to learn from this data, and to learn how to create stories similar to those," says Yanardag.

Then people step in to continue the stories.

Shelley turns out the first sentences, and users on Twitter take the next line. Machine and humans trade sentences, collaborating.

This also allows scientists to study "how AI and humans can solve problems together that are considered very difficult even for humans alone," says Manuel Cebrian, Phd, another Shelley co-creator.

"Shelley" tweets the piece of a horror story (WBZ-TV)

Shelley is also gathering the data that comes from the human interaction.

"Over time, we are expecting her to learn more from the crowd, and to create even more scarier stories," says Yanardag.

To read some of the stories, or to find out how you can help write them, view Shelley's website.

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