AI can write surprisingly scary and creative horror stories

She’s called Shelley, and you can find her on Twitter.

Writing and creativity may be traditionally thought of as the domain of humans, but AIs are making strides in this area. We've previously covered how the UK Press Association is handing off writing duties in newsrooms to robots, thanks to Google, and even how a robot wrote for Engadget. Now, there's an AI named Shelley (after Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein) who can write pretty incredible horror stories.

Once per hour, Shelley tweets out a new story at her account @shelley_ai. She relies on responses from other Twitter users to keep the story going. Users can reply with up to three threaded tweets and end their additions to the story with #yourturn. Other users or Shelley will then chime in to pick up where you left off. It's important to note that Shelley won't continue every story that's tweeted at her. She'll only respond to the top stories; these are measured by interactions (so likes and retweets).

The project is from the MIT Media Lab and is designed by Pinar Yanardag, Manuel Cebrian and Iyad Rahwan, according to Design. The team used 140,000 horror stories from the subreddit r/nosleep to teach the AI how to tell a horror story that a human would find intelligible, compelling and scary. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Shelley, though, is her reliance on human interaction to facilitate her storytelling. It's an interesting example of AI and humans working together to create something entirely new.