11 Terrifying Images Created by MIT’s New AI, Which Was Built to Horrify Us

Of 450K votes, these faces were chosen as the scariest.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Kermit the Frog as a zombie.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
The White House.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Another scary face.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Advertisement
Advertisement
Jaws in the Skeleton style.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Zombie style.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Superman.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Advertisement
Advertisement
More scary faces.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
The Golden Gate Bridge.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
The bridge again, with the Inferno style.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine
Advertisement
Advertisement
An IKEA living room.
Instagram/Nightmare_Machine

A new artificial intelligence program out of MIT seems like the start to a Black Mirror episode.

The university’s Media Lab recently created a new AI called “Nightmare Machine,” which uses deep learning to terrify humans. The algorithm has learned which types of aesthetics disturb and horrify us and has used this to transform regular images into scenes from our nightmares.

“Since centuries, across geographies, religions, and cultures people try to innovate ways of scaring each other. Creating a visceral emotion such as fear remains one of the cornerstones of human creativity,” reads the AI’s website. “This challenge is especially important in a time where we wonder what the limits of artificial intelligence are: Can machines learn to scare us?”

So far, the lab has released computer generated scary images in two collections: Haunted Faces and Haunted Places. Some editing styles the team has used include: Inferno, Ghost Town, Toxic City, Slaughter House, Tentacle Monster and Alien Invasion. The AI has transformed places like the Eiffel Tower, New York City and the White House, as well as various unidentifiable faces. To help the algorithm learn, you can go here to vote on which faces you find scary.

Flip through the slides above to see some of the scariest images “Nightmare Machine” has created.

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President