Science & Tech

Halloween: Artificial intelligence being used to create spooky stories - but the results are bizarre

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It's nearly Halloween and what better time of the year than to indulge in some nostalgia by enjoying a Goosebumps book?

You remember Goosebumps by R.L. Stine, right? 'Say Cheese and Die'? 'Night of the Living Dummy'? 'Monster Blood'? All classics.

The scary books aimed at young adults were a big hit in the 90s and even inspired a TV show and two movies.

Well, now you can relive all those scares and chills with an interactive take on the Goosebumps novels, thanks to the team at Botnik studios.

Their creation which focuses on the new story 'Give Yourself Goosebumps: Welcome to Sand Hands' allows you to play as yourself.

However, rather than create a story from scratch they have used the stories from the short-lived 'Give Yourself Goosebumps' books to create this new story, using nothing but artificial intelligence.

Botnik's Nicky Martin is quoted as saying:

We took ‘Give Yourself Goosebumps’ as our inspiration and threw those books into our predictive text writing software.

Our goal was to create a playable ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style book where every word comes from ‘Give Yourself Goosebumps.'

If you are like Elon Musk and find the idea of artificial intelligence pretty terrifying then wait to see what sort of sentences the AI has been churning out.

The story starts off with a fairly ordinary setting of you and your cousin Zoe running late for school. To remedy this you attempt to take a short-cut through the perfectly normal sounding 'Zombie Forest.'

The 'book' asks you:

Do you dare beat feet through scary woods? If you do, you might get a magic sword.

Or even a soda can from a ghostly horse. But how will you hold either when your hands are made of sand?

That doesn't quite make sense but if you are willing to go along with it you can embark on a fun adventure, full of weird and wonderful characters and all being well, you'll survive long enough to live happily ever after.

Other sentences that are certain to give you the creeps are:

Maybe you should stay home where the toys are. But be careful. You could wake up one day and find yourself married … with vampires!


You look through the listings, searching for something to take your mind off those undead bullies.

There's nothing good on. You'll have to choose between watching reruns of Toothpaste Ninja or an infomercial for forehead cream.

We're not quite sure if this is supposed to scare anyone but it makes for pretty surreal reading, if not a slight bit unplausible in a literature sense.

Martin adds:

We started Botnik to explore whether or not artificial intelligence could be funny

Clearly, we still have a long way to go, but we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.

HT IFL Science

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