MIT has built an AI that makes your pictures really spooky

Just in time for Halloween

In spite of warnings from some of the world's smartest people, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a very scary AI.

To be more specific, they've built a deep learning algorithm to teach an AI what various kinds of spooky image look like, so that it can tweak other images to make them look spookier. They call it the 'Nightmare Machine'.

It's learnt a number of styles , from 'Fright night' to 'Inferno', which the team has applied to a bunch of famous landmarks from around the world. There are a bunch more examples over on the team's Instagram account.

Faces, too

As well as buildings, the team has been working on making people's faces scarier. That algorithm has been taking a bit more tweaking, and to that end the team wants your help rating whether a selection of faces are scary or not to improve it.

"Creating a visceral emotion such a fear remains one of the cornerstones of human creativity," the team wrote on the website for the project.

"This challenge is especially important in a time where we wonder what the limits of Artificial Intelligence are: Can machines learn to scare us?"

A photo posted by Nightmare Machine (@nightmare_machine)

A photo posted by on on Oct 22, 2016 at 1:06am PDT

A photo posted by Nightmare Machine (@nightmare_machine)

A photo posted by on on Oct 17, 2016 at 1:29pm PDT

A better question may be, "do we want machines to be able to scare us?", but with Halloween just around the corner, at least you'll be able to touch up your costume selfies if your dress-up efforts prove a bit rubbish.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.