The Nightmare Machine

Machines do creepy things all the time. The more they seem to be able to think and act for themselves, the freakier it gets. Consider, for example, this gif I just made of Boston Dynamic’s SpotMini robot. Legitimately impressive? Of course. Terrifying? Also yes. [embedded content] But SpotMini’s just trying to do its thing. It can fetch you a beer! And load the dishwasher! Who cares if it also sometimes does that weird thing where it walks in a circle around its own head? Especially when there are machines out there that are actively trying to terrify you. That’s the idea behind the Nightmare Machine, a deep-learning project by researchers at MIT who wanted to see if they could train a computer to generate horrifying images. To do so, they…


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