And the process works at an astonishing level of accuracy, as the Nightmare Machine conjures grim stuff that would terrify anyone sitting alone in the dark. The website lets you vote on which of its “haunted faces” or “haunted places” are actually up to snuff, in an effort to fine tune its algorithm. According to Yanardag, some of the website’s nearly 1 million visitors aren’t as terrified by the images as you’d imagine. He told FiveThirtyEight: “Initial tallies reveal that humans quickly converge and find some of the images very scary and others not so much. In terms of scariest faces, it seems like people find blood-covered faces more scary.”
Befitting of the Nightmare Machine, artificial intelligence is a scary thought for humans to deal with. It breeds uncertainty, and the possibility of massive job displacement, or the equivalent of a dystopian science fiction novel coming to reality. The machine’s images of “haunted places” don’t necessarily give one the impression of War of The Worlds or I, Robot, though. The images generated are given a washy sheen reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” as you can see by perusing any of them on the site.