Halloween has never been my holiday of choice. Why? Because scary things, well, actually scare me. But here in the Bay Area, adults go nuts for Halloween.

This year, technology companies are showing some serious commitment to Halloween too, and they’re using technology to amp up the fright factor—like creating virtual reality simulated haunted houses and using artificial intelligence to generate ridiculously scary images.

I’ll be avoiding these tech-induced terrors this weekend, but here are a few stories we have our eyes on.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: How MIT Is Teaching AI to Scare Us
Madison Margolin | Motherboard

“MIT’s Nightmare Machine is an experiment to see if machines can learn to scare us. Through a series of algorithms designed to create creepy images, it aims to identify what makes something horrific, and then apply that information to freaky faces and portraits of famous places around the world, such as the Taj Mahal or the Golden Gate Bridge.”


VIRTUAL REALITY: How Universal Orlando’s New Haunted House Is Pushing VR Tech to Its Limits
Seth Porges | Forbes

“‘In our story, the VR is called Dark Portal Transport, and it transports you from our world into the supernatural world,’ says TJ Mannarino, senior director for art design for the entertainment division at Universal Orlando. ‘We use it take you to these distant worlds and lands where you come in contact with supernatural and paranormal entities.'”


SCIENCE FICTION: A.I. Inspiration: The Science Fiction That Frames Discussion
Matthew Rosenberg and John Markoff | NY Times

“Science fiction comes up often in serious discussions about artificial intelligence and weapons. That is partly a reflection of current technological limits and the deep concerns that surround the development of thinking machines that can kill. Here is a selection of some of the works that are most often mentioned.”

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BIOTECH: What’s Next For Illumina?
Christina Farr | Fast Company

“All eyes are now on Illumina’s ‘moonshots’: Its forays into consumer genomics with Helix (an app store for genomics) and Grail (a screening test for cancer). If either of these companies take off, it might be worth it to rustle a few of its customers’ feathers.”


DRONES: The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own
Matthew Rosenberg and John Markoff | NY Times

“No humans were remotely piloting the drone, which was nothing more than a machine that could be bought on Amazon. But armed with advanced artificial intelligence software, it had been transformed into a robot that could find and identify the half-dozen men carrying replicas of AK-47s around the village and pretending to be insurgents.”

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THROWBACK: 20 Last Minute Science Fiction Halloween Costumes
Cyriaque Lamar | i09

Some of these costumes are more conceptual than material and thereby require a bit of dramatic flair. Also, know that a few of these costumes will annoy the hell out of everyone in a 3-foot radius. You’ve been warned, so don’t blame us if your loved ones shun you.”


Image Credit: Shutterstock

Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).

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