The soundtrack to the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho is iconic — remember the shower scene? But when an AI reinterprets its shrieking, staccato theme, it’s stripped of almost all its creepiness.
Or that’s at least what happened when MIT researchers ran a number of famous horror movie melodies through an algorithm. AI-Generated Halloween music just isn’t that scary.
As part of the “Uncanny Musicbox,” the researchers fed short clips from famous soundtracks — from Psycho to The Exorcist — into an AI that’s trained to generate more spooky music on its own.
“The goal behind this project is to learn what makes a music sound scary, and develop an AI that generates personalized scary music,” wrote Pinar Yanardag, Postdoctoral Associate at MIT Media Lab, in an email to Futurism.
The only problem: the music lacks emotional impact. It sounds more like a middle school music class project than a fully featured pop album composed and produced by an AI. Will Danny Elfman and Bernard Hermann be out of a job tomorrow? Unlikely.
But it’s a cool idea that shows off creative uses for AI. It just doesn’t inspire a sense of looming dread.
Read More: Get in the Halloween Spirit with This AI-Generated Spooky Music [Motherboard]
More on AI-generated music: The World’s First Album Composed and Produced by an AI Has Been Unveiled