MIT's latest experiment is a Black Mirror episode come to life

This Halloween play a creepy dystopian online game that feels a lot like an upcoming Black Mirror episode.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
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This screenshot from the website for MIT Media Lab social experiment BeeMe doesn't reveal much, but that just adds to the mystery. 

Screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is giving you control of a real human being on Halloween in an unusual dystopian online game that sounds like an episode of Black Mirror

In the upcoming season 5 of Black Mirror -- which is expected to debut on Netflix in December --  an episode will feature branching storylines that let the viewer pick the plot

MIT researchers must be fans of the sci-fi series because they're about to do the same thing this month. 

On Halloween, MIT is launching a crowdsourced online social experiment where people can play a choose-your-own-adventure game in real-time by controlling the movements of a real actor.

BeeMe is an interactive dystopian game where players control an actor to defeat an evil artificial intelligence program. Players will vote on various commands then the actor will move entirely based on the most popular requests. 

"The event will follow the story of an evil AI by the name of Zookd, who has accidentally been released online," MIT Media Lab member Niccolo Pescetelli told Business Insider on Oct. 20. "Internet users will have to coordinate at scale and collectively help the actor (also a character in the story) to defeat Zookd. If they fail, the consequences could be disastrous."

The MIT project wants to "redefine the way in which we understand social interactions online and in real life; pushing crowdsourcing and collective intelligence to the extreme to see where it breaks down," according to a statement

The interactive Halloween project comes from the MIT Media Lab's Scalable Cooperation group, which studies how technology reshapes the ideas behind human cooperation.

MIT has a creepy tradition of launching disturbing experimental projects during the Halloween season. 

Previously in 2016, The MIT Media Lab debuted its AI program called the Nightmare Machine, which transformed regular photos into frightening images.

In 2017, a MIT researcher made AI software (aptly nicknamed Shelley after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley) that wrote its own horror stories

The MIT event will be broadcast live on Oct. 31 Halloween night at 11 p.m. ET at Beeme.online

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