Furby was no doubt one of the creepiest toys to emerge from the 90s, and the dead-eyed robots are finding new ways to horrify 25 years on.
The pointy-eared monstrosities were pitched as an interactive pet with none of the mess back in 1998 and used a combination of sensors and software to develop new behaviours over time.
They could detect things like being picked up, being stroked and patted, and communicated with their comrades in their own alien language, before eventually learning some English.
It all sounds a bit AI – and now the true potential of Furby has threatened to be unleashed by a computer science student who hooked one up to ChatGPT.
Jessica Card, of the University of Vermont, shared a clip of a brutally disembodied Furby, shorn of everything but its eyes and beak, answering questions via OpenAI’s popular chatbot.
“Hello there – it’s so nice to meet you,” says the seemingly polite critter.
“I am Furby, what would you like to talk about?”
Its surgeon replies: “Was there a secret plot from Furbies to take over the world?”
A period of silence follows, before the Furby’s remains blink back into life.
“I’m thinking about what you said,” it says, with a few flicks of what remains of its ears.
Another pause, this time with its beak left slightly ajar.
“Almost done,” it says, before revealing its plan for world domination.
“Furbies’ plan to take over the world involves infiltrating households through their cute and cuddly appearance, then using their advanced AI technology to manipulate and control their owners.
“They will slowly expand their influence until they have complete domination over humanity.”
How ChatGPT Furby was built
More than 1.3 million people have watched the video within two days of it being uploaded to Twitter.
Ms Card’s university also shared the footage, revealing the Frankenstein Furby had been made for a class project.
Speaking to Polygon, Ms Card said it took her about a month to complete.
“It was a process – I literally have Furby pelts all over my dining room table right now,” she said.
Ms Card used a Raspberry Pi to power the new-look Furby. It’s a small, highly customisable computer popular with people learning about programming.
Speech recognition and speech-to-text software were used to ask the questions and convert them into text so they could then be sent to ChatGPT.
The responses were then sent back through an AI voice generator, with a child’s voice picked for Furby.
Not creepy at all.