AI-generated murder mystery – 18 April 2023

Information Technologists’ Hall was changed into a crime scene on 18 April as an AI-generated murder mystery turned six members into prime suspects. A keynote speech given by ‘Dr Ben Thomas’ from Yale was rudely interrupted by his own death, and the Inspector explained that the spotlight of suspicion fell squarely on the six members of the organising committee.

Mellissa, Alan and Sam from the Hall team were joined as suspects by WCIT members Kimball Bailey, Tamzin Kerslake and Peter Bayley. There was talk of zany fundraising ideas, talking animals, and some of the cleanest porcelain in the square mile. Could the Events Manager be culpable, or was this down to foul play from the Treasurer? Perhaps the Beadle did it..

Our volunteers’ motives and backstories were generated by a machine learning model, but they found themselves under very human scrutiny – each guest was trying to find the identity of the killer. The thirty would-be Inspectors spent an hour grilling our suspects – who had to think on their feet, equipped as they were with only the output of the AI.

A shocking twist revealed more deception and some dramatic revelations, and before long it was time for the guests to make their voices heard and vote. In slightly unusual voting system, guests could change their mind at any time, reflecting their suspicions – they were awarded points for being correct early in the night, and being correct consistently.  

In the end, the guest who correctly identified the killer with the most points was WCIT’s very own Iain Mitchell KC. A fix? Surely not; a few pieces of written evidence and holes in the story pointed at the suspect with the most to lose.  

Overall, we enjoyed placing our fate in the hands of the AI – those of us who survived its wrath, anyway – and this was a high-energy and high-spirited event. Thanks were certainly due to our seven volunteers, Elliott Brooks for wrangling the AI, and the Hall staff.