Skip to main content

This A.I. meme generator has mastered the art of oddball internet humor

It sounds kind of silly to say, but memes are one of the things that make us human. They are, by design, massively shareable images based on some universal (or at least semi-universal) lived experience that draws on some aspect of popular culture, but seeds it with additional meaning.

Against that backdrop, how could some smartass not come up with a way to hand the job of meme creation over to an A.I.? Heck, robots are threatening to take a bunch of our most important jobs. Why not the task of creating new pithy Spongebob Squarepants images alongside the others?

Titled This Meme Does Not Exist, after the plethora of other similar A.I.-generated projects, this new online tool (we use that term loosely) lets you select a popular meme image and then generates a new funny caption to go alongside it. Users have the option of saving and sharing particularly absurd ones, or simply continuing to click to see what insane idea the computer will come up with next.

Meme generator 1
This Meme Does Not Exist

This isn’t just random text, however. Like the various A.I. creativity efforts, ranging from new chapters of Game of Thrones to monologues from Scrubs, this meme-generating technology works by using a machine learning algorithm. In this case, it was trained on 48 of the internet’s most popular memes and 20,000 captions per meme. The results are a weird kind of Burroughs-style cutup, with fragments of human-generated humor chopped up and reassembled with no real understanding of why it’s funny. Which, like hearing a kid recite a joke they don’t quite get, is what makes it funny.

This Meme Does not Exist was created by Dylan Wenzlau, founder of image hosting platform and meme creator Imgflip. As noted, Wenzlau is not the first person to create an “[Insert Object] Does Not Exist” project. Others have included everything from faces to Airbnb listings. But it’s definitely one of the most fun ones we’ve come across. And, right now, something that’s meaninglessly fun is just about the best kind of thing you can look to create.

Hey, if you don’t look at it as an example of machines impinging on human creativity, it’s actually a pretty neat example of human and A.I. collaboration.

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
The BigSleep A.I. is like Google Image Search for pictures that don’t exist yet

In case you’re wondering, the picture above is "an intricate drawing of eternity." But it’s not the work of a human artist; it’s the creation of BigSleep, the latest amazing example of generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) in action.

A bit like a visual version of text-generating A.I. model GPT-3, BigSleep is capable of taking any text prompt and visualizing an image to fit the words. That could be something esoteric like eternity, or it could be a bowl of cherries, or a beautiful house (the latter of which can be seen below.) Think of it like a Google Images search -- only for pictures that have never previously existed.
How BigSleep works
“At a high level, BigSleep works by combining two neural networks: BigGAN and CLIP,” Ryan Murdock, BigSleep’s 23-year-old creator, a student studying cognitive neuroscience at the University of Utah, told Digital Trends.

Read more
Clever new A.I. system promises to train your dog while you’re away from home
finding rover facial recognition app dog face big eyes

One of the few good things about lockdown and working from home has been having more time to spend with pets. But when the world returns to normal, people are going to go back to the office, and in some cases that means leaving dogs at home for a large part of the day, hopefully with someone coming into your house to let them out at the midday point.

What if it was possible for an A.I. device, like a next-generation Amazon Echo, to give your pooch a dog-training class while you were away? That’s the basis for a project carried out by researchers at Colorado State University. Initially spotted by Chris Stokel-Walker, author of YouTubers:How YouTube Shook Up TV and Created a New Generation of Stars, and reported by New Scientist, the work involves a prototype device that’s able to give out canine commands, check to see if they’re being obeyed, and then provide a treat as a reward when they are.

Read more
This outrageous massage chair has A.I voice control and blackout-proof power
bodyfriend quantum massage chair bang and olufsen ces 2021

Self-driving cars and 100-inch TVs might capture the headlines, but any tried-and-true CES veteran can tell you that the highlight of every show is the insane massage chairs that show up every year.

The destressing devices are generally more tricked out than anything that ever appeared on Pimp My Ride. And this year, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more loaded than Bodyfriend’s Quantum.

Read more