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World’s Funniest Machine is an AI Meme Generator

Mankind has long worried machines will eventually replace us and take all our jobs. But can a computer write a sonnet as beautiful as Shakespeare? Or paint a portrait as stunning as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa? Has a machine ever moved us with its voice the way Whitney Houston did? No. But maybe it’s only a matter of time. It turns out the computers can already do one thing we thought was a unique skill of humanity—writing memes. The internet’s new obsession is an AI neural network that can create hilarious text for the most popular memes on the web.

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Imgflip’s “This Meme Does Not Exist” website creates captions for the most well-known memes. They’re made by a deep artificial neural network “trained using public images” for the 48 most popular meme templates. The page is beyond easy to use. Users just select their favorite meme—like the boyfriend looking at the other girl, Futurama‘s Fry looking suspicious, or Sean Bean from The Lord of the Rings—then the AI does all the work. It creates new, original text.

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“Nothing about the text generation is hardcoded,” but it does have a limit on text length “for sanity.” Also it the model uses “character-level prediction, so you can specify prefix text of one or more characters to influence the text generated.”

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You can also pop in someone’s name or a short amount of text to make personalized memes, though you’ll have no control over the rest of the text. And there’s no profanity filter, so things can get dirty. They can also get dark.

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Not all of the network’s memes are winners. Many are just nonsense or barely coherent. But some of them are amazing. If you get a great one you can upload it the AI Memes Stream. That way the rest of the world can appreciate that soon mankind won’t even be the best at writing memes. But that’s not the worst thing about this.

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What’s really going to hurt is when the computers are generating absolutely devastating memes to remind us we’ve been replaced.

Featured Image: Nickelodeon/Imgflip