There Is Now An AI That Can Make Its Own Memes


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJun 18 2018, 19:06 UTC

An AI that can make memes? Shut up and take my money! Mopic/Shutterstock

When it comes to artificial intelligence, some people are worried that they might attack us or take our jobs. However, it turns out that they might also supersede us at making memes. A new deep neural network approach has demonstrated that AI can produce funny and relevant captions when given a meme image. What a time to be alive.

The algorithm is called "dank learning" after dank memes, a slang term that refers ironically to the most bizarre memes or memes that are now so overused that they have lost their original comedic value. That said, the program is capable of breathing new life into the memes of bygone days. The project was created by Stanford students Abel L. Peirson V and E. Meltem Tolunay.


This AI approach is known as machine learning. The software was not explicitly programmed to create memes, but to perform certain actions and create new outputs based on what it has learned. In this case, the team used about 2,600 unique memes, with up to 160 different captions. Based on this extensive library, the algorithm began generating memes.

And the memes created by the AI seem real. You can’t tell these and the non-AI generated ones apart at all. When 20 different memes were shown to five individuals from diverse backgrounds, they could hardly distinguish the real memes from the AI-generated ones and gave them similar ratings of hilarity.

Some examples of the memes created by the AI. Dank Learning/Stanford

“Obtained results indicate that memes can be generated that in general cannot be easily distinguished from naturally produced ones, if at all, using human evaluations,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “We acknowledge that one of the greatest challenges in our project and other language modeling tasks is to capture humor, which varies across people and cultures.”

The algorithm is not perfect. One issue the team would like to solve is teaching the AI to realize where the breakpoint in the text should be. In this project, those were chosen by the researchers, but they believe that once a program can do that, it will be capable of autonomously creating memes.


The researchers also noted that in the process of trying to learn from the dataset, the AI began to use expletives as well as racist and sexist terms. This has been seen before (read more here) and shows how learning algorithms, just like people, are strongly influenced by what they are exposed to.

[H/T: The Next Web]

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  • AI,

  • machine learning,

  • memes