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Superior meme-ing through technology.
Chess. Jeopardy! Doing it. All of these were once human pursuits that have now been solved—harder, better, faster and stronger—by machines. Could memes be next? An excellent Facebook page called ShitpostBot 5000 makes the case that they can and should.
The game Cards Against Humanity has a feature called “Rando Cardrissian,” a ghost player that chooses random cards each round. More than half the time, Rando is funnier than you and your friends. Think of ShitpostBot as the Rando Cardrissian of meme-making.
It takes a set of user-submitted meme templates and plugs in random popular images. Our human brains, with their tendency to draw connections and make these unrelated things funny, do the rest. If no one told you these were made by a bot, you’d never guess.
To be fair, humans do have some input in deciding which templates are funny and which should be thrown out, and in submitting decent images to add to its collection—but the bot does more with them than people can on their own.
Human-made memes are predominantly hot garbage, with the occasional gleaming pearl hidden underneath, giving us hope for image macros and vines as comedy, art, or social commentary. Turns out you get a better success rate if you just let the machines play dice with the meme-iverse.
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.