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AI Is 'Erasing' Famous Memes - And It's Making People Ask The Same Question

Artificial intelligence has long been used as a malevolent force in pop culture, even as recently as "Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning" having an AI villain that freaked out the cast. AI tools like Midjourney are now readily accessible, and people largely use these services for fun. This includes making a live-action "Thundercats" AI trailer, among many other applications. But there are still many concerns surrounding AI, and there's a rather foreboding trend taking off on TikTok that presents the question: What if AI destroyed every classic meme?


are any vines safe? #aivines #vine #fypシ゚viral #kazookid #meme


It's unclear where this started, but videos like the one above show various Vines getting tampered with. What's truly horrifying is that the subjects of every Vine end up running away, leading many to ask what they're running from. In many instances, men wearing suits will enter the Vine, seemingly to alter the timeline. More than likely, these Vines and memes are trying to escape these men so that they can continue to exist and inspire laughter in all. 

Some of the best Vines ever are here, like the Kazoo Kid asking, "Wait a minute, who are you?" as well as the spelling bee kid. But some of them become body horror movies partway through, such as Squidward at a parade dabbing, only to transform into a one-eyed entity beyond comprehension and reason. The trend isn't even limited to Vines, as Bella Poarch's infamous TikTok where she lip-syncs to "M to the B" also gets raided by AI. She runs away after being confronted by a dreadful AI figure, but is there any greater symbolism to draw from this viral trend?

AI can't hold a candle to beloved memes

Disturbing TikTok trends aren't exactly anything new. Grimace's milkshake scared the hell out of everyone in 2023, so the idea of "time travelers" messing with timelines and altering memes is roughly in the same existentially terrifying camp. It's haunting to see people whose videos made us laugh are now running for their lives, with men in suits often in tow. But what's interesting is what this trend really has to say about generative AI as a whole and how it could never accomplish anything as influential as the Success Kid meme. 

The above video essay from PyroLIVE does an excellent job of breaking down how AI is destroying memes. Memes and viral videos are, in part, successful due to their simplicity. For example, take the Disaster Girl meme where a young girl looks at the camera with a sinister expression while a house burns in the background. It's usable for a variety of situations as a reaction image when someone may have done something bad. Now, take this thread on X (formerly known as Twitter) from @AngryTomtweets where AI is used to turn image memes into videos. The Disaster Girl image is now a video, only it moves away from her toward some firefighters discussing something. What is the point of that? The young girl appearing as though she caused the fire is what makes the image funny, not some random firefighters. 

But therein lies the issue with AI. It can't do anything good; it can only give you more. That's the case with the AI-"enhanced" Vines. Adding extra material like the Kazoo Kid running away adds nothing to the humor or context. AI creates stuff, but only humans can create art, even if it's a silly meme.