Memes are the first virus of the Digital Age, constantly replicating, transforming, adapting, and enhancing themselves on the world stage. Perhaps there is nothing so intoxicating as the combination of pictures and words that can be refined to realize the zeitgeist in a single image. Think of how quickly they’ve evolved, becoming highly nuanced and complex, speaking to and for a niche group or to the general public. In short, memes are an addiction we are not soon to quit.
Enter Inspirobot, an A.I. algorithm “dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for the endless enrichment of pointless human existence.”
Truly tongue-in-cheek from the word “Go,” a trip to Inspirobot never fails to amuse. The choice of image paired with the strange turns of phrase evoke the meme’s ability to be simultaneously absurd and self-important, profound and shallow, poignant and rude—basically embodying every dichotomy of the human experience.
In between memes generated, Inspirobot offers a moment of wisdom hard-won on these e-streets, such as, “If you ever feel sad, you need more quotes.”
“I will do this forever,” Inspirobot promises—and so can you. The fact that people are now inclined to meme themselves shows what social media has done to the power of the word. It has revealed that more often than not, people will pay attention if you give them something to look at, something as simple as a colored background upon which you set your words, or, for those inclined to add another layer, a wealth of banal stock photos, clip art, and basic design styles awaits.
“Sharing quotes makes other people understand you,” Inspirobot suggests. That’s what makes these Dadaist memes so refreshing—they reveal our compulsion not be heard, to be seen, and to be understood.
Forget cogito ergo sum. Inspirobot reminds us that artificial intelligence can and will easily do the thinking for us—if we allow it.
All Artwork: Courtesy of Inspirobot.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.