The meme economy is popping off this week thanks to an infusion of artificial intelligence. On one hand, generative AI art fans are pushing tools to the limit with "Make It More," seeing just how cute or extra something can be. On the other, digital artists are going back to the classics and bringing them to life. Sort of.

Decrypt has been closely following the advancements in the generative video industry, from Pika Labs exiting beta to Meta's announcement of EMU Video to Stability AI's launch of Stable Video Diffusion. And all of these tools are being enlisted to turn familiar images into moving pictures.

People are taking well-known still-image memes—which would be, until now, all memes?—and using generative video tools to add new animation frames. This method turns a single static image into a short video. While some outcomes are intriguing, adding a new dimension to famous images, others are downright bizarre, pushing the boundaries of what we might consider “normal” in animation.


One particularly eerie example is the animated version of the "Disaster Girl" meme. The ubiquitous image of a little girl smirking at the camera as a house burns behind her has been brought to life, and the result is as creepy as you might expect.

Many memes shared on the internet have been animated with Stability AI's recent offering. Known for its Stable Diffusion image generator, the company has now ventured into video, creating a platform for some truly bizarre animations.

Another example is the classic "distracted boyfriend" meme, which has been transformed into a glitchy, surreal animation where faces are contorting in ways that defy reality.


And if that's not enough to pique your curiosity, consider the animated version of the "success kid" meme. It's smoother than its predecessors, and shows that not all animated memes have to be creepy. You may want to use this one when you realize your gains after investing in a dog-themed crypto or some other weird memecoin.

And, if things go wrong and you get REKT, the AI dudes have just the perfect animated meme for you, of course:

As we push further into this new frontier of AI-generated content, the world of memes may enter a renaissance of sorts. Animated memes basically show what people can do with highly sophisticated tech and a lot of free time—or how ostensibly normal people incorporate AI into their everyday lives.

So, strap in and enjoy the ride—the meme-verse is on the move.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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