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Memes Artificial Intelligence TikTok

This new TikTok trend puts spooky twists on old memes with AI


By Mark Hird, Co-founder

June 20, 2024 | 11 min read

TikTok users are using Luma AI’s new Dream Machine tool to create nightmarish remakes of classic memes, from the ‘Okay Guy’ to the ‘I’m in Me Mum’s Car’ girl. In a few examples, Shooglebox’s co-founder Mark Hird showcases how AI is reshaping digital content.

tiktok logo

TikTok users are using Dream Machine to time travel through internet pop culture. / Credit: Adobe Stock

At Shooglebox, a platform designed to help users gather and make sense of information from various sources, we’re fascinated by the intersections of technology and creativity.

An extraordinary example of this is occurring on TikTok, where a new AI tool called Dream Machine by startup Luma AI has unleashed a wave of innovative content. Within a week of Dream Machine’s debut, TikTok was buzzing with a trend where “time travelers” transform the ending of well-known Vines and memes. Creators use Dream Machine to inject shadowy figures into these famous clips, creating an illusion of time travel that halts these viral moments.

The results are entertaining – and often slightly unnerving – videos like this one based on the viral TikTok Rizz Party meme, which has more than 5mn plays and comments like “this is terrifying,” “that’s so scary,” and “[this] feels straight out of a really eerie dream.”

@beenup100nights #ai #aivines #vines #vine #meme #foryou #viral #trp #tiktokrizzparty ♬ MARKING TIME, WAITING FOR DEATH - Shiro SAGISU

Here’s the original TikTok Rizz Party video that inspired countless memes, fan fiction and lore about the boys:

Luma AI’s Dream Machine turns a still image into a short video based on a text prompt. As soon as the tool became available just a week ago, people started using it to make still image memes like “Distracted boyfriend” come to animated life.

@zulacash #ai #vine #aivine #timetravel #boyfriendmeme #lookback #aigenerated #aivideo #tiktok ♬ MARKING TIME, WAITING FOR DEATH - Shiro SAGISU

That quickly evolved into the more creative AI time traveler trend that’s now reviving popular six-second Vines from 10 years ago, making those of a certain age nostalgic and introducing them to younger audiences on TikTok – with weird twists in the tail, helped by the fact Dream Machine often seems to randomly add strange eerie figures into the animated images. The trend was inspired by a video posted on X on June 14, just days after Dream Machine became publicly available. It’s based on a classic Vine of a young boy saying the answer to 9+10 is 21. In the AI version, he’s interrupted by a menacing shadowy figure before he can say 21.

Here’s a YouTube video with the original Vine, which was posted in June 2013 and went on to get more than 30m loops. The AI version has brought a wave of new views to the YouTube video, with people commenting that they had to “come watch the OG again” after seeing the “horrifying AI vid.”

In replies to the post on X, the video’s creator @TwashTheMan says he made the video by uploading a still from the original Vine to Dream Machine and adding a text prompt with instructions. When asked what his prompt was, he said Dream Machine “sucks at following prompts” so he used a simple one: “kid punches camera.”

His video was re-uploaded to TikTok and a flood of extended videos followed featuring time travelers on a mission to stop or interrupt every popular Vine or meme.


♬ original sound - .

The version below, with more than 16m views, alters the ending of a viral Vine from December 2014 featuring the “Okay Guy.”

@oliveoiljunior #ai #vine #aivine #timetraveller ♬ MARKING TIME, WAITING FOR DEATH - Shiro SAGISU

Here’s the original Vine, which got more than 60m loops 10 years ago.

Others include time travelers stopping Charlie from biting his brother’s finger, Squidward from dabbing, and the Four Seasons Orlando baby from saying “Me!”

One of the first brands to jump on the trend is KFC, with a time-traveling “chicken” interrupting the 2014 Vine “I’m in My Mum’s Car, Broom Broom.”

@kfc_uki Another vine interrupted by a time traveller #ai #aimeme #aivine ♬ Creepy and simple horror background music(1070744) - howlingindicator

While the advertising potential of this trend remains untapped, AI tools like Dream Machine are already reshaping our digital landscape and redefining internet culture in real time.

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