One designer thinks ‘LOL’ has lost its luster, and aims to bring back its meaning.
Published Jan 4, 2023 2:00 PM
When was the last time you actually laughed out loud before texting someone “LOL?”
It’s probably not a stretch to say that, at the very least, your figurative guffaws far outnumber your literal chortles. Brian Moore, a creator of satirical products focused on popular culture, society, and technology, certainly seems to feel this way, as he recently unveiled his latest creation meant to return the acronym to its original roots. Everyone, meet the LOL Verifier: a device that, well, verifies a “LOL.”
“I remember when LOL meant ‘laugh out loud,’” Moore explains in his unveiling video posted to Twitter on Tuesday. “… And now it means nothing. Dulled down to the mere acknowledgement of a message.”
[Related: How to text yourself for peak productivity.]
To solve the cultural touchstone phrase’s sad, sorry devolution, Moore designed a small black box—naturally labeled “LOL”—with a large red light in place of the acronym’s “O.” Within that container, a tiny computer houses an AI program personally trained by Moore’s mimicking over around half an hour’s worth of various laughs. If the device’s microphone hears an audible chuckle around the time the user types “LOL” on their connected personal computer, it automatically inserts a checkmark emoji alongside “✅LOL verified at [exact time]” into the message. If you happen to be stretching the truth, i.e. humoring your friend with a supportive “LOL,” the LOL Verifier’s light turns red as the three letters are swapped for an alternative such as “Haha” or “That’s funny.”
As Moore explained to Vice on Wednesday, his AI program not only needed the sound of laughter as reference, but the sounds of no laughter, as well. “The laughs are varied from chuckles to just me going, ‘Ha,’ really loudly,” Moore says. “But then training it on not-laughs, like keyboard sounds and silence. Background noise, TV noise, music. That stuff does not count.”
For now, Moore’s LOL Verifier is a one-off creation limited to his own personal usage, but he hinted in his conversation with Vice about a potential future expansion to the amused masses, depending on interest. For now, he’ll have to simply take your word that you LOLed at his idea.