Between anti-vaccine and flat-earth rants, conspiracy theorists occasionally come up with interesting and provocative ideas. A good example of a recent one is the “dead Internet theory.”
This theory establishes that the Internet, as we know it, actually died sometime between 2016 and 2017, as reported by The Atlantic. However, this does not mean that the Internet is necessarily gone. Rather, most of the “people” we see online doing things like posting content to websites or social media updates and commenting are actually bots.
According To The Dead Internet Theory: The Internet Is Full Of Bots
One of the most popular texts explaining the theory comes from the online forum Macintosh Cafe of Agora Road. In January 2021, a user named IlluminatiPirate created a thread on the website titled Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake. It’s about the amount of the internet that AI now creates and manages, and it’s full of bots.
“I’ve seen the same threads, the same photos, and the same answers posted over and over again over the years to the point that I see it as normal,” said the theorist.
Behind the death of the Network of networks are corporations that work in conjunction with the government to push propaganda and force real users to buy products. After all, there need to be shadowy puppeteers to pull the strings.
“I think it’s completely obvious what I’m subtly suggesting here given this setup,” IlluminatiPirate wrote in the thread. “The United States government is engaging in a psychological warfare powered by artificial intelligence of the entire world population.”
As with any good conspiracy theory, there may be certain truths sprinkled throughout this one. On the one hand, it cannot be denied that the Internet today is tremendously different from what it was just a few years ago.
As algorithms become more sophisticated, the online world becomes more skewed and added to the whims of a handful of corporations ( Big Tech especially). What we see online, is often the result of AI and algorithms – sometimes with very sensitive and silly judgment – that are ultimately driving users further and further away from “organic” experiences. It’s lonely and frankly scary.
But users can also be encouraged by the fact that much of the content they consume online, from memes to TikToks to aggravating tweets, is still being created by real people … for now.