Dead Internet is FACT not Theory

As a veteran IT consultant with over two decades of experience, I’ve witnessed the evolution of the internet from its nascent stages to its current state. I have noticed I am spending more time away from the internet. Why? One theory that has garnered significant attention in recent years is the “Dead Internet” Theory, which posits that a substantial portion of online engagement is artificial and that users are effectively segregated into algorithmically defined bubbles.

Not every individual online is truly connected to one another but rather exists within a curated subset of connections. While some may dismiss this as nostalgia for the early days of the internet, there are compelling trends and circumstances that lend credence to this notion.

It’s worth noting that they have had AI for much longer than the population has, the cat is out of the bag, and they are trying to put it back in.

Several factors contribute to the plausibility of the Dead Internet Theory:

  1. Immense Bot Traffic: A significant portion of web traffic is attributed to bots rather than humans. These bots, whether benign or malicious, contribute to the distortion of online interactions.
  2. Content Generation Tools: Advancements in AI have lowered the barrier for bots to mimic human behavior, blurring the lines between genuine and artificial engagement.
  3. Big Tech Consolidation: The dominance of a few major online platforms facilitates control over information dissemination and user behavior.
  4. Reach Control: Major platforms exert control over what content users see, effectively shaping narratives and controlling information flow.
  5. Virtualized Segregation: Users may be segregated into algorithmically defined bubbles, limiting exposure to diverse perspectives and interactions.
  6. Internet Censorship & Shutdowns: Escalating censorship threatens the openness of the internet, transforming it into a tool for propaganda and control.
  7. Human Disengagement: Despite increased online presence, genuine participation has stagnated, leading to a disconnect between online interactions and real-life engagement.

While the internet isn’t dead, it’s undeniably facing existential threats. However, there’s hope for reclaiming cyberspace:

  • Maintain a non-commercial web space: By fostering independent and personal online spaces, individuals can resist censorship and foster meaningful interactions.
  • Use open protocols and opensource: Embracing open protocols and opensource platforms can empower users to break free from corporate control and engage in genuine online interactions.

Through collective action and a commitment to open and independent online spaces, we can steer the internet away from its current trajectory towards a more vibrant and inclusive future.