Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

What If Twitter Is Actually Empty

OK. Hear me out before you reply and do as Twitter says and read the post before commenting. The bottom line is, I don’t believe all the things in the post, but I do find it interesting to think about in the age of the modern web. Throwing around ideas and then debunking them in your own mind is a good exercise for finding truth when people are trying to deceive you — like they are on Twitter.

A couple of days ago I was introduced to a conspiracy theory that at first glance seems pretty out there. As with all of them, you’re never quite sure if people actually believe it or are just messing with others. The basis of the idea is that the internet died five years ago. Most, if not all, of the human created content you see online is populated by artificial intelligence and all the actual humans are gone.

If you search the phrase i hate texting on Twitter and scroll down, you will start to notice a pattern. – Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic

Seems out there doesn’t it. However, how many people on Twitter do you really know? Like in person know, a handful, more? As a percentage of the total people you follow I’ll bet it’s low — well all the others could be AI bots couldn’t they. Sounds bonkers, but when you consider that the PPC estimates that in 2020 at least 37.2% of all internet users were robots, and in 2016 they were responsible for 52% of the web traffic. Suddenly you start looking at the people you follow on Twitter with a side eye.

It wouldn’t take much to fool us. There are already bots pretending to want to date you, pretending to be helpful customer service assistants, and much more besides. It wouldn’t take much artificial intelligence to tweet interesting things often enough for us to follow them.

What about other interaction I hear you all say. What about the blog posts, photos, and perhaps even videos that they also post online? The unwelcome news is that other content is pretty easy to fake too. Remember Tom Cruise playing golf? Ask yourself if that person you follow, interact with, and look up to could be fake and the answer is usually a high possibility.

Of course, this conspiracy theory goes much deeper into talking about the agendas of those that control the bots and the “various corporations that are in cahoots with the government to control our thoughts”. Which at this point I am surprised there isn’t some lizard people involved. However, let’s not forget that operations by organisations have been proven to influence not only election results but also general feelings around sensitive subjects. There isn’t much of a leap to suggest that corporations and more ‘friendly’ governments are using similar tactics.

I think you would be surprised how many bots you interact with daily, and these kinds of topics are interesting to think about. Then again, I could be a bot and this is simply to distract you from what is really going on!

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