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Weird conspiracy claims the Internet is 'fake'

By T.K. Randall
September 7, 2021 · Comment icon 92 comments

No, the Internet is not a fake produced by an AI... Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Junior Melo
A growing number of people seem to believe that the 'real' Internet went offline several years ago.
We've seen more than our fair share of 'out there' conspiracy theories over the years, featuring ideas and concepts ranging from the potentially feasible to the downright absurd.

This latest one - which suggests that the Internet we use on a daily basis is actually a fake created by an artificial intelligence - fits firmly in the latter category.

There seem to be different versions of this conspiracy doing the rounds, however what they all have in common is the idea that the original, 'real' Internet went down several years ago.
Known as 'dead-Internet theory', the concept implies that the Internet was taken down by an artificial intelligence and that all the user-generated content you see online today has also been created by that same AI to put forward the appearance of a large number of users.

Some believe that 'the government' is secretly behind it all, with a group of highly-paid 'influencers' helping to perpetuate the illusion that the Internet is still buzzing with activity.

The entire thing is nonsense, of course, however such conspiracy theories provide an intriguing glimpse into how the human mind works as well as how such bizarre ideas actually get started.

Whether this particular conspiracy is likely to stick around, however, remains to be seen.

Source: The Atlantic | Comments (92)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #83 Posted by Alchopwn 2 years ago
I do think the algorithms are deliberately limiting our choices into ones based on our previous habits.  We all need to become more weird and eclectic to beat those bots who want to tell us what to buy.  Otherwise our internet lives slowly become an echo chamber.
Comment icon #84 Posted by darkmoonlady 2 years ago
The internet has become less user accessible and more streamlined to be out of touch to the average user. There were fake sites, bots, scams almost since its inception but now it is more a tool used by groups to influence people. I miss the "old" (as opposed to "real") internet when you could do more. Now everything is behind apps and user agreements. Sort of like the way older cars and appliances were easier to use and fix before onboard computers. 
Comment icon #85 Posted by godnodog 2 years ago
i just want to write that it’s been awesome speaking with all my alter egos on my psicadelic dream called internet.  
Comment icon #86 Posted by Whelmar 6 months ago
This is one of the very few conspiracy theories which actually has a ring of truth to it. I didn't get connected to the internet properly until 2014. Prior to this I could only access the internet in public libraries or cyber cafés but there just seemed to be so many more obscure websites pre-2007. Particularly if you were interested in reading about black helicopters, FEMA camps and Project Blue Beam which I was.   
Comment icon #87 Posted by mestlc 14 days ago
I actually like dead internet theory. I guess this is similar to that but not quite the same. Dead internet theory is just the belief that most interactions that happen online are not real people. The bots took over years ago and places like Reddit are 90% bots at this point. Same with places like Facebook and X. I don't believe it but I do believe there are a crap ton of bots on all social platforms as well as foreign adversaries looking to cause political issues in other countries.   
Comment icon #88 Posted by Scholar4Truth 12 days ago
With AI on the rise that maybe not too far off. 
Comment icon #89 Posted by mestlc 10 days ago
I mean for real, like we have seen mainstream places already using AI to write news stories and gave them actual profiles. I think Sports Illustrated was the one that got busted doing that. It is only a matter of time. I am hoping this encourages people to move back to forums like this one. Social media platforms and places like reddit was a mistake lol
Comment icon #90 Posted by GlitterRose 10 days ago
How weird is it, really? There are people who believe we live in a simulation. 
Comment icon #91 Posted by Duke Wellington 10 days ago
Its not a conspiracy theory, the internet is currently like that. I mean half of YouTube videos are AI created from the speaker to the graphics. Everyone from Google to Microsoft have AI and are using it to choose your viewing content. I mean just turn your mobile phone on, say `I want to buy a new 4K tv, I want a Samsung one, 42 inches wide` then go onto your computer and see what adverts you get. Heck, I`ll get adverts just for typing it here.
Comment icon #92 Posted by Trelane 9 days ago
On that we can agree Cookie.?

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