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The Dead Internet Theory

    If you haven’t heard the term, Dead Internet Theory, then let me introduce you to it. Dead Internet Theory is the idea that the internet is predominantly bots engaging with bots. Just looking at mobile phone data where, since around 2022 more than half of all phone calls made on mobile networks are now scam calls, its easy to believe that dead internet theory is a reality. Layer on the rapid rise of consumer grade large language models, like Open AI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, and maybe this conspiracy theory is starting to hold water.

    I don’t think its real, in the sense that the majority of activity on the internet is bots or AI, but I do think we will see internet dead spots as AI and large language models grow in capability and trickle down to the consumer. There are two interactions in particular that I think will be the quickest to be come internet dead spots.

    Internet Dead Spot: Talent Acquisition

    For quite a few years now Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been using large language models and AI to cull down resumes submitted by job seekers. You can see why a talent acquisition team would want this technology as it is not uncommon for a given role to accumulate hundreds or thousands of resumes, especially as remote work takes over many businesses. This creates a huge task for talent acquisition personnel and hiring managers to sift through.

    Now we are seeing that the other side of this transaction is using AI to a similar effect. Jobseekers in the know, using generative AI, are having LLMs rewrite their resumes to match the very job descriptions to which they are applying. In theory, they should get the résumé passed the ATS bots, and in front of a human. Right now we are in the early days of this as individual applicants largely have only had access to consumer grade AI for around a year.

    Personally, having been a part of building an talent acquisition product, I think this is a good thing as it will put humans back into the hiring process.

    Internet, Dead Spot: Customer Service

    If you work in a job where you have to manage software subscriptions online, you likely had to engage customer support at some point. More and more you’ve probably seen that customer support is driving you to a chat feature on their website instead of a phone number. Many go so far as to not even have a phone number anywhere on their website. This chat support feature is almost always started with a human chatting but an AI using a large language model trained on the technical documentations of the software. I don’t know about you, but it seems like almost every time I engage one of these chat bots the issue I’m seeking support on is so unique that in very short order, I run into the inability of the chat bot to help me find a solution. I have to wait for a human to join the chat anyway.

    I expect to see a counter-chat bot application pop up any day now that will manage these interactions for you. You will have your personal chat bot talking to a chat bot until you can get a human on the line saving you time you could spend on something more important.

    This will give way to one that will handle phone trees and long hold times when you have to call your insurance company. How about one that will manage sales emails for you?

    Dead Internet = More Humans Connecting With Humans

    When everyone has a technology; nobody has the technology as it cancels everything out. Marketers, sales, tech support, and all the most annoying parts of interacting with businesses has been dominated by one-side AI. No the rest of us are armed with the same tools. I have hope this will re-connect us in ways we have thought would never happen again.