This was a thought that occurred to me on my drive to grocery today. For a few months now, I have dramatically reduced my social media usage and in doing so, there was a temporary moment of isolation and loneliness that came with it. It wasn't only the feeling of missing out on stuff but even in real life, it became a bit difficult to converse with people since now I didn't have a point of reference (i.e., social media memes). I became estranged with a few friends and vice versa because of my lack of presence in the platform. Luckily though for me, I had quite a handful of friends whose means of communication wasn't only through the internet. I would go over to their places and they would come to mine.
AI entered the chat - now the game is on a different ballpark. Before, people that wanted to stay on the social media platforms and interact with each other at least knew that they were interacting with a real flesh-and-blood person on the other end. But now that trust is broken. You go on Reddit, get excited to see an encouraging comment from a user and right when you are about to reply to them, a thought occurs - what if it's just a bot? In fact, how much of the Internet is actually just bots interacting with each other and you are nothing but a bystander?
All the time that you invested in establishing your persona in the social sphere now seems meaningless. You hardly had time to learn to cook something other than Maruchan because your online followers were waiting for you to interact. But now you start to notice that a lot of those accounts make similar comments in other channels/profiles. Time of day doesn't matter, they are always commenting. You dig a bit deeper and come to the horrific conclusion - it's your old friend ChatGPT.
...how much of the Internet is actually just bots interacting with each other and you are nothing but a bystander?
All these times that you were interacting with online "people", you missed out on the opportunity to have actual real-life interactions with actual real-life people. Even worse, you feel deserted by both sides - the facade of your online followers is now shattered and with your real-life friends, you grew distant. You begin to realize that the dopamine rush that you got when an unknown account retweeted your post has nothing on the dopamine rush that you get when someone in real life acknowledges you just for being there. But it feels as if you woke up from a deep sleep and you have to pick up the pieces while everyone else has their shit together and moved on with life. You feel more at home on the Internet even though you know no one is who they say they are. But alas, it was your home all this time and that's your comfort zone. The bots' comments are your comfort food.
But you are a human and you are extremely good at adapting. That feeling of isolation and being a misfit in the society are temporary. Way more temporary than one might think. Humans need humans and the societal contract that we have with each other is very primitive - just don't be threatening and we are all good.