If you look back only twenty or thirty years, the world seems a very different place to the one we’re familiar with now. Today, almost every aspect of our life depends on access to the internet and our ability to access social media every day, it’s the modern invention we physically cannot live without. So, it seems completely unbelievable that the end of life online could even be contemplated as a possibility. But that’s exactly what a Dutch professor thinks will eventually happen – we will start to “log off”.
Professor Geert Lovink, a media theorist from the University of Amsterdam, has produced a paper called “Extinction Internet” which considers the possibility that everyone will eventually become tired of being online, constantly being exposed to bad content, and decide to turn off.
Certain generations have already begun to discover that the internet is “both toxic and curative” resulting in disenchantment and a strong believe that the time to fix the internet has long passed. Swirling with fake news, misinformation and hatred, whilst intoxicating for the few, is destructive for most.
“There may come a point when that’s no longer acceptable, after which time the adverse consequences can no longer be controlled,” Lovink explained. “The internet is headed for a point of no return, and Big Tech is probably already aware of this, too.”
“Mark Zuckerberg has already moved away from his social media platforms and launched Meta,” he added, “as if nothing’s wrong and we can just start over again, but it’s clearly already broken.”
Lovink suggests that the psychological price associated with our addiction to the internet and social media will begin to cost too much of the average user, resulting in rejection of technology. And that point of no return is rapidly approaching – Lovink’s ‘peak internet moment’ will occur when our dependence hits a line most users will not want to cross.
“The observation that the internet is accelerating the world’s problems and is increasingly becoming problematic is reaching consensus status.”
But, could this really happen? Is the human race too addicted to a digital world to be able to unplug?
Whilst some will make a conscious decision to remove themselves from social media, the actual connection to the internet is also far more likely to be cut by a third party. The fragile thread of connection can simply be severed as a result of an electromagnetic pulse from a weapon of mass destruction – a threat that’s all too real.