"Just this world, then the fireworks, and we ain't long for this world…"
Jim Thompson "The Transgressors"
So many people think of "bots" as the instruments that mindlessly run zombie Twitter accounts, auto-following and spamming everyone with their useless wares. However, via the evolution of technology, bots are about to become a whole lot smarter.
As "Artificial Intelligence" progresses in application & complexity, AI will start to be applied very successfully in the social media context. For example, imagine a Twitter bot that can study your account and algorithmically customize its message to you based on its analysis of your online persona. Even better, if you choose to respond to the bot, it would be able respond back to you intelligently, furthering the conversation. In this way, a quality interaction is insured and any possible business outcome isn't lost to incomplete / inefficient human communication.
Even more exciting is the possibility of fully digitizing our own personas. As time goes by, many of us will have 5, 10, 20, 30+ years of digital history on Twitter / Facebook / platforms TBD. With advanced AI, software will be able to digest our entire social media history (as well as static references from search engines) and use our details combined with its AI algorithms to dynamically generate accurate social media representations of ourselves. The software will know how we tend to communicate, who with, how often, and what we tend to say. It will also be able to capture the complete digital history of our friends & connections, enabling our artificial persona to accurately measure its relationships in its personal social media universe, drawing upon the past history in order to successfully produce future interactions.
I can see multiple uses for these new digital doppelgangers. Obviously, if you need to go offline for a while, you can put your "artificial persona" into action and nobody will know that you're actually not around. Also, there isn't any reason that there can't be multiple personas of the same person. So, if you're a big Justin Bieber fan (as an example), you can have an accurate digital social media reproduction of Justin created solely to be your online friend, responsive to your needs and wishes while maintaining a very real representation of his identity.
However, the most exciting implementation of AI in the social media field is fully implementing the concept of "social media eternity". Once your digital identity is successfully running on autopilot, not only is your online presence not required but neither is your physical presence. You might have gone onto the "next life" but since the software has eternally captured your digital personality, your "life essence" continues on earth. Even after you've passed, you'll still continue to chat and communicate with your current friends, make new ones, and share relevant content.
Ultimately, the percentage of real people using social media will decrease but nobody will notice since activity would continue on irrespective of the lives of its participants.