I don't believe in conspiracy theories. In my experience, people are too sloppy and too prone to mistakes to make a good conspiracy work for very long. Human nature and my readings in history do not inspire that kind of confidence.
What if you wanted to turn everyone in the world into a soulless automaton. Say, you're Doctor Evil, and you want to make money by making them work for you even as they fall into debt.
The Romans, as always, have the original model for achieving this: bread and circuses. Keep the people safe from hunger, make them sleepy and sated for starters. Then you put on a helluva show. Nothing that will make the populi think, but an Event, based on sensation, excitement.
Well, you tried that. It worked pretty well, espcially when electronic media invaded the home. In all our self regard now, we forget how horrified a lot of smart people were about television when it first came
Your first step would be to destroy their inner life. Their capacity to reflect, dream, come up with fantasies, ruminate and think.