An interesting question in an age where the Internet plays an integral part of everyday life, business, and society! So what are the implications of a life without the internet?
Well, firstly, we should ask the question in a more specific circumstance. What would life be like with no Internet if the ‘plug’ was pulled today? We’ll be looking at this topic from this angle, rather than trying to imagine the world without the Internet had it never been invented.
Life without the Internet – Pulling the Plug on the Internet.
How exactly the Internet Plug could ever get pulled is a complicated question due to the expansive infrastructure that makes up the Internet. It would probably require the shutting down of every server and local DNS around the world. Some people have spoken about a major virus infection spreading through all servers and computers, rendering them / the Internet in a paralyzed state. Another wild theory whereby the wind generated by huge solar flares will disrupt anything that carries current, from telegraph wires, anything metal, computers, servers, etc. You can read about this theory if you Google “Carrington Event of 1959” This theory is said to be predicted by Nasa.
Life with no Internet – Personal Users
How would having no Internet affect the general personal user? Well, apart from every teenager screaming because they can’t log on to Facebook, it all comes down to how much we personally use the Internet and what for. Some of us hardly use the Internet, where others pretty much live their life around it! Equally, some actually live a completely New Life within the Internet like those who use Second Life.
I asked a few people their initial feelings towards not having the Internet; here’s what they said;
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“So many people use the Internet that if whoever banned it from the world everyone would complain that much and so many people would sue them that they would be forced to put it back on to regain all their money, or everyone should just move to the planet Mars.” Charlotte – 16
“Well, people would have to start talking to each other more, like they used to, and the whole morning chat at the post office will return. Kids would have to use the library to find stuff out instead of using Google, which will get them out of the house and learn to do things for themselves. People will receive letters instead of emails.” Melanie – 28
“It would affect me greatly in work because of our regional offices that relay information, policies, and procedures to one another quickly. Personally, I don’t have the time to go out as much as I’d like to, and without the Internet, I’d lose valuable socializing networks and access to friends and family far away.” Debbie – 45
“Boring life! We would not be able to shop online, which helps a lot of people like me who find it hard to get around” Sylvia – 60+
Socializing – Can our Youth Socialise without the Internet?
Many of us use the Internet to communicate, especially those in the lower age brackets above 10 years. From email to chat forums, social networks, dating sites, and even virtual worlds, our demands on the Internet for social communication and networking are huge. So it’s easy to anticipate that a life without the internet would force people to turn back to grassroots and socialize and communicate on a fundamental level.
My worry with this, though, specifically within the lower age brackets, is will the people who’ve grown up with the Internet around them be able to embrace social engagement on a grassroots level and know how to socialize? Would this enhance communication skills and language about studies on how ‘Internet slang’ has merged into our language skills? Would our ability to meet new people outside our immediate area be severed and thus affecting who we meet, socialize, and interact with and above all whom we spend our lives with? How did you meet your partner? Was the Internet involved in the process?
Life without the Internet – Communication
We use the Internet to communicate more than ever, and it’s become an integral part of any standard means of communication. So with no Internet, our means of communication would have to adapt. I very much doubt we’ll be sending smoke signals, but letters would fulfill the hole e-mails left, and phones would fulfill the gaps that instant messaging, chat, and social media created. An increase in postal mail and phone calls would surely benefit our local postal services and telephone network providers, but what we loved about the Internet was that communication was free! So it’s a possible exaggeration to assume we’d all crack out the pens and paper, start licking stamps, and calling everyone we know. Furthermore, we would probably resort to basics that remain free and go ‘talk’ to friends and family.
Life Speed, not Broadband Speed! The Slow Down
It’s a simple observation that the Internet sped up the world and the lives we live. We communicated quicker, we could buy and sell quickly, and we could find information quicker. So with the dilemma of having no Internet, we’d surely expect the world to slow down in business, society, and communication. Coping with this huge decrease in processing speed would have an extended impact throughout the business and social worlds to a point we’d wonder how we ever coped without it.
Life without the Internet – Effects on Business
Almost all businesses nowadays have some relationship with the Internet, whether it’s a simple business listing or an online store. What implications would be put upon businesses across the world with the loss of the Internet? Perhaps worldwide recession, stock markets would collapse, millions of businesses go bust, and millions of people lose their jobs? The impact on businesses that utilize the Internet would be massive, and the make or break factor would be if they could survive without it? But there may be some advantages amongst this devastation; as consumers, we’d probably start buying locally, enriching our local towns and shops. We’d look for local services and sustain local economies by trading within our immediate areas. The loss of jobs that relate to Internet Business would be hard to digest. Jobs at our local supermarket working the tills would suddenly be in high demand and many other jobs that don’t directly relate to the Internet.
What Businesses might survive?
Many older businesses ’embraced’ the Internet and didn’t solely found their existence around it, so we’d find a good number of businesses still in a position to trade. They merely used the Internet as an advertising medium or extra virtual shop. As long as they had diversity and a strong customer base, they’d adapt in whatever ways necessary to keep trading.
Access to Information & Resources cut
We all know the Internet is a massive resource directory, full of useful and useless information, all beautifully at our fingertips. So without it, where would we find the chemical compound of silver or the world record time for eating After Eights? Books! Quite simply, we’d resort back to the old school principle of reading books from libraries. It would definitely be harder to find the equivalent information that the Internet can provide in your local library. Still, if you think about it, the Internet basically took the library concept and expanded it by about a million times!.
Life without the Internet – Conclusion
Above all, we have to remember we got to where we are today without the Internet. The Internet was a technological advancement that excelled us into the 21st century and changed how we socialized, did business, and purchased goods. It paved the way for the future and still has many exciting advancements ahead of its self. Witnessing the loss of the Internet is probably very unlikely, but either way, I’m quite sure as a human race we’d adapt and persevere as we have done for thousands of years. Those who grew up with the Internet well established around them can’t comprehend life without it. There are, however, many of us who practiced life before its time and has experienced a life without the Internet.