A World Without Internet


Nowadays, almost nothing gets done without the Internet from working, researching, studying, to making videos, recording music, and creating an endless variety of entertainments. The more we rely on it, the more it seems impossible to live without it; however, could this blind dependence be a threat? Could this huge machine we call the Internet be something transient in human history? Is it possible that somehow it may not be around in the near future?

Most people go about their daily lives as if the Internet has always been here and always will be. Those born in the 20th century witnessed the evolution of technology and the Internet, and thus know well the life with and without it, and could probably, though reluctantly, cope with not having it. However, younger generations depend on it on a daily basis, especially for social networking. It is evident that it is so reliable; yet at the same time it is so vulnerable.

The Internet can be damaged in different ways; if the damage is not physical, it could be virtual. Cyber-terrorism is not a fictional concept; because the Internet owns every bit, and because every datum is connected to one single organism, the whole thing is at the risk of disappearing in bulk and at once.

Normal PC users suffer from viruses, malwares, and bad sectors of storage that affect the stored data; so what about thinking of new single virus that might have the potential of damaging every bit connected to the gigantic web?

In some places, the Internet crashes; in fact, this happens all the time. Whether it is a particular server that crashes and needs to be rebooted or replaced, or a cable under the ocean gets snagged by an anchor, the world has already experienced that and almost each country has evidence on that.

However, for the Internet to experience a global collapse, either the protocols that allow machines to communicate would have to stop working for some reason, or the infrastructure itself would have to suffer massive damage.

Another critical point is mobile communication systems and landlines that depend mainly on the Internet to manage, control, and cover areas with cellphone services, in order to initiate calls or Internet sessions as the infrastructure for these services is a part of the Internet infrastructure.

Transferring files between computers through cloud computing services would also fail and the information you store on those services could become inaccessible and all the stored data would be lost.

It is thus time to kill the dependency on the Internet before it kills us. We could do more meaningful things than spending time on the Internet, such as: writing, exercising, establishing connections with new people, strengthening existing relationships, or storing data on compact discs as a backup.

This does not mean that the Internet is evil, bad or wrong; obviously it is not. The Internet is an amazing tool, one that has changed our life for the better; for example, candy is not evil, but if your entire diet consists of candy, you get sick and fat fairly quickly.

Trials have been made before to deliberate our use of Internet and have come out with spectacular results. Take your modem out of the house for 30 days, making sure you do not have access to it; try not to make your life fully dependent on the Internet.

You will want to get online to do something “silly” and you will not be able to; then you will want to get online to do something “important” but you will not be able to do that either. It is just like quitting smoking, you will have a craving to get on the web, and it will take a while to get rid of that craving.

You will be frustrated at first but you will live, and your life will be better without it; you will be able to do more meaningful things, and you will remove some of the discontent from your life. You will feel relaxed as the anxiety of not knowing something important that has just emerged on the Web will vanish.



The original article was published in SCIplanet, Bare Necessities (Winter 2015) issue.

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