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A world without the Internet: yay or ain’t no way?

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What if one day there was no Internet? The Web as we know it would be gone for good. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google would only exist in the memories of people who lived through the Great Disconnection.

The Internet is the greatest invention and technological revolution since the printing press. Since its creation, we’ve built our whole lives around this innovation, depending on it for almost everything. But what would happen if the Internet was no more? What would life be like without the Internet?

The thought experiment

There are no attempts to dismantle the Internet that we are aware of, therefore you have nothing to be concerned about. But isn’t it fascinating to consider what might happen if the Internet would suddenly shut down?

If the Internet suddenly went down at this very moment, we wouldn’t make a huge issue out of it, as it happens sometimes, but chaos would ensue shortly. A total of 9,728 planes carrying 1,270,406 passengers would be lost in the skies. Anyone who relies on GPS would become disoriented. Every online search would return a blank result, and 63 percent of the population utilizing the Internet at the time would be cut off from whatever they were doing.

You know what would be the worst part? Being unable to connect to the Internet in order to read about what had occurred. We’d have to rely on printed newspapers, radio, a few television channels sent by broadcast towers (assuming you had an antenna), and, worst of all, word of mouth.

People would rely on contacting each other on the phone, causing the telecommunications infrastructure to become overloaded. If you depend on VoIP for communications… you’re instantly doomed. So, no more internet shopping, no more searching for flu symptoms on Google, and, of course, no more social media. E-transfers would be difficult since financial services rely heavily on the Internet. Your credit and debit cards would become useless.

Such a calamitous event would also take away a feeling of community, which is important to many of us. As a result, we may become more isolated than ever. However, there are more drawbacks than you may think. Possibly one of the biggest downsides would be the lack of funny cat videos on Youtube.

If the Internet were to fail in some way, the economic consequences would be severe. While the loss of services such as electronic banking or PayPal would be inconvenient, the consequences would be extremely far reaching. Consider the enterprises that rely on the Internet. Every website would be unavailable. Large corporations such as Google and Amazon would be rendered obsolete in an instant. Many companies would go out of business, and millions of people would lose their jobs.

Every aspect of life would be touched, from communications to education and business, dealing a serious blow to the basic foundations on which we stand. Suddenly, we’d be transported back to a period when children played in the street for amusement, the Amazon was just a river, and surfing required waves.

Is the Internet “shut down” possible?

Wonder if an Internet stoppage is even possible?

Not on a global scale, at least. The Internet isn’t a switch box that can be turned on and off. Although, in certain nations, a “kill switch” has been implemented to purposefully shut down Internet and telephone connectivity.

However, destroying the Internet as a whole is more difficult than removing a plug from a socket. It is a worldwide network of technologies and networks. Satellites and computers, as well as thousands of miles of cabling on the ocean floor, are used to send data around the world and into networks, bringing connectivity to life. Even if one portion of this complex network failed, the other parts would continue to operate.

The Internet is designed to find alternate routes and channels to transmit the data to its intended destination, in case a route or channel becomes blocked or disabled. There are events that can trigger a break in the chain, causing systems to go down, or exposing weaknesses in the global Internet infrastructure. However, there are measures in place to keep an eye on any potential outages.


The Internet isn’t going to disappear overnight. Truly, a crash of this hypothetical magnitude is virtually impossible. But our dependence on the World Wide Web is only going to increase as technology advances. There’s humor in that, perhaps even a little bit of irony. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of just how remarkable our technology has become. So, take comfort in the fact that for now, the chances of The Great Internet Crash are small.

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