"One of the biggest problems with the Internet today is that people take it for granted. They don't even think about not having access to it," said William Dutton at Michigan State University, who is the author of the book Society and the Internet.
Imagine a world without access to the Internet. Social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, and so many more will never exist. It looks scary, right? Though it is not as frightening as experiencing calamities like earthquakes or floods, the thought of no longer having access to the Internet can also make the world stop.
Things that May Happen Once Internet is Down
According to a survey, there are already over 300 million people in the United States alone who frequently use the Internet. Only 10% of the U.S. population said that they do not use the Internet—meaning 90 percent of this may get affected once the Internet is down forever.
However, aside from its negative turnaround on an individual, what are the things that might happen to industries, businesses, and government once this happened?
Matthew Zook, Geography Professor at the University of Kentucky, explained on Gizmodo that "all the basic infrastructure in place could still function, but when the internet fails, the complex logistical systems that enable global supply chains are essentially bricked."
For starters, communication will be one of the main problems of 'no internet connection'—but not too much. According to Francesca Musiani, Researcher at the Institute for Communication Sciences, French National Centre for Scientific Research, said that communication is actually one small thing to worry about once the Internet is down.
As explained, there are still mediums like SMS or texting or even simply talking face-to-face if you want to communicate without the Internet.
Expect horrible traffic if the Internet is no longer available. Since the effect of this event can be too traumatic for most people, the tendency for them to think about hoarding items or go out of their houses would be one possibility. Meanwhile, as explained by Zook, "some cars can still function without the internet, airlines might stop operating, trucking will stay, but the entire logistics industry will rumble in no time."
What Will Happen to Businesses?
As mentioned in an article on BBC, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security already did a research about the things that could happen when the Internet goes down for businesses. Out of the 20 companies that were said to be most affected by this, the financial impact was said to be surprisingly insignificant.
On the other hand, Mark Graham from Oxford Internet Institute said that the world will experience an immediate global economic collapse when the Internet can't process. As explained by him, the nervous system of contemporary globalization belongs to the Internet. Businesses and industries like banking or payment networks or any business that requires computer will be hugely affected.
Is it Possible?
According to Ryan Wright of the University of Virginia, there is only a small possibility that the Internet can be down forever. First, internet providers have built redundant connections to make it nearly impossible to shut it down universally. Second, companies have rerouting equipment if a sudden unexpected thing happened that may affect their services.
So for now, we have nothing to worry about.