In an abstract world, this is a very minor possibility; connections could always be remade, and servers come back online, but if it permanently 'switched off' as it were, the world would suffer. Almost all businesses rely on the internet in one way or another, and having a sudden loss of communication would decimate businesses worldwide.
There would be a sudden massive influx of jobs for the world, which, in one way, would be good for people. You would need so many more people to run phone lines, services, and organize.
The first industries to fall would be those based solely online, such as Amazon and EBay. Their networks would be destroyed, and their entire business model would crumble overnight. Stock markets would also collapse, as there would be so little information able to be shared compared to what people are used to. No more real time updates on current affairs, and no more global communication of current events without TV or radio; the world would slow down.
Advertising and marketing agencies would slowly fall, as their business models rely heavily on internet connections. They would fall slower than online only businesses, as some advertising could still be done by post, radio, or TV. But how would you get the adverts to the stations? The infrastructure has been left by the wayside for many years now, and is in a state of true disrepair, if many even still exist at all.
News outlets would thrive for a while, as they would be the only form of media available to many people for current affairs, but there would be little in the way of visuals as information would have to be physically transferred. The flip side of this is that many people are used to having live images and the latest visual news broadcasted directly to them, and reporting the news with no photos or videos is much less interesting than otherwise.
Industries like healthcare and universities would suffer heavily, as little information could be shared on request. No more looking things up online, like a diagnosis or treatment record, so it is likely that many people would pass away from inadequate healthcare. In universities they rely so heavily on the internet, or even intranet, that many research projects simply could not be completed. Libraries today are massively underfunded, meaning so much information would simply be lost to the ether.
Banks would struggle the most, as physical cash would be a premium resource. No more online banking or sharing of assets between accounts. Banks simply don't have the cash that their assets add up to, they haven't in a long time; this would likely lead to rioting and mass panic as people cannot access their own money.
Remember, this is a hypothetical, but if it did happen, most of society as we have become accustomed to would crumble. Industries would slow down to lack of communication, and millions of people would be out of jobs while others would be pushed into jobs that they are untrained for. There is a generation of people who have always had access to the internet, and they are now becoming those working in most sectors. The only saving grace is that more people would be eating local food, as most import-export relies on the internet, so there's that.
The author does not allow comments to this entry