Nowadays, a life of many people makes them staying online permanently, so the question of what will happen if the Internet suddenly disappears becomes particularly acute. Well, the consequences may be quite unexpected.
In 1995, less than one percent of the world’s population had access to the global network. Today, 20 years later, more than 3.5 billion people enjoy a constant access to the Internet. This is almost half of the world’s population. Many people cannot imagine their existence without a worldwide network.
But the Internet is not an unchangeable thing at all. Theoretically, it can be turned off for a certain time both nationally and globally.
For example, cyberattacks may lead to it. Hackers can launch a program that attacks vulnerable points in routers and may paralyze the network in such a way.
Serious problems may also be caused by the domain name servers disabling. If these address books of the Internet fail, the websites will not load.
One can cause serious malfunctions and literally disconnect the continents by cutting the deep-water cables that transmit huge amounts of Internet traffic.
Some governments have something like an emergency button that can actually turn off the Internet in a given country. For example, such button was used by Egypt government during the events of the Arab Spring in 2011 in order to complicate the communication between the protesters. However, it is not that easy to create an emergency button. The larger the country’s territory and the higher the level of its development, the more difficult it is to turn off the Internet completely.
Finally, the most serious damage to the Internet may come from space. As a result of a solar storm, the outbreak of which is directed toward the Earth, satellites, power grids and computer systems can stop functioning properly. Actually, a solar storm within a few seconds can do the damage that terrorists and bombs cannot.
But most of the interruptions do not last long. A whole army of specialists worldwide is ready to repair any malfunction.
However, we are so accustomed to the constant access to the Internet that we will be affected by even a relatively short interruption. Still, the consequences may be somewhat unexpected. For example, the impact on the economy will be not as strong as you may imagine.
The scientists examined quarterly financial reports of the 20 companies that were most affected by Internet outages, as well as a more general economic statistics. They found out that the negative financial effect of the outages was surprisingly small, at least if the malfunctions lasted no more than four days.
They discovered that disabling the Internet for a few days led only to a lag behind the working schedule. In some cases, short-term Internet outages even led to the increased labor productivity. Most likely, a serious Internet failure will be more troublesome for small businesses and ordinary workers.
Nevertheless, the psychological consequences of the outage, such as feelings of isolation and anxiety, will affect everyone.
The Internet mostly pursues a specific goal of facilitating people’s interaction with each other. We got used to the fact that we can communicate with anyone anywhere and anytime.
The world will not collapse if we stay without the Internet for a day but most people will feel themselves terrible even during one such day.
However, this feeling will pass very soon. Being deprived of the Internet, you’ll be able to realize its importance in your life. But when access to the network returns, you will take it for granted literally in several hours.