What If The Internet Stopped Working For A Week?

in #whatif7 years ago


We pride ourselves in saying that we live in the information age where anything we want to know about can be accessed in an instant and at the palm of our hands. The enabler for all that has been, of course, one of humanity’s greatest inventions i.e. internet.

Ever since the internet was first introduced to the world, it has change human life in one major way after the other such that we have had to evolve our ways of doing time and again and have had to get rid of several old ways that were made utterly obsolete.

This always connected lifestyle of ours was even more augmented with the introduction of portable devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets and today, we can order a cab at our location with a tap and send a text to a person half way around the globe in an instant.

Internet has truly permeated all aspects of human life and has today become a necessity rather than a luxury a couple decades ago. As such, I wonder what would happen if it stopped working for even a week!

Is It Even Possible?


The internet is a robust system and is not dependent on one single computer or even a single system that could be targeted to cause global internet outage. It is an interconnected system where if one section of the net doesn’t work, the other sections can keep functioning normally.

There are however ways where a large portion of the internet can be affected. For example in 2013, Google went down for only 5 minutes and that caused the internet traffic to drop by 40%! That’s huge.

But to truly cause a global outage is very difficult. Almost to a point of impossibility. Even concentrated cyberattacks won’t do the trick or even cutting the deep-sea cables that are responsible for a major portion of data transfers.

One of the only ways it could happen is by way of destructive, powerful solar waves capable of frying all systems that the internet relies on including even the satellites. The chances of that happening are slim, but it is still possible.

What The Impacts Will Be


We are so reliant on the internet today that an outage for a week would be catastrophic. When it happens, we will immediately notice it as we are no longer able to log on to our social media. As this information spreads, thanks to other means of communication, panic will start to set in.

As ATMs and banks would stop working, you would be limited to the amount of cash you have at that point to buy your essential items. This could cause panic at the food stores and other places as people rush to stock up on the bare essentials. We could see worldwide riots and governments using their resources to maintain order.

Businesses would take a major hit as people are no longer able to shop online and also because everything is conducted on the net like purchase orders, deliveries, inventory management, receiving and fulfilling of orders and so on. Sites like Google and Amazon would literally be obsolete for the period that the outage lasts.

Also, the stock market would get closed causing even more panic among traders. All this would be real bad news for the economy even if it lasted for just a week, because once internet services would be back up again, there would most likely be a crash in the stock market.


These are the big ones but there are a host of smaller services that we use in our day to day life that we have completely taken for granted and they would be rendered useless in the wake of such an event.

Take ordering a cab for example. Granted we would still be able to do that in a non-internet world, but it is that realisation of the lack of convenience that hits people more. That’s why, I think, more than the tangible effects, the psychological effects are greater and matter more.

I mean, when you open up your laptop one day and you see that there is no internet, the laptop itself starts to feel useless even though a lot can still be done with it. That comfort of being ‘connected’ with the rest of the world is taken away and that causes discomfort, boredom and if lasting for a longer period of time, stress and panic.

The scary part is that we do not have a Plan B for any such scenarios. I know the chances of this happening are remote but we should still be prepared if it ever happens because we are completely dependent on it and it is only going to get stronger in the future.


I think everybody should prepare themself in case of an internet shutdown or even a power down in the grid.

I fear power outage a lot more than internet outage.

We definitely need a plan B for sure. But unfortunately we don't have one.

I would pretty much think, that in the event of a world war, we minions would be locked out of internet use anyway.....

I was talking about internet outage due to other reasons not world war :P

That would be the best week of my life!

haha Connect with nature or something, am I right?

I'd be the most productive I've ever been at work!
Would get a raise.
Would be able to buy more crypto.
Then become millionnaire.

Wait. Can I buy crypto offline? ;)

Theoretically it's possible if you could find physical bitcoin/altcoin and you can find way to verify the amount in that address is same with the seller claim and trust the seller no longer have access to that address.

Terrible purchase if the internet never came back on though.

Makes you nervous, no? :P

I guess your work doesn't require internet access ;)

People disconnected from internet for a week.. This can easily cause a lot of people organised on the net cause a big chaos. oops! this is a paradox without internet :)

Yes chaos would ensue, I would imagine.

The tricky illusion that we're stuck in today is that the internet is here to help us - to make our lives easier, give easy access to more and more information. But in the undertones of that very process, we're beginning to silently depend on it for the smallest of things.
I personally cannot imagine a day without internet - whether its work related, to communicate with someone or basic entertainment. Everything revolves around the internet - even ordering food (for the most part)
It really is scary how much we depend on something that should be a mere secondary assistance in our lives to get ahead.

... we're beginning to silently depend on it for the smallest of things

True but consider this. How much do you depend on language?

There was a time when all we had were grunts and guesswork. Then little by little we started to agree on what different grunts meant so we could cooperate better. Thus came language.

Imagine a terrorist bioweapon that caused temporary aphasia across an entire urban city. It would be an even bigger catastrophe than losing the internet.

This is because while humans have invented and discovered a great many things, some of these things are so earthshaking that the whole shifts to accommodate them and the world before them becomes impossible to see again.

Spoken language. Agriculture. Written language. Money. The Internet.

Take away any of those things and the world collapses into death upon death until we reach a population that can survive in that old version of the world.

Agreed. But while that stands to be true, it can't be the only fact when it comes to predicting in such situations and exploring the "what ifs"
Humans have evolved and survived catastrophes because of their insanely positive disposition, and the ability to adapt to absolutely anything. And it's innate.
Do you think people in Iraq, Syria and Palestine have access to basic necessities (the internet has been added to the list officially by HRC in the UN)? No!

In times of war, countries suffering did not have these basic necessities no matter what we've discovered and accomplished. When it comes to disaster, we're pretty darn great at evolving and adapting to circumstances and contingency plans. Knowing and believing in that, we should perhaps every once a while, practice life without the internet also. Get close to nature, enjoy proper relationships in earnest and in person - not virtually, and not to touch any extremes, but just to keep in touch with the natural and internet-free way of living just a little bit, wouldn't be the worst thing ever. Thoughts?

I love the way you write !

Exactly. We are becoming more and more dependent on it. Common sense says we need a Plan B if things go south for the internet.

No more funny cats video...

hahah How can we live without the cat videos!!

Imagine a world without electricity for a week!! That would be a real disaster as we are so much used to the comforts of today's world. I really like the idea of 'Earth Hour'. Not sure how many countries are aware of it.

BTW, great post. If there are no mobile phones(esp smart phones) and internet, will the people we more engaging with each other ? will they interact with real human beings? will they wake up everyday looking at their partners/kids/pets/themselves in mirror ? I believe that life would be much simpler, less complicated.

Yes it would be worse without electricity. But there are so many ways of generating electricity that it can be done on a micro scale. But the internet is something that is only viable if on the macro scale.

I think the internet going down would finally make us realize how overly connected the critical infrastructure of the world truly is.

Yeah true!!

I think the problems would be worse for the developed world. In South Africa we straddle first and third world economies. In my own life this is well illustrated. I have a secondhand shop, which I am trying to keep a cash business. I also sell online, to customers all over the world.

I think the best way to prepare is to cultivate relationships. After having had a small business in the same town for over 25 years, I would quickly start to barter. It is worth remembering how your reputation will carry you through in a situation like this.

Yeah, developed countries would be worse hit because the internet is more pervasive there.

I get goosebump thinking if the internet went down . Let's hope whe never have to think about a plan B.

The whole point of a plan B is to think in advance :P

You're right :) ,Let's hope hope then that we don't resort to plan B then .

Very interesting to think about..hopefully we won't ever have to find out what would happen! Thanks for sharing, great writing.

If I'm forced to not use my phone for even an hour I start feeling like I'm isolated from the world and I don't know what's going on. What might my crypto holdings be doing if I'm not checking on my portfolio every 5 minutes? I've become very addicted to always being connected to the internet.

That's exactly what's happened. We are "too connected"

sorry cant think about it for a day only. nice post @sauravrungta

I know right!

Or perhaps everyone would be bored out of their minds.

Given the fact that we are so connected to the internet for almost every aspect of our lives, it is frightening to think of how it would be if the internet goes down. Internet Apocalypse would be the word to describe it.

That's the correct term for sure.

Never thought about it but it would plunge us back to the stone age!
I guess in a lot of countries a civil war would start for resources..
Great article!

I don't know about stone age but yes, civil wars would definitely start.

And Indian state authorities have imposed 20 Internet shutdowns so far in 2017! Their concern you ask? Misuse of social media and online content.
#Will facepalm even do justice!

It's not just about the governments though. I was talking more about the internet in whole getting simply destroyed by a single reason and the implications of that.

That is kinda cease almost everything especially for the new generation who are almost addictive of being on internet , spending a few hours without fail :) The old school would thank God if it happens to be , as they miss their kids to be always busy on internet :) So a 50-50 ratio

The thing is that even the old school are dependent on the internet indirectly if not directly.

I was working for a phone company in the 1990s. Back then we were having a hard time convincing people to trust the Internet enough to purchase things online with a credit card. How things have changed!

haha they sure have. The crypto is in a similar state now. ;)

I also do not know how to treat my dependence on the Internet. Although I sometimes try to read a book :)

Reading a book is a good way to escape it.

i think the internet become an important thing for humanity like oxygen !

If the internet stopped it would paralyze the world and leave it vulnerable to the cooperation and submission of the power that turned off the internet switch. That power could make any demands that choose to and the injured sheeple would oblige. Martial law and looting may occur too. Folks would not be prepared and left helpless if the grid went down as well. Sadly I would not have access to your steemit blogs and posts and could not comment then. I would miss writings by Sauravungta.

Completely agreed!! Right now, by our understanding, only a strong solar flare can do that so I don't think solar flares will make any demands ;) But if an alien race should also be able to do the same in which case they would be able to make demands! lol

Thanks for the kind words. It really means a lot :)

We'd finally get some work done!

Yeah, but a majority of the work wouldn't get done though!

Depends which sector your employed in ;-)

I would be ded

Internet cant stop working thats how it was designed! people will need the internet to run distributed computing networks like ethereum or EOS to create multi ExaHash or beyond computations to run simulations/emulations of human brains!

)u have to see that to see the future of actual artifical human consciousness, where people upload their consciousness into a computer by scanning a human brain with high definition 3d scans of all the neuron connections all the synapses etc so then they startup a 3d simulation and have a human body inside, that consciousness is online and can do stuff a normal human can do, they can make money even, run companies, etc their virtual life will be just as real as real life to us, they will be able tpo experience 1000 years in a day or more, with increased computing power, which costs money so theyll need to make a lot of money to run their consciousness on distributed computing networks....(like ethereum or EOS) and so these conciousness emulators, (theyll duplicate the 3d physical processes of a human brain, neurons and all, synaptics movements etc all of it) and theyll emulate a human brain like a PC emulates an old Nintendo 64 game, with the human consiousness file being like the n64 cartrdige Rom, we will have "Roms" of different peoples memories, their consiousnesses, (their memories basically are their consiousnesses) and we will start to understand consiousness much better too, man its going to be really crazy, and the idea of consiousness starting and stopping, death and birth, i mean when u turn off a computer with the consiousness running is that death? It would seem like they would also need to live in their own cities, away from humans, just big data centers with robots gaurding them, the money theyd make would be used to pay for theintense computing power you need, and they would pay for it using ethereum some would be using hardware they owned but no u cant u need massive computing power to simulate a human brain

THAT is what they will use Ethereum or EOS distributed computing virtual super computers for! They will use stuff like Golem to actually emulate a human brain and run human consciousness programs....... ghost in the shell, expect it wont just happen spontaniously, the sentience will be planned but it will be a COPY of an existing human brain that will be scanned with high level scanners and then uploaded into the brain emulator which willhave to simulate 3d reality nd all of its physical laws, so that we get a high definition simulation of a human brain with all of its neurons and synapses and neurotransmitters, you see??? It's an incredible idea, and it makes a lot of sense, it means we wont HAVE to understand how consciousness works, we will just be able to emulate it by duplicating our brain in a 3d simulation and watch the consciousness that results and give it access to the real worlds internet, allowing it to upload youtube videos from its virtual world, , allowing people to create the most amazing experiences and the most horrible nightmares .....there will be virtual neurosurgeons who will try and go in and fix people's emulated brains, people will have access to the real world internet but theyll know they are in a virtual world, they'll have access to Surrogates like the movie surrogates, to kind of feel and simulate the real world, using sensory input it should feel real, and anyway this is going to be a BIG deal just watch ......

we need to realize we are like 50 years away from being able to scan a human brain, we will need a lot better equipment, we will need nanobots to just give 3d scans of an entire brain in real time, we need that and once we have it we will

Wonderful post as always Saurav. Could this become a reality ? If yes , offcourse there would be wide spread panic and chaos. Upvoted and following u as always. Do review my new post on myself and my steemit experiences and share yourfeedback if possible. Regards Nainaz. https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@nainaztengra/my-introduction-my-story-all-about-me

It would be quite a peaceful week for many I would imagine, once you get over the loss of earnings/business problems.

I'd have a lovely time, a week off work to start with :) people not expecting me to answer messages 24/7. I can't keep track of how many messaging apps I am expected to use now!

I think I am right in saying that for virtually the whole of human history man has survived, actually scrap that, thrived without the internet.

It could be peaceful, but knowing the human race, I think riots and violence are more likely.

I've done it more than once, its called camping.

I doubt the whole world would do that ;)

One week without internet, If I knew in advance of it happening, I would buy a hotdog cart. Hot dogs are cheap, people need a place to congregate, hot dog stands would do that. Most restaurants require payment by credit, or cash, and they are expensive, and after third day would be out of food. I don't think it is possible to run out of hot dogs.

If I did not know it was going to happen, then I would just sit back chill and watch the nuts run by. It is after all only a one week outage.

You think like a businessman!! :D

It could put us back to the Stone Age! Lots of pre internet technologies and paper based systems are now obsolete with little knowledge of how to resurrect them. I'd say we may get away with it now but 20 years down the line it would be a game changer for civilisation.

haha yeah, medieval ways of doing things!

Hi! I'm happy to choose this post for my "Care To Read "Crossword Puzzle Contest No. 4. I'm posting a link to this post in all my posts related to this contest. I hope it will send some more traffic to your post and may initiate people to spare some thoughts about any possible Plan B 😊.

Thank you for writing awesome content!

I actually had that experience after signing up here on Steemit. In a fit of rage, I threw my phone on the wall and then I was off the grid completely for a week or so. Because my laptop was in a bad condition, so I couldnt access Internet for a week. And after a week when I bought a new phone (by means of my Steemit earnings) I realized that I didn't miss out on anything of importance. :D