The Internet dominates most aspects of our modern life. Imagine a world without it. Most of our phone applications use it, our research is reliant on it, and our entertainment craves it. Most of our normal life seems to involve the internet in some way. So what happens if the internet goes, suddenly, without a trace, never to return again? Does the world transcend into an apocalyptic globe filled with mindless addicts, just looking for their Internet fix?
To look at this question more closely, I thought it would be important to see how life was before the internet, through the eyes of my father, who grew up without the internet for the first 55years of his life. In this world television was an important product in educating us in current affairs, people would use encyclopaedias for research, and individuals would communicate face-to-face.
“I remember I had all these encyclopaedias, like 20 of them, and any time you wanted to find out information you’d just go to the index and search for it. If still you couldn’t find the information, and it was really urgent, you’d just go to the library and ask the librarian.” He proudly notes.
Just when you thought trawling through Google Scholar was hard enough, this method of research sounds designed induce anyone into constant frustration.
This revolutionary technology is now an important part of our lives, and most rely on it for various everyday practices, it is seemingly amazing. However, the Internet was not always a praised technology. In its early stages, the Internet had to be connected through a dial-up connection, and this caused problems for most households. “We had dial up and we couldn’t receive calls and surf the Internet at the same time, so I would get annoyed when the kids were on for too long because I couldn’t receive calls, and they got annoyed when I was on the phone because they couldn’t surf the internet”, my Father explains.
The introduction of ADSL Internet allowed for both methods of communication to co-exist, and thus reduced late night tension between family members.
This now dependable service is slowly forcing a change of other medias, as they face the task of adapting and competing with the versatility of the internet. People use the internet to read the news, research and for entertainment, which limits the use of existing platforms like television, cinemas, newspapers, and libraries. When asked how the internet is changing existing medias, my Father replied, “I would suggest a lot less people spend time watching TV now. They can just connect to the internet and personalise their entertainment habits. Everyone seems to always be connected.” This is very true, and is evident in modern life as we see people on public transport always on their phones, reading the news, books or watching television. But what are the negative aspects of this? This constant feeling on connectedness to our devices has seemed to distance us from the social interactions in modern life. “The negative side of our new technologies are the social ramifications. It takes away interactions, the human interaction has been stifled!” This is a theme my Father is extremely passionate about, and this is what limits his support towards the development of these new technologies. His belief is one also shared by many, and sadly its brutally honest.
So just how would the world fare without the Internet? Well I asked my old man for his input. “I think Internet has become a big part of our livelihood. People would struggle, just because we’ve now become used to it… There’s going to come a time when the Internet will for a day or two, and I really want to be around to see how everyone reacts to this. They just won’t cope.”