Imagine you woke up one day and the first thing you do is check your phone as usual and try to open Instagram. You got a notice that there is a shutdown internet connection so you check if cellular data is working, you check your data plan, you tried almost everything and called your service provider in anger and they tell you that there is shutdown internet today.
This is an actual story of millions of people from various countries around the world. While most cases were due to some strings pulled by politics and very few were due to technical issues like the case that happened on 4th October 2021 were due to downing of server, all the three mega-social media platforms that are Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter almost stopped working for more than 24 hours. Even though it was just for a day, this small event caused a loss of around 6 billion USD on Facebook.
While this was just the unintentional shutdown of social media platforms for brief hours, there are hundreds to thousands of cases each year where there was a total shutdown of the internet for days to months due to command of government to the telecom companies in the name of safety of citizens and prevention of terrorism. Out of all countries, India is considered as the leading country in the Number of Internet Shutdowns having more than hundreds of such cases each year, and out of these most of the cases are from Kashmir while the rest are related to the places where public outrage against the government have occurred.
In the above cases (caused due to the government or technical reasons) of various countries through the shutdown was temporary, throughout the period associated citizens faced problems on various terms. From an economic point of view, many companies lost their contracts and trusts due to the inability to reply to important mails or confirm orders online. Online transactions and e-commerce were completely stopped. Thanks to the internet it’s easy to send pictures, pdfs, and text through social media at a low cost because of which many small online businesses are able to run on it. However, it all went down when they weren’t able to receive and confirm orders from their valuable customers. They didn’t even get the chance to announce their unwelcomed and uninformed situation.
Many university students who have enrolled for distance studying depend on the internet for online classes because of its low-cost convenience. But due to the regional shutdown, they faced difficulties attending classes and getting important notices. Event the IT sectors and medical sectors faced major issues as most of their tasks were fast or only possible via online. This brief period almost halted all activities of the citizens of associated regions and proved that technology clearly has very less value without the internet as it is the internet that made communications, businesses, and almost everything fast, easy, and possible.
The above-detailed conditions of temporary shutdowns can give us a brief idea of what would happen if one day the internet is permanently shut down. Scenarios similar to the above cases would be the same with the only exception that its intensity will be on a global scale and have a larger impact on society. Humanity will almost stop functioning and there will be chaos. If it will be caused by technical issues surely government, scientists, and telecom companies will find an alternative to the internet, and the scenario would last only for years or less. However, if it will be caused by the government, which has a higher probability to do so, then things would be a lot worse as it will lead to forced implementation of the 1900s lifestyle on public and huge public outrage against the government.