Could You Survive an Internet Apocalypse?
Approximately ten years ago there was a television show called Revolution. It was executively produced by J.J Abrams and the pilot episode was directed by Jon Favreau. The premise of the show was that the planet lost all means of electrical power. Essentially modern society was taken back to the middle-ages. On the surface this doesn’t seem like a big deal to most historians as the majority of human history has transpired without electricity. Electricity after all is only about one hundred years old in its modern application. The show was an interesting take on how modern people would deal with being taken back to the Game of Thrones era. The internet as we know it is barely thirty-years old. Revolution gave a fascinating take on how people might react to losing electricity so I wondered with the internet being barely thirty-years old in its modern application, could you survive an internet apocalypse?
I once went on a date with someone who commented that they could not drive a vehicle that did not have a reverse camera. I’ve never had a reverse camera on a vehicle I have owned. I drive a wrangler and it has a manual transmission. (She didn’t know manual transmissions still existed) The comment caught me off guard somewhat. Then I realized that my date never drove a car without a reverse camera so given the context it completely made sense.
I am a part of the Gen X generation. The thirteenth generation to be more precise. The most advanced technology I grew up with was the Sony Walkman. I didn’t get my first cellular phone until I was twenty-eight (and it wasn’t a smart phone, they didn’t yet exist) and I was introduced to the internet barely a few years prior. I grew up without instant anything except gratification. I often talk about how many in my generation are unique in that we have a foot in both the technological nuclear winter and the technological revolution. Smartphones and apps are just over years old meaning most in my generation have been exposed to them since we were in our mid to late thirties. But we have transitioned beautifully.
Through no fault of our own we are conditioned by what we are exposed to and have access to. In my mind I doubt I would have been able to write a book had I had to rely on typewriters, ribbons, changing paper, using white out and not word processing programs in computers.
It was discovered by scientists on January 11, 2022, that Earth experienced a solar flare about 9,200 years ago that would have wiped out a significant number of electrical capabilities and would have most certainly damaged the undersea internet cables we all rely on. It’s called a coronal mass ejection. I then started to wonder what an internet-less life would look like, and I had to remind myself, duh, it would look like the first half of your life which was more than fine. But how many of you out there have this reference? How many of you are like my date who can’t drive a vehicle without a reverse camera because you don’t know anything else?
Whether or not we will experience an internet apocalypse, or an event portrayed on Revolution is unknown, but it is a possibility. How many of us will be prepared to live in a world and time completely unknown to our cognitive and emotional selves?