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July 12, 2010

What If There Were No Internet?

Filed under: Main — Tags: , — admin @ 12:01 am

Well, yeah: If the Internet were gone, then you wouldn’t be reading this. Well, at least you wouldn’t be reading this on your computer screen. You might, in fact, be reading it in one of those magazines you no longer subscribe to.

No on expects the Internet to go away. In fact, as I reported in a news link yesterday, the era of the free Internet may be drawing to a close. As a thought experiment, however, consider what life would be like if the Internet were no more.

My guess is that there would be online services. There would be email. There would be news, weather and sports, and some online shopping. You’d probably have subscription services like AOL, CompuServe, and others still around, providing content for a monthly fee.

Back in the 1980s, those services existed, but they weren’t that popular. For one, their interfaces sucked. For two, having a modem in your computer wasn’t a vital necessity, and so you had to A) know that modems existed, B) want one, and C) want to subscribe to an online service.

It was an uphill battle.

Computers would still be with us. They would be networked, but only locally. The government and universities would probably have something like the Internet for communicating, but no Web.

Your computer would play games, but single player would be the common mode. Multiplayer would work only if your computer had a modem, so that would be rare.

There would be iPods, but you’d need a computer to transfer your music CDs (or DVDs) to the iPod.

Cell phones would exist, but beyond making phone calls there would be text messaging, cameras, and maybe music playing. No Internet would be available, so no mobile browsing or email.

My guess is that Facebook, Twitter, and the entire online porn industry would either be non-existent or paid subscription services ala AOL.

As I hinted in the intro, your life would be full of more magazines and books. After all, to get the latest information you’d need a magazine. To get information and help for your computer, you’d need books — lots of them.

My computer book library once had over 500 titles. I’ve donated or tossed most of them. That’s because most of them are dated; indeed computer books have a shelf life of about 18 months. Beyond that, the references is use now are all on the Internet. If the Internet were gone, I’d still need the references, and so would most computer users. Books would make an astounding comeback.

On the downside, there wouldn’t be such a wide audience for those periodicals and books. That’s because, minus the Internet, I don’t think that many people would really have interest in computers.

Without the Internet would every kid going to college need a laptop?

Without the Internet would you need his-and-hers computers in your home?

Face it: The Internet is a big deal. We’d miss it if it were gone.

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