Addicted to the Internet. Damn.

Can't seem to put the computer away.

Can't seem to put the computer away.

by RYAN BOLTON

I was in the back corner of a Starbucks in Toronto. It was your average hipster-soaked, exposed brick, barista-laden Starbucks. A couple to my left were reading the New York Times and a curly-haired lad chatted wryly on his BlackBerry about the previous night’s debauchery. And everyone else was pounding away on his or her glowing laptops – pop culture has told me that writer’s must be seen in coffee shops in order to write. I still don’t get this phenomenon, but that’s not germane here. What is, however, was thinking about everyone’s reaction if for some inexplicable reason their computers shut off. Just went dead.

And then I wondered about if some kind of planet-wide electric pulse zapped all of our computers. Just whack, computer lights out. And then I got to thinking about what kind of a great dystopian novel that would make, but that’s also not germane to this discussion. (But copyright on that idea.)

I was later talking with a friend about the Internet and its endless possibilities inter alia. And then I queried: “What would happen to the world if the Internet just went down for good.”

Bedlam would ensue, was our agreed conclusion.

It’s just interesting to think that in just 15 years – if we’re going by when the Internet started to pick up steam in 1994, albeit it went public in 1991 – the world has become inextricably attached to the web. Our governments, banks, major businesses, transportation systems and an endless sea of everything would likely hit a major hiccup. Think of the things that you use the Internet for on a daily basis. Maybe do a little banking, read a couple articles, check Facebook and send some personal e-mails. But then think about how your work more than likely depends on the use of the Internet. Think about how a lot of your daily actions revolve in some way or another around the Internet – even if this means chatting on instant messenger making plans to go out with friends for drinks at, say, Starbucks. While you’re booking a flight or checking the weather online, think about how the Internet is constantly affecting you.

Of course, it would be nice to imagine that the world would continue forth if the Internet did crash. But maybe it’s more insightful to think about how attached and consumed we are on a daily basis to the Internet. How we can conduct all of our business, education, banking, shopping, reading, research, etc. online. We could chat about this concept with its multi-faceted variables ad nauseam. And maybe we should.

It’s just ironic that we can discuss this all online.

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