What does it take to destabilize society?

In today’s session we talked about what it would take to bring down society similar to the plot of One Second After. In the book, an EMP shuts down all electronics. We discussed the importance of food distribution and storage, transportation, communication, sewage removal, federal government, and water distribution and purification. Would the loss of any one of these technologies reduce civilization to cannibalism? Each of these systems require electricity and computers, and the internet. Would the loss of internet capabilities be an existential threat to the country? I believe it would. It’s not just that we can’t research anything (i’m not saying life without Google) It would be life without any communication or network or servers. The Internet controls our communications – everything is through an IP address. Our sewage system, traffic system, food distribution, pharmacies .. All work through a connected network over the internet. It’s almost like being without power except we can still stay warm in the winter, providing that the utility companies can distribute electricity or gas without connectivity. Our cars will still work.

 

As time goes on, the technology increases and the systems become more complicated and more connected. Cars are becoming autonomous and thus will be connected to the internet all the time. Our houses are becoming ever more connected. We’re creating the Internet of things – why would we think that we can sustain society without the internet?

 

Even if we can imagine a society without the internet (which we all can), implementing it will be a lot harder than one may think. Food distribution used to be done without automated processes, we can do it again! Of course we can do it. But how long will it take for that new system (read: legacy system) to be developed and implemented? If it’s longer than a week, people will already be planning to attack their neighbors.

 

What does it take to destabilize society?

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