Pretend for a moment that you wake up one morning to discover the Internet has disappeared. Would this be doomsday for us all?

What if  you woke up to an unexpected Internet breakdown? With no Google Maps to find your way in a strange city? With a credit card unable to pay for your lunch? You could argue that this kind of “digital detox” would be beneficial.

We’d take our eyes off screens and strike up real-life conversations with each other. We’d discover that our smartphones can actually make phone calls. We’d bring back fax machines, and start making notes by hand.

The world wouldn’t fall apart. In fact, with almost 4 billion people having no access to the Internet worldwide, half of the humanity wouldn’t notice a difference – in the short-term… But not you, mighty Internet user. You would notice right away!

If the Internet suddenly flatlined, social media users would start calling each other on the phone, overloading working telecommunication systems…

Unless cell phone towers and telephone lines were also shut down. Then you’d go back to writing letters and sending them via post. Forget about wireless file transfers. With no WiFi, you’d have to use a physical cable to connect two computers. Or a CD.

It’s a pretty simple concept that, in the Internet age, has almost become a form of exercise for some people. In 1991 the World Wide Web was officially branded (that ‘www’ in web addresses had to come from somewhere). The following year, people began popularizing web-speak with phrases like “surfing the Internet.”