Just like your internet can disappear
- The Internet is an uncertain, climate change not ready for the future
- This is our outage
- Not so smart
- We can't lose it
- The guards
The Internet is not ready for the future of an uncertain, climate change.
This is our outage
However, when the distraction comes home, and I literally come home, it hits us differently, reminding us that what we receive can go digital in the blink of an eye.
After 95 degree-plus temps for the past week or so, I have been relieved to see the trend of lightning on the horizon. Of course, I got more than my bargaining as the clouds began to cut lazy circles over my house and the sky turned into a beautiful pale shade of green. We avoided a tornado, but the wind, rain and lightning were intense. Naturally, the family hunted while sitting at home and spread out in two rooms to watch Netflix.
An hour or so later the sky flashed again, although the show was icy on two TV sets even though my energy was intact. We gathered in the living room and started the journey and started checking our phones for news of storms and possible power outages. When we noticed that our W-Fight was also down. Even our LTE connections (never great for getting started, thanks to Verizon), were void, falling below the 3G level. None of us could go online. We later learned that a huge portion of Altis One customers were similarly affected.
Not so smart
I realized that now all of our smart devices, including our nest cams, smart lights, smart speakers, and Internet-connected sprinklers, are floating helplessly in a disconnected abyss. A band of orange lights chased after the Amazon Echo Fire TV cube as if it alone could find our lost internet.
At a loss, I tried to switch on the TV regularly, but the fiber optic system also crashed.
We had nothing.
My wife picked up her phone once more and mentioned, "It's one hundred percent charged and one hundred percent useless."
Isolated from the world of information, we finally return to our home to play offline games and read our Kindles.
We can't lose it
Losing a connection like this reminded me of how much we depend on our devices and the Internet. Obviously, we are not alone. A 2018 Pew research study found that 39 percent of 18-29 (my kids ages) go online regularly. Kids ages 30-49 are no better off, with 3 percent admitting they're always online. In my age bracket (over 50) it dropped to 17 percent.
These numbers seem almost half as accurate to me. I mean, take a good look around people look online at work, while traveling, at home, in bed; Some people may even try to do this while sleeping.
It seems to me that even after so much we still take a rather equestrian attitude towards our internet infrastructural health and safety.
It's not that people aren't paying attention. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other federal agencies monitor cyber security, but mostly from an attack prevention perspective. Yet, there are other reasons, including threats to everyone's access to our digital lifeblood.
For example, our passion for goosebumps power has probably put the Internet at risk, and the storm I faced may be seen as an unusual or even more worrying trend.
According to Global Change.gov, we are experiencing climate change mainly through increasingly extreme weather events. These include more heat waves, droughts and, yes, heavy rainfall. "Since 1991, the amount of rainfall has increased significantly compared to the average due to heavy rainfall," the report said.
Sometimes big storm events like Hurricane Sandy are national news events, especially when they use the power of a few thousand people. But I think there could be many more small incidents in the future that would be beyond the reach of all except those directly affected by them.
Tonight, we have not lost energy, but much more valuable: our connection to the outside world. I just wonder how ready we (and our local internet infrastructure) are for an unpredictable future.