BBC Future

Future Thinking

Does the internet need a backup system?

The internet connects billions of people and keeps our societies together – a job it wasn’t designed for. Technologist Danny Hillis says we must know what to do if the worst happens and it breaks.

The internet controls many aspects of our lives in this connected world. But it is a fragile thing – and there is the very real possibility that at least a part of it could break.

The chaos that would erupt if the internet went down means we have to come up with an alternative, says technologist and inventor Danny Hillis. But the problem is we don’t know the consequences because we are using the internet in ways we did not initially envisage.

He says that the internet has grown so quickly that we can only guess how many people are using it – and, just like an economy, the number of interactions has made it too complicated to predict. But he says we need to understand that a simpler back-up system is crucial.

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