From banks to hospitals to the systems that keep the juice flowing to our homes, we are almost entirely dependent on tech. We look at the effect of the five worst 'tech doomsday' scenarios, such as the entire net collapsing, would have on our lives.
How long to recover: Unknown. According to a January 2009 report by the US National Academy of Sciences, the effects of a severe geomagnetic storm would be felt for years, most acutely in societies that are the most dependent on technology.
"It will take a tremendous amount of manpower to clean up the mess," adds Siciliano.
"Something that catastrophic, the petrol pumps won't be operating, so a guy who's supposed to take a part to repair a facility can't get there because he has no petrol. It could literally throw us back to 1840. Suddenly we're a third-world country again."
How likely is this to occur: Lord only knows. But consider this, says Irv Schlanger, an assistant professor in Drexel University's Computing and Security Technology program.
"We are all familiar with the 11-year solar flare cycle," says Schlanger.
"What most people are not aware of is the 110-year solar flare cycle. The 110-year cycle is massive when compared to the 11-year cycle. The affects of the 110-year cycle would be very similar to that of a nuclear EMP. We are currently due for the 110-year solar flare."
How to avoid this fate: Silent prayer to the deity of your choice.
"Man-made terrorist activity is bad, but as we've seen lately, Mother Nature is worse," says Siciliano.
"She doesn't give a damn about you or me."
- We look at the likelihood of these doomsday scenarios
- Britain goes dark
- What could happen
- Wall Street gets e-bombed
- How long would it take Wall Street to recover?
- Google is gone
- What could happen if Google goes down
- The net goes down
- What effect would the net going down have on us?
- God strikes back
- Could we recover from an act of God?