Judge Dredd versus The Lockdown
In Dredd, the dystopian movie released in 2012, the fictional character called Judge Dredd has to battle his way out of a building which is...wait for it...in lockdown. Helped by Cassandra Anderson, a rookie law enforcer, he fights hordes of criminals who are tasked with killing both of them. Despite his vast experience and stone-cold determination, Dredd's mission becomes incredibly difficult since the lockdown breaks the communication signal between him and the headquarters that can send reinforcements. He can only count on his colleague to succeed in defeating the drug lord that wants the two of them dead. To make matters worse, his ammunition is limited. As futuristic as his gear is, it does not prevent him from running out of bullets. Judge Dredd eventually manages to kill the movie's main villain but at the cost of immense bloodshed.
The communication breakdown between Dredd and his headquarters in a lockdown situation has somehow made me realise how incredibly dependent people have become on the internet and communication devices within the current context. This conclusion will certainly sound very simplistic but that is probably because internet access is taken for granted by the majority of people in Western societies. But just think of this situation: a full lockdown where the internet and mobile networks stop working indefinitely. This could happen for a number of reasons but for the sake of simplicity, let us imagine this scenario: a large solar flare destroys every major satellite that is crucial for the internet to stay active. I took it from this article that was published on the BBC website almost exactly four years ago. The author of the article argues that the effects of an internet stoppage would not be as bad as what most people would except, but this was back when the idea of staying at home to save lives was not even conceivable for the majority of us. Simply put, if the internet and mobile networks suddenly stopped in our homes, we could go out and find alternative ways to do whatever we needed to do. But what about now? The fact is that there does not seem to be a contingency plan in the case of a total internet and mobile network breakdown during a full lockdown. There is no equal substitute for the internet. It does not exist because it never had to exist. In fact, the only true substitute, if this word is appropriate, for the internet is travelling. If you cannot do something essential online, moving from one point to another to get it done seems to be the only way out. The distance is irrelevant as long as you have to get out of your home to complete the task that would otherwise need a computer.
And so if the internet were to break down during lockdown, we would all be a bit like Judge Dredd, to varying degrees obviously, trying to navigate through a difficult environment. In this case, this environment would be an unconnected home. I admit that I might be too harsh here...there is another replacement for the internet: books.
My latest novel, Market Dystopia, is available on the following links:
Intro video here