Jimmy Wales jumped on the "screw SOPA" bandwagon this week and led Wikipedia into a 24-hour blackout to protest, causing panic, confusion and general hysteria among the knowledge-seeking population. But ask yourself this: what if Wikipedia never came back online?
It'd be the end of the world as we know it, that's what. The Wikipedia-pocalypse.
Thanks to smartphones and sites like Wikipedia, the gap from not knowing a piece of useless trivia to becoming an internet-powered expert on the subject has shrunk to mere seconds, depending on the speed of your connection.
Before the internet had invaded people's pockets, said knowledge gap might sit in someone's brain for a lifetime before it was filled with the right answers.
Take quick access to knowledge away from people and you've got instant chaos. For example, doing a search for "WTF Wikipedia" on Twitter when the site first blacked itself out just went to show how many school kids rely on it to copy/paste their homework.
Wikipedia came back up at 4pm AEDST yesterday looking no worse for wear, but what if something had gone wrong? What if the switch was locked to "Off" and we never saw the site again?
No longer would people find the answers to stupid questions their mates asked in the pub. People would go without answers for sometimes their whole lives. Wikipedia vandals would be left with little to do but burn down buildings and loot their contents, London riot-style. Kids wouldn't learn anything and the famous Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V combo would automatically seem less relevant to getting things done.
The very fabric of Western society would fall to pieces, all because Jimmy Wales got on his soapbox. Or is that SOPA-box? I can't tell anymore.
Watch the video to see a vision of the world without Wikipedia.