Ex­am­in­ing life with­out the In­ter­net

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG YING in Shang­hai


A show doc­u­ment­ing the lives of in­di­vid­u­als tak­ing part in an ex­per­i­ment about how in­te­gral the In­ter­net is in ev­ery­day life is cur­rently in its post-pro­duc­tion phase and will be aired on­line on July 5. Film­ing was done be­tween June 14 and June 16.

Par­tic­i­pants of the show ranged from those born in the 1960s to those born in the 2000s. There were two groups of peo­ple in the 72-hour ex­per­i­ment — one where par­tic­i­pants could only make phone calls or send short mes­sages via their phones and another where mem­bers could only com­mu­ni­cate with the out­side world us­ing the In­ter­net via their mo­bile phones.

Ac­cord­ing to Lu Lei, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Shang­hai In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion, the two groups of peo­ple were as­signed spe­cial tasks that they had to carry out, such as find­ing a restau­rant.

“This ex­per­i­ment is also a trib­ute to a sim­i­lar three-day sur­vival test that took place in 1999 when 12 par­tic­i­pants from Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Guangzhou lived in sep­a­rate ho­tel rooms and had to buy food and daily ne­ces­si­ties us­ing only the In­ter­net,” said Lu.

The 1999 ex­per­i­ment was or­ga­nized by 10 Chi­nese me­dia agen­cies and guided by a divi­sion un­der the for­mer en­tity of Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. It re­ceived a to­tal of 5,068 ap­pli­ca­tions, with more than half of them com­ing from Shang­hai.

In this ex­per­i­ment, par­tic­i­pants were left in a room with just a roll of toi­let pa­per, a bed, 1,500 yuan ($227.7) in cash and 1,500 yuan worth of elec­tronic cur­ren­cies. The only con­nec­tion they had with the out­side world was a com­puter with a dial-up In­ter­net con­nec­tion.

“It is worth men­tion­ing that the sur­vival test 17 years ago was held at the be­gin­ning of In­ter­net boom, when there was no Taobao or on­line shop­ping or ser­vice apps as we have now. As a mat­ter of fact, the only food they could or­der on­line then was from the Chi­nese fast food fran­chise Yon Ho,” said Lu.

Ac­cord­ing to the China In­ter­net Net­work In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter data, there were 668 mil­lion peo­ple in China with In­ter­net ac­cess as of June 2015.

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