Examining life without the Internet
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.