General Question

Bluefreedom's avatar

If another country were to attack the United States with something like EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) bombs and they effectively rendered most computers, automobiles, and computer assisted devices useless, would it spell complete doom for the country?

Asked by Bluefreedom (22947points) December 20th, 2008

There’s the thought that if this scenario every played out, we’d supposedly be ‘back in the dark ages’ because we’re so reliant on technology and computers. Do you think this is basically true or could we start over again and how long would it take to get ‘back online’ or ‘reboot’ the country, so to speak?

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28 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I would actually love to see this happen. It isn’t going back to the “dark ages.” It is going back to 1940.

queenzboulevard's avatar

Exactly why I already learned how to wield a longsword and shield

Blobman's avatar

Yes. I think that for a lot of us we would go back to the “dark ages”

sacaver's avatar

That’s why I’ve kept a UNIVAC in the basement, just for this sort of thing.

goober's avatar

Yip,it’s over.

Judi's avatar

It would be worse than the dark ages. They had the skills to survive in a pre industrial society. I’m afraid I wouldn’t know the first thing about killing a deer or foraging in the winter, or even building a fire to bake bread.
It would be like handing someone from the dark ages a computer and telling them that it was the only way to purchase items but not even telling them how to turn it on. I’m afraid we have spoiled ourselves and would have a really hard time if we were actually thrown back into a time without modern convenience.

vanelokz's avatar

wow can you imagine what would happen. And how long it’s going to take most people to find out whts going on. I figure there’d b complete chaos and panic.
I honestly don’t think the majority of city people would know how to handle that situation, and would freak out

bluemukaki's avatar

No, at least all military equipment is designed to avoid EMPs so you could just nuke the bastards that did it and get back to work when the next shipment of stuff came in from China. Unless they did it. Bastards!

SuperMouse's avatar

I wouldn’t worry too much because there would be super human creations from this place called Manticore who would kick major ass and help the world get back on its feet. I know because I saw it play out on Dark Angel.

But if it did happen in real life, would it render all of our nuclear weapons useless? Aren’t they all computer controlled?

queenzboulevard's avatar

Which of us is going to write the screenplay for this?

bluemukaki's avatar

I’m already 20,000 words into it.

@Supermouse: The nukes and their control mechanisms are made to withstand EMPs. Or so they say.

Siren's avatar

No, we’d all be in great shape from walking everywhere and not sitting on the couch, cultivating our own crops, etc. and healthcare costs would probably go down. People may even start reading more books (gasp) and become more intelligent and conversant.

Once technology kicked back in, we’d go back to our usual malaise of the elite.

Judi's avatar

Isn’t the TV show Jericho similar to this?

jessturtle23's avatar

I would move back to Mississippi. It’s already like that where I use to live in some places.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Theres still enough hill billies with ammo bunkers packed full for it to be our doom. And the military still teaches basic land navigation and cooridnation tactics with just a compas and maps. I suppose if we couldnt return the favor and knock out their advanced equipement it would be a lost cause. but if it was an even playing field we would be alright.

asmonet's avatar

So, exactly how many times have you watched The Matrix?

augustlan's avatar

As long as my husband was around, I’d survive. He knows how to hunt and build fires, what plants are edible etc…If we were separated, I wouldn’t last a minute!

asmonet's avatar

I’ve planned out and assembled a Zombie Survival Kit. I have maps of the US, my state in particular, Canada and Mexico. A first aid kit, water purification tablets, and routes planned to every Walmart, Kmart, and Target in the area. And you know, a bunch of other stuff.

I made it as a joke with a few friends and kept it cause, hey, I live right near DC if the shit hits the fan in a nuclear way, I’m dipping out. It’s pretty useful for every other emergency anyway so why not keep it?

Plus, it’s always fun when someone comes over and sees a duffel bag with a picture of a brain taped to it. Interesting conversations always follow.

Friend: What the fuck is that?
Me: ...I don’t ask questions about your day job.

aidje's avatar

I’m perplexed. How would we get books without Amazon?

Siren's avatar

Well…(clearing throat)…hopefully some people would still have some and of course there would still be libraries around, and bookstores, even if there is chaos. I’m sure there would be people trading books, etc. and lots of venues created where people would congregate to meet and talk, discuss topics and books, debate, etc. (get out of the house).

tessa's avatar

Interesting question. You should check out - it was a 6 week online wiki style game which is now being played out on it's own. The premise, is 2019, the world is falling apart, how do we fix it? There are 5 'superthreats' one of which is called Planet Outlaw and deals with major computer hackers and breaking down our computerized system. Very interesting. Not the same as an EMP, but similar premise. In the game you can see how people all over the world think they should deal with it. It was created by Institute for the Future, if you have any questions about it, shoot me an email (I worked on it).

Truefire's avatar

Actually, we do have a backup[ analog system. Hackers would be worse though – almost always unidentified. Also, an EMS pulse that large is impossible.

Zaku's avatar

Here is a site with some information about this.

@Truefire: Various sources suggest EM pulses from high thermonuclear detonations are large enough that it would only take a few to affect all of North America.

Lupin's avatar

I guess this is one of the advantages of living in a rural community. We don’t have town water, sewers, street lights, sidewalks, or nautral gas lines. We heat with wood and use an antenna for our TV. How would we even know if there was a disaster out there?
Oh, the back up, gasoline fueled generator would kick on and that would wake us up. That reminds me… better stop by the Gas ‘n Ammo shop down the road and stock up.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@asmonet i think you’re my hero.
like, maybe literally. because i’m not prepared for a zombie attack, and i’d hope that you would be so gracious to lend a hand here, since you’re obviously way more knowledgeable in an apocalyptic situation like that.

Zaku's avatar

@Lupin – Strong EMP would tend to take out your TV, toaster, automobiles, anything electrical.

oratio's avatar

@asmonet My God! You rock. Can I marry you, or something?

philosopher's avatar

I just pointed this problem out on another question.
The hackers from Russia and China are already breaking into our government information systems. They are stealing from our business and wealthy Americans. We should be doing more to prevent this.
I am sure the barbaric immoral terrorist are calculating this approach too. It is naive not to think so.
Did China cause the 2001 Black Out to test their ability to harm America ?

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