It’s hard to believe that it was only ten years ago when we were being warned that the turn of a new century could cause widespread inconvenience/ problems/ terror/ panic/ destruction/ death/ world cataclysm/ total annihilation of civilization.
This was all because to save memory programmers in the 1960’s referred to the date by the last two digits of a year instead of all four. So the thinking was that when 00 comes up for the year 2000, computers might view it as 1900 instead of 2000.
This “Y2K bug,” as it was called, could cause major problems in computer systems worldwide, even our own personal computers. Any part of our world that was computerized (and that was pretty much every part of our world) was in danger of massive FAIL.
Estimates of dealing with the bug worldwide were between $300 billion and $600 billion (and that probably didn’t even include taxes, tips, fees, gratuities, surcharges, and dealer prep).
We were told that water, electricity, and communications systems could shut down. Government departments and corporations could be brought to a standstill. Airplanes could fall out of the skies.
We were told that our 1990’s era PC's would think it was 1900 and we would lose our data unless we bought a new computer or paid to have our old one made Y2K compliant. Computer stores and “consultants” made a lot of money.
Our toasters were safe because they didn’t know what year it was anyway.
In the days leading up to 2000, supermarkets shelves were stripped of bottled water and toilet paper. People were checking out with baskets piled high with canned foods. People were buying generators and guns. No one wanted to fly.
When January 1, 2000 came, we had water, electricity, radio, TV, telephone and when I booted up my (non-compliant) computer it said January 1, 2000. The world went on as before.
Those of us who have lived through bomb shelter marketing, dire prediction in the 1970’s about the Coming Ice Age, a forecast of Nuclear Winter as a result of the Gulf War, not to mention all the various pandemics through the years—we have a problem believing cataclysmic warnings.
Especially when money and power are involved.