Y2k 8 Essay, Research Paper
Individuals who feel that their families should prepare for Y2K can or could be caught in an awkward position. Even though we are really adults we are still for the most part totally dependent on our parents financially. Getting my parents to prepare for Y2K won’t be an easy task. I, for one, know that my dad firmly believes that Y2K is just being blowed up into something greater than it actually will be. In my opinion Y2K won’t affect all aspects of every day life, but will probably affect the lower class banking systems and corporations which are using computers that are running outdated software. The so-called “Millennium Bug” or Y2K problem (y stands for “year,” and 2K is 2000 in computer parlance) has arisen because most computer programs store the year as a two digit code.
Correcting the old software will only be part of the problem. There are also billions of chips that are embedded in cars, video recorders, telephone systems, power stations, oil pipelines, train tracking systems, chemical plants, nuclear tipped missiles, elevators, medical equipment, and satellites. According to recent research done probably five percent or these will be date sensitive. For these items there is no way to re-program them. They can not be re-programmed because they are hard wired, making re-wiring them a difficult and expensive task. On the other hand these products can not be replaced easily.
Corporations and government agencies have been working around the clock re-programming the date codes in computer software. But even this task is much more difficult than people could imagine it being. Most experts agree that even in Europe and the USA, where the most attention is being paid to the Y2K problem, many systems will not be ready for January 1, 2000. Japan, with economic problems of its own, has not given the problem much attention. Other Asian countries and most developing nations have hardly even touched the problem.
When the computer’s clock changes to January 1, 2000 they will see the date move from 99 to 00. If the computer interprets 00 as 1900, as many of the older systems will, a person born in 1946 will be considered minus 46 years old, and food with a sell-by-date of 2001 will be 99 years passed its time. Y2K could also affect air traffic control and navigation centers. They are both heavily dependent on computers for their operating systems. Some airlines are planning not to fly until they see what problems are going to happen. Why would they want to risk it anyway?
Imagine if a significant proportion of these events I have mentioned about happen. Just think about the phone networks going down, air traffic control systems going down, electrical networks and power plants going down, railways going down, manufacturing stops to a halt, supermarkets run out of food, government computer systems go down, military systems go down, banks go down (along with ATM machines), international finance goes down, and the stock market crashes. If any of these events happen, or if just even one happens the recovery time for the problems which occur could cover be a long period of time.