Y2k Hope Or Hype Essay, Research Paper
Y2k: Hype or Hope?
You wake up in the morning of January 1, 2000, and you look at your alarm clock, the infamous flashing 12:00. Why didn t it go off? There was no storm last night, no power outages. The world s biggest problem has just begun, the millennium bug has spread across the globe. You try to call your friends, no dial tone. Could this Twilight Zone episode be happening? Possibly, but we don t know for sure. Could the predictions of the year 2000 be true or a lot of scare tactics for the public? There are quite a few issues to deal with in this world wide dilemma.
Most people don t know the reason behind the Y2k bug. Most people will say, This won t happen, they have it all under control. Even if it doesn t, you better be aware of it. Everyone around the world is computer dependent, no matter how you look at it. First, let s look at the problem. Back in the 60 s and 70 s when computers were being born they were very expensive, and in order to save memory costs, we designed computer codes to read only two digits instead of four. The computer reads dates as MM/DD/YY, so for the date March 8, 1999, the computer would read it as, 03/08/99. What will happen if we input Jan. 1, 2000? Will 01/01/00 appear as Jan. 1, 1900 or Jan. 1, 2000? The computers don t know. The problem is that the computers could possibly date us back 100 years.
Everything in our world, from phone companies to the grocery store, is computerized. If this takes affect, we will have problems accessing food, money, and getting in touch with family and friends. Many companies, including the government, are making an effort, but there are still millions of code to analyze and fix. It is estimated that $600 Billion (US) is needed to fix this worldwide problem.
The so-called doomsayers say that we will fall into global recession and have a recall of another depression as in the 30 s era. Stock markets might fall because you don t know what companies are exactly ready for Y2k. ATM s, banks, and your employer may not be able to transact money because of this. One suggestion is to keep some cash handy in case this ever occurs. As mentioned earlier, grocery stores rely on computers to deliver goods, take inventory, and even to scan for pricing. How is the supermarket going to keep their food stocked? How are you going to buy the food in the first place?
They are also claiming that there will be riots, looting, and world wide power outages. They think that it is the end for civilization as we know it. They say ATMs will spit money onto the streets, home appliances will go crazy, and telephones will be unusable. Planes and trains will collide into each other, gas pumps won t work, or the cars computer will malfunction so we can t go anywhere. Could they be right, could we be going back to the stone age?
What is the government doing about this? They are working very hard to get prepared for the new millenium, but are they ready? One of the lagging branches is Social Security which keeps track of everyone in the our country. Next is the military, nuclear reactors, and air transport systems. The Department of Defense reported that only 72 percent of its mission-critical systems are ready. Also, what about the nations linked up to us? They are also in jeopardy because many are far behind.
Another lagging industry is hospitals and health care. A report from a special Senate committee stated, The health care industry is one of the worst-prepared for Y2K and carries a significant potential for harm. The industry crucially relies on computers for patient treatment, insurance claims, and pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution.
A considerable amount of people believe the doomsayers, meaning, The end of the world is near, implicating that we will be back to stones and sticks. On the flip side, some people are ignoring the problem thinking that it will just go away. The special Senate committee claims, one of the most serious and potentially devastating events this nation has ever encountered the Year 2000 computer program It deserves our top priority. Meaning don t ignore it because it s not going away.
Tom Oleson, a research director at IDC, stated that Y2K is a date-coding problem. Implying, the role that dates play in a business is critical to whether or not the problem will exist. Going to the problem of electrical companies, date-coding plays only a minor part in the production of electricity, but it plays a major part in the metering of electricity usage.
The Senate concluded that local power blackouts will be likely, but national power breakdown is not. If they do happen it will only be for about a week, but in major metropolitan areas they shouldn t be more than 48 hours. About 95 percent of telephone systems are ready for Y2K, but no reliable data exists on readiness to test data networks, cellular or satellite communications systems, or 1,400 regional carriers.
How do we get prepared? Doomsayers say stockpile gallons of water and canned foods in your storage. Get flashlights and candles for the house. And if worst comes to worst, get a gun for protection. The Senate claims that the problems will only last for about a few weeks, and then we should be back in our happy little lives. ATMs may go down for a day, credit cards may have to be hand processed, and we may have to pay in cash, the stock market may plummet and close, and then rise the next day.
The doomsayers are even trying to make a little cash on the Y2K dilemma with their Y2K solution books and videos. Some videos are selling from $300 to $800 dollars to help people get prepared. It is a sales tactic. They scare everybody, tell them that the world is going to end, then sell an alleged solution to prevent that from happening, said Jim Balderston, industry analyst at Zona Research Inc. in Redwood City.
Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best, is one way to describe this terrible crisis. If everyone gets prepared for Armageddon and nothing happens, what did you lose? Don t shake this problem off, it can t be post-poned, it even set a date for us. Even though we don t know what exactly will happen when the double zeros will strike, but something will. It will definitely be a milestone on this great earth s history, an occurrence unforgettable. We need all of the passive people to be aware of this fact and let them get prepared for the biggest event ever to determine our civilization s outcome. It may or may not be drastic, but being prepared for the worst is the key. You can t call the exterminator when this millenium bug comes crawling in.