In November, seventeen years ago, the world was facing an unavoidable change in the coming January. No one knew what the impact would be, only that a big change was coming. Would factories shut down? Transportation systems stall causing huge economic disruption? Massive power outages affecting hospitals, food, traffic and all modern life? Missiles start launching and the end of everything? All of these seemed very possible and no one could really predict what was to come.
It was late 1999, and the millennium was coming to a close – Y2K was here.
Computer systems all around the world had been programmed to store only two characters to represent the year. 1999 was “99” and 2000 would be “00”. Any computerized system that contained algorithms based on the time and date would cease to function correctly, and such systems were embedded everywhere.
When January finally came around and Y2K was “inaugurated”, we all held our breath. And then…
Nothing happened. The experts and doomers completely whiffed. Life went on. As Emily Litella used to say,
Fingers crossed, y’all. Fingers crossed.