On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

April 22, 1999 Permalink

Imagine a few months back. Imagine you are a Kosovar. You know what the Serbs did to muslims in Bosnia, you can see the obvious signs that it is going to happen again. Question: what do you do? Answer: you do nothing. You wait, hope for the best, and then either get massacred or driven out of the country.

This is how people always react, it seems to me. History shows that human beings just aren’t very good at reacting to these kinds of threats, given it happens again and again. The Jews in the Holocaust is another example. How many saw what was coming and then took action? Precious few. It appears to be human nature to deny these kinds of threats.

Y2K is like this. We can see it coming. But how many will protect themselves? I bet the same percentage as the Kosovars or the WW2 Jews - that is, very few.

Another parallel. Our government and NATO obviously got more than they bargained for in Kosovo. We thought we had it all gamed out and weren’t expecting 2M refuges and dead. We weren’t expecting this brutality.

Well, Y2K is like that, too. Can our government really understand the risks? And if it doesn’t, can it help us if things get ... brutal?

Just some thoughts. Might be worth discussing with the DGIs.

—nut1, Time Bomb 2000 Forums (LUSENET), 04/22/99

We think of our world as orderly. It is never far from a breakdown. That is y2k’s biggest threat.

We think of the world of computer code as orderly. It is months away from a terrible disorder.

Ellen Ullman’s article in Wired (April) went into detail about the potential disorder that will result when y2k arrives. This will astound millions of people who have assumed thast their orderly world will forever be sustained by ortderly computer code.

The disorder was always there. It will always be there. What makes y2k unique is the simultaneity of this particular disorder and its systemic nature. It is everywhere.

Very important is her observation about the narrow focus of programmers. That her example of this phenomenon is a programmer with the Federal Reserve System is appropriate. Programmers do not see beyond their cubicles. We think of Dilbert’s boss as an idiot, but to allow the Dilberts of the world to run it would be to commit suicide.

Unfortunately, this is what we have done.

—Gary North, garynorth.com, 04/22/99

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