The Y2k Debate: The Results

Well there you have it. That is the problem from two perspectives. Now let's look at the fallout. How is the Y2k issue likely to affect our lives? In short, it's not likely to cause our deaths. Don't get me wrong, if left unattended there is a distinct possibility that lives could be put at risk here given mankind's almost complete dependence on logic systems. Still, where lives are at risk the problems are being looked at. Should you grab your bible? If it makes you feel better, certainly. I would point out however that this problem was created by man, not the Creator. It has long been said that 'God helps those who helps themselves' and for good reason. Man will get us out of this one as well.

Will it cause significant disruption to our lives? In some places around the world that is a possibility, even a probability. If you are reading this in Australia or USA, I wouldn't worry too much. Both our fair lands are leading the rest of the world in the hunt for and eradication of the bug. Here it will be the little things that get us. Sporadic failures of systems that make our lives convenient. Some EFTPOS systems may fail temporarily, the odd invoicing or order tracking system may fail, meaning that our favourite magazine never arrives at the newsagent. Fuel may be in short supply because everyone has bought up big as a contingency plan.

What about money? It is an interesting point that the biggest financial impact around this time will not be Y2k itself, but the contingency plans we enact for this period. There will be large cash withdrawals happening in Dec 1999 as people prepare for the possibility of ATMs going down. The Australian and American Reserve Banks are already preparing to mint extra cash to cover this. (These days most of the quantity of currency for a nation is stored electronically, so this won't result in inflation. There would theoretically be an electronic to cash transfer.)

Finally, what about you? What should you do? Before you switch off your computer to go stock that hidden bunker out the back of nowhere with ammunition, let's take a look at something. Everyone in the IT industry has heard of the Gartner Group. They are one of the world's most respected IT think tanks and they provide advice to large business on how to implement and maintain information systems. They also provide risk analyses and other critical advice, basically everything a growing company needs. For the first time that I know of, they have prepared a document, aimed not at large business, but at the individual. This is not even aimed at technical people or business people but the average person on the street. This document is a risk assessment of the impact of Y2k on your daily life and what you can do to cover yourself. If you want to know what they say, then see for yourself.

So what am I going to do? I will have some extra cash in my pocket, a box of candles and matches in the house, some water stored in bottles and a full tank of petrol in the car. Given my vocation, I will probably be at work, waiting to see if I have done my job well or not. The rollover will keep me busy for a few days, so spare me a thought as you break open some of that bubbly on Midnight, 31 Dec 1999.

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