"Nobody knows what will happen"

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The majority of predictions regarding the effects of Y2K state that "nobody knows what will happen." Given what has been made public so far on many websites, forums, SEC filings, etc. it is obvious that something severe will probably occur.

Consider that Fed Chairman Greenspan said: "99% is not good enough." Consider the immensity of the remediation efforts required in such a short time frame by almost every company, government on earth. Consider that computerization controls almost all of our activities. Consider that ...

At this point in time, can we NOT already be certain that the Y2K bug overall impact on society will be at least a __ on severity scale of 0 - 10?

-- fly . (.@...), December 09, 1998


Not sure the Divine knows either. Probably off the chart. It's all a work in process. Choices, choices.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 09, 1998.


After all I've read in the past few weeks, the news is getting bleaker with each passing day. (Movie: The Postman: "Stuff is getting worse, stuff is getting worse everyday")

I've upped my ante from a 5 to a 8, which of course means 10.

-- Okum (ws000@aol.com), December 09, 1998.

Fly: Yes, I think we can be certain there will be at least some major problems all over the world. I think of Y2K as a billion piece jigsaw puzzle with no edges and half the pieces missing. The picture on the box is what our world looks like today. Just too many variables and unknowns. We don't even know what we don't know!

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), December 09, 1998.

Yes, nobody KNOWS what's gonna happen....that's just the nature of knowledge. Don't you know that there's a terminal in front of you, or that the sun will rise tommorrow? Maybe not with 100% certainty, but at least according to our best standards and practises for working out what's true and what ain't, well yeah, you do know those things. And by similar standars, I find it easy to say that I know that due to y2k Asia's economy will be far more stuffed than it is today, that the stockmarket and the real economy worldwide will be drastically effected by the tidal wave of glitches, I know that the infrastructure which keeps urbaners alive is under serious, multiple threat. I could go on, we all could, about what we know on this topic. What will be the end result of the y2k thing....???? Knowledge of the future is dodgy at the best of the times...more so with such a complicated scenrio. It's best to cover all bases.

-- humptydumpty (123@123.com), December 10, 1998.

I think the main problem for any sort of prediction is the lack of firm information of the y2k effect on the power supply and other utilities.

Assuming there is no (prolonged) interruption to services I would predict that the economy will contract by 5% due to business terminations. Some of this 5% will be taken up by compliant companies. There will be much interruption to computer system operations especially in large organisations who should be prepared for disaster recovery, non-compliant incoming data etc. They should double check major output (eg billing statements/renewals), be prepared to budget additional system support for weeks or however long it takes to stabilise. All companies should be prepared to apply work-arounds for failing systems.

The effect of non-compliant government systems I believe will be manifested by even more delays in dealing with tax forms, applications, or whatever it is they normally do (haven't quite worked it out).

I think overall there will be a (worsening) recession with recovery taking 2-3 years, to get back to where we are now. Some major names may have disappeared from the economic landscape.

-- Richard Dale (rdale@figroup.co.uk), December 10, 1998.

If you've ever been out hillwalking you'll know what a scree slope is. It's a hillside covered in bits of broken rock accumulated over the ages, with a uniform slope typically between 45 and 60 degrees. There's solid rock underneath, but heaven knows how far down. Do you know why it's a generally bad idea to try to traverse one?

Usually, you get away with it. (It's hard going because those rocks keep sliding out from under your feet)

Less often you wind up with a broken ankle or leg for the same reason.

Still less often you start enough of a rockslide to get buried in rock. Maybe a friend can dig you out before you die, maybe not.

And extremely rarely, you start a really big landslide that ends up with everything at the floor of the valley buried under hundreds of meters of rocks.

Can you tell in advance what'll happen?

Y2K is like this, except that we don't have the option of turning around and finding some other route.

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), December 10, 1998.

Good analogy Nigel.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 10, 1998.

Chairman Greenspan's comment that "99% is not good enough" is based on one assumption that I believe to be false, namely that systems work to a level of 100% correctness now. There are not many such systems around now, and Y2K fixes aren't going to improve on that one iota.

The more correct statement (although this too is highly argueable) is that "99% of existing correct operation is not good enough."

-- Paul Neuhardt (neuhardt@ultranet.com), December 10, 1998.

Paul, my interpretation of Greenspan's comment was that 99% Y2K compliance would not be good enough due to the danger that a non- compliant 1% would contaminate the otherwise compliant 99%. Note that this is unprecedented, and so merely declaring that existing systems are not 100% correct is not really material.

The other consideration, unique to Y2K, is that the problems will occur suddenly, everywhere, simultaneously. Merely looking at what percentage of systems are fixed does not address this humongous problem.

-- Jack (jsprat@eld.net), December 10, 1998.

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