Infomagic: An oldie but a ......... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I realize that this is from an old WRP but it is very germane as we approch the roll over and all of the recent news that we may not be as ready for Y2K as the government claims....... Enjoy the read: _____________________________________________
The De-evolutionalry spiral

News/Current Events Opinion (Published) Keywords: Y2K
Source: Cory Hamasaki Newsletter
Published: Recently Author: Infomagic
Posted on 08/23/1999 13:08:57 PDT by Trident/Delta

Who is Infomagic? --

No one knows but based on his comments on computers, large systems, and programming, Infomagic has substantive, serious expertise. In addition, there are multiple dimensions to his experience set.

While this is not a formal proof of correctness for his dark projections, Infomagic has a strong technical basis upon which to build. Please, take the time to consider the following offering.


In the first article of this series I predicted that the failure of even a small number of our computer systems, combined with fundamental problems already existing in the global economy, will lead to the total collapse of civilization as we know it. I would now like to expand on that and show you that collapse is probable even in an unreasonably optimistic best case scenario in which all of the systems are fixed before 2000. In any of the more realistic scenarios this collapse is absolutely certain. I would also like to explain just how devastating that collapse will be and to show that recovery in our lifetimes is an extremely unlikely outcome. We must prepare for a dark period of several generations during which much of our technology and knowledge will be lost and after which there may be a slow recovery by our descendants. Such preparations are the subject matter of this series of articles. However, we must also prepare ourselves for the very real possibility that the outcome of this situation might well be the total extinction of the entire human race. It really could be worse than I am predicting and I really am being optimistic.

First, I would like to assure you that I am not some kind of nut anxiously waiting for the end of the world. I am a professional computer consultant with 30 years of extensive, hard won experience in many different areas of information technology. I have programmed at the lowest machine code level on everything from small embedded systems all the way up to the largest mainframes. I have co-invented computer hardware and developed novel solutions to very complex problems. I have designed and implemented very large scale business computer systems and I have planned and managed the creation and growth of entire mainframe data centers. I have also worked at a senior level in some of the best consulting organizations in the world. In short, I am a super geek, with an extensive real world and management background beyond the art of computing itself.

I have been aware of the Y2K problem for at least 20 years, and actively working on it for about three. Until the beginnning of 1998 I believed that the problem could still be mostly fixed and I have always been skeptical of the wilder claims of potential Y2K failures. For example, as an airline and instructor rated pilot (my secondary career), I don't believe that airplanes will fall out of the sky. However, I am quite certain that many, if not most, large commercial aircraft will indeed be grounded -- by shortages (and higher prices) of fuel, by crippled Air Traffic Control systems and by the lack of sufficient general economic activity to justify their continued operation. Unlike the bulls and pollyannas, I am not fixated on the success or failure of individual systems. I have the capacity to see the larger picture and I am far more concerned with the total failure of Charlotte's Web itself -- that system-of-systems which forms the backbone of modern civilization.

I freely admit that many of my colleagues disagree with my conclusions and believe that Y2K will be nothing more than a "bump in the road". The problem is that, speaking as an expert, I have never seen any credible evidence to support their general position. Yes, they can point to individual successes, but this does not materially support their overall hypothesis of "no problem" and we (the bears or "doombrood") can point to far more failures, far more known problems, and the abysmal record of our own industry in meeting deadlines and required functional capability. In addition, I must point out that the disaster scenario requires the failure of only a relatively small percentage of our systems (let's say 20%) while the "bump in the road" scenario requires virtually perfect correction of almost all affected systems, all on time and all on budget. For the bulls to be right, we must somehow magically move from a historical on-time project success rate of less than 15% to a success rate for Y2K projects of at least 90 - 95%.

Such a position is clearly irrational. However, for the sake of argument, let us go even further and assume that all affected systems will indeed be fixed before they start to fail. Unfortunately, this would not solve the problem or prevent the disaster. You see, after any major maintenence change to a system (which Y2K most certainly is) there is always a residual rate of failure as a result of the changes themselves, even when the changes are properly "tested". The failures manifest themselves when the system is placed back into the real world of "production", as opposed to the artificial world of "testing". They happen because maintenence programmers customarily test only the immediate effects of their changes. There is neither the time nor the money nor often even the ability to test the entire consequences of a particular change to a system. The residual failures typically arise elsewhere in the system, at some point unrelated to the change itself and completely unanticipated by the programmer.

This last is why residual failures are so hard to identify and correct. Often, we can't even tell for certain whether a particular failure really is the result of a recent system change or not. In turn, this is why a good system administrator would never return two or more systems to "production" at the same time. Not only is the risk of failure almost doubled, but there is also a small chance of both systems failing simultaneously. For Y2K, the problem is greatly compounded by the fact that, essentially, we will be placing all of our corrected systems back into "production" at roughly the same time. We can even calculate the magnitude of the residual failures, to a first approximation.

The actual rate of residual failure depends on a number of factors, but mostly on the size of the system and the scope of the changes. Under average conditions, modest changes to a moderately sized system, the rate would be about 7%. The scope of Y2K changes is, of course, much more extensive than this and many of the systems are extremely large, so the residual failure rate is also likely to be higher. Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, let us again assume an overly optimistic residual failure rate of only 5% for Y2K related changes. But this is only for one system. For a business with multiple systems (which they all have) the chance of a system failure can be computed as:1-(1-f)**n, where "f" is the failure rate and "n" is the number of systems.

An average small business would have perhaps 5 systems so, assuming a residual rate of 5%, they have about a 23% chance of at least one system failure (1-(1-.05)**5 = 0.226). A medium size business would typically have about 25 systems and, therefore, a 72% chance of a failure (1-(1-.05)**25 = 0.723). A large business with 100 or more systems would have a 99% chance of a failure (1-(1-.05)**100 = 0.994). This is EVEN IF ALL OF THE SYSTEMS ARE FIXED! Of course, many of these failures will be relatively easy to fix, but others will require an effort beyond the capabilities of the business and they will not be fixed before the business itself fails (this is particularly true for small and medium businesses using packaged software). In addition, the great majority of these failures will have at least some domino effect on related customers and vendors. To make it even worse, virtually everybody will be facing these problems at about the same time, leading to a chaos in which actually fixing the problems becomes almost impossible. At the very minimum this will lead to an economic disaster, JUST FROM THE ACT OF FIXING THE SYSTEMS THEMSELVES, without even taking into account the effect of the unfixed systems, of embedded systems or of an already declining global economy.

In reality, of course, the situation is much worse than this, and the residual failure rate will be much, much higher. Just how much worse is anybody's guess since we have, as yet, insufficient historical data of actual Y2K failures. One thing I can state, categorically, is that a "bump in the road" is not even on the scale of possibility. As we have seen above, the best case end of the scale really begins with a global economic disaster and even then assumes that all systems are fixed on time and that there are no outside factors such as a global recession. Clearly this, too, is an untenable position.

So, in a realistic best case, how much worse than an "economic disaster" is it going to get? Let's use the same formula but this time with a guesstimate of the rate of critical failures (those likely to lead to a failure of the business itself). As an expert, I personally think that the overall, critical failure rate will be between 10 and 20% but, again, let's be overly optimistic and say that only 1% will fail critically and terminally for the business. Even this means that 5% of small, 22% of medium and 63% of big businesses will, inevitably, cease to exist as a direct result of Y2K system failures. Interestingly, these numbers accurately reflect our intuitive grasp of the increasing dependance on information technology as businesses grow larger. But the exact numbers don't really matter because this is only the first level of failure.

The second stage of failure is the "domino effect", the interrelationships between vendors and their customers. Roughly speaking, each of the big three auto manufacturers has about 50,000 vendors of whom about 10,000 are "critical" to production. On the basis of the above, at only a 1% critical failure rate, at least 500 of the critical vendors (5%) will go out of business, forcing the production line to a halt. If that happens for any extended period of time then most of the other 49,500 vendors are basically out of business. Not that it matters. On the basis of the above, two of the big three (63%) will themselves go out of business because of their own Y2K failures, taking most of their vendors with them. Not that it really matters. 50% of the big three's customers are employed by small businesses, of which 5% will immediately go out of business. Unfortunately, the other 50% of their customers are employed by medium and large businesses of whom, optimistically, (63-22)/2+22 or 42% will also go out of business, removing their former employees from the auto market. Those who still have jobs will also be much less likely to buy and, with this immediate and increasing drop in sales, all of the big three will effectively go out of business -- together with most of their vendors. The same thing will happen in every other segment of the economy as well.

Even with unrealistically optimistic numbers, and without taking either embedded systems or the already poor global economy into account, I think this proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Charlotte's Web will indeed completely collapse, just as I predicted in the previous article. Unfortunately, that is still only the second level of failure.

The third level of failure is something I call a devolutionary spiral -- the unwinding of everything we have built over the last 2,000 years of civilization. It is a continuing, self perpetuating, reduction in global population, economic activity and technical capability. It has many of the characteristics of a deflationary spiral in economics; of the entropy of a closed thermodynamic system; and of the sudden jump to a lower energy level which we see in the decay of many nuclear-physical systems. Historically, it is much like the fall of the Roman Empire, which collapsed under it's own weight far more than from outside factors, and from which "recovery" took over 1,000 years. I don't yet know how to measure the spiral, scientifically, but I do know how to describe it.

The key is something called "carrying capacity", a term from the biological sciences. It defines the maximum population of a given species which a particular habitat can support under a specified set of circumstances. If the maximum population is exceeded, or if the capacity itself is reduced, the inevitable result is always a reduction in the population to a level far lower than the simple difference in population numbers would suggest. As an example, consider the plight of the beautiful Mule Deer of the Kaibab Plateau, close to my home in Northern Arizona. Several years ago, the greenie meanies manipulated a ban on the hunting of Mule Deer in this area. Until then, hunting had been used to control the deer population, with the permitted "harvest" designed to reduce the total number of deer, swollen by springtime breeding and summer plenty, to the maximum number which could be supported through harsher winter conditions. As a result, the year round population of deer was normally at it's theoretical maximum for that particular habitat.

Without hunting, the first snows found the herd 25% larger than the winter carrying capacity. At first, the poor deers just lost weight, competing with each other for a food supply far below that needed to support them all through the winter. As the winter progressed, however, the weaker deer (does, fawns and the old) quite naturally died -- by their pitiful thousands. But, worse than this, even the stronger, dominant males were weakened to the point that they, too, succumbed in higher numbers than usual. By the next spring, the Kaibab deer herd was reduced to less than 50% of the normal, springtime population and there were fewer new fawns. In the fall, there were less dominant males and less healthy does, to take care of building the new population. It took decades to recover to normal levels (and then only with the resumption of controlled hunting).

I am personally sickened by the images of this event, by the triumph of "emotion" over "reason", but that is not the point I wish to make. The point I must make is that we, ourselves, are really not that different from the Kaibab deer herd. We live in a complex, computer dependent, world with a carrying capacity of about 6 billion souls. Take away some of the computer capacity, as little as 10%, and we lose a significant portion of the carrying capacity. Because of the domino effect, if we lose just 10% of our businesses (and even the government expects more) this could easily translate into a loss of one third of the carrying capacity and, thus, 2 billion dead.

But that's just the beginning of the devolutionary spiral. Unlike those Kaibab deer, we human beings are to a large extent responsible for creating our own carrying capacity. Without our complex society there is no way this earth could support or carry 6 billion people. But, conversely, without 6 billion people there is no way we could create such a complex society in the first place. When we lose a significant percentage of the population, which we certainly will, we will also lose an important part of our ability to maintain civilization itself. As a result, we will lose even more of the carrying capacity and even more of the population. Once the spiral starts it feeds on itself and it cannot be stopped by anything we do. It will stop, all by itself, but only when a new equilibrium is reached with a much lower carrying capacity and a much smaller population, with far less economic activity and more limited technology.

It doesn't matter whether you believe me. It doesn't even matter if I am right. Because you are not the only one reading this article. Through the magic of the internet there are thousands, perhaps millions, who are also reading and who do believe. There are millions of others who have found similar opinions elsewhere and who also firmly believe it's really coming, really soon, to a town near them. They believe it is serious enough that they have already decided to withdraw their money from their banks and mutual funds. When that happens en masse, some time next year, our entire economy will collapse. In a sense, the end has already begun and the spiral has already started to unwind.

There is nothing wrong with their decision, even though it will indeed trigger the very collapse they are trying to protect themselves against. The point is that Y2K is real, the global recession is real. Roosevelt was wrong. We really do have something more to fear than fear itself. It makes sense to prepare. It is sheer folly to ignore Y2K and those who do so will be numbered among the dead. The sensible question is not whether to prepare but how to prepare and for what. The remaining articles in this series will cover the how, for the moment I am concerned with the what. I have painted a pretty bleak picture of the total collapse of civilisation itself and the death of billions. Using highly optimistic numbers, I think I have shown that this is not just possible but probable. It makes the most sense to prepare for this worst case scenario. If you prepare for anything less, and I am right, you will not be prepared at all and you, too, will be numbered among the dead.

To drive this point home, I would like you to consider the closest historical precedent I can think of. The Roman Empire also collapsed in upon itself, in much the same way that I am predicting. As it collapsed, the carrying capacity of the empire was reduced and the population did indeed spiral downwards, reaching a low point several hundred years later around 1350. Most of their technology was also lost and their roads, aquaducts, cities and monuments soon fell into disrepair because none of the survivors understood the Roman technology. Even if they had, there weren't enough people nor enough economic activity to justify let alone institute the repairs. Consider this also. After a 1,000 years there were indeed survivors. They just weren't Romans.

Five miles from my boyhood home in England are the ruins of a Roman fort, built in the time of Hadrian to protect the estuary of the largest local river, and the center of trade and commerce in the area. Today it is little more than a few piles of rubble, but legend has it that every year, at midnight on Good Friday evening, the old town comes back to life for just one hour. As a boy I would sneak out and ride my bike to the old fort. More than one dark night I spent there, listening for and almost hearing the ancient sounds, looking for and almost seeing two thousand year old ghosts from a long dead civilization. I wonder what little boy will look for us, if we don't prepare.

(c) 1997, 1998 Cory Hamasaki - I grant permission to distribute and reproduce this newsletter as long as this entire document is reproduced in its entirety. You may optionally quote an individual article but you should include this header down to the tearline or provide a link to the header. I do not grant permission to a commercial publisher to reprint this in print media

Thankyou Cory!

I have been accused of being Infomagic. I can assure you that I am not. I do know the individual quite well however, and I fully agree with all expressed viewpoints. I know that this will just prompt another round of flamethrowing, but 'cest la guerre...

Semper Fi

-- helium (, August 23, 1999



Kindly don't embedd HTML code that takes responses to another forum!


Get it?

YBY2K Sysop

(I was having SUCH a pleasant break!)

-- Diane J. Squire (, August 23, 1999.

On the whole, his logic makes sense, but it is too rigid to suit a fluent situation in which we do not know all of the variables.

For sure I agree that the overpopulation that is supported by our complex systems may well be reduced to a much lower number and that the level of complexity of our systems may not recover to the extent to which they exist currently.

I don't necessarily equate that with devolution, however. Because, again, of element "X," that unknown force or process that arises from a new combination of the given factors.

The only thing of which we can be sure right now is that change is in the works. God bless all.

-- Mara Wayne (, August 23, 1999.


"There is neither the time nor the money nor often even the ability to test the entire consequences of a particular change to a system. The residual failures typically arise elsewhere in the system, at some point unrelated to the change itself and completely unanticipated by the programmer. "

Kind of reminds me of the recent mega-bumble by Lucent/MCI Worldcom. Upgraded software that was "certified" prior and the last I read they still don't know where the problem originated.

Hoping for the best, preparing (as much as possible) for the worst.

-- Kristi (, August 23, 1999.

Geez. Are things really that slow that this cra...err, stuff is recirculated?

Truly, Info has shown an amazing ability to read the situation and extrapolate what will happen.

Why, consider this classic from last September: 5454991.997326989&hitnum=1

I have seen _nothing_ to make me more optimistic and much to make me more pessimistic by the day. I expect a full scale global depression before the end of this year as Japan, South America and the derivatives and stock markets finally tank completely. In January 1999, the first major Y2K failures will cause noticeable actual business failures and will trigger genuine public awareness of the "possibility" of major problems in 2000 itself. Just to be on the safe side, enough people will empty their bank accounts leading to a complete collapse of the banking system around March 1999, further deepening the global depression. The problems will be exacerbated by "government help". The situation will be so bad that Clinton will declare a state of emergency sometime next summer, quite possibly leading to the beginnings of a civil war. An increase in "brushfire" wars and insurrections can also be expected in many parts of the globe. In this situation, further Y2K remediation will become impossible (not that it could have been achieved anyway). The problems will be exacerbated by "government help". In January 2000, the peak of the Y2K failure will result in massive and continuing infrastructure failures, widespread business bankruptcies and total collapse of whatever is still left of the global economy. The result will be a huge drop in the "carrying capacity" of the economic "environment" which currently supports the lives of about 4 billion people world wide. In the first year, half of these will die. The problems will be exacerbated by "government help". Because of the drop in population, the world's ability to recover will be effectively eliminated and more of the infrastructure will continue to fail for a wide variety of reasons (including lack of fuel, spare parts and qualified _people_ to address the problems). Carrying capacity will be further reduced, millions more will die in the next winter, and we will experience a continuing downward spiral for 3 to 7 years. This will stabilize when government is no longer able to "help" (poetic license), but the world population will be only a fraction of the present level. Recovery to a new "civilization" will require several hundred years. Of course, I could be wrong. It could be worse.

Seriously, folks, Stephen King does this genre much better.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 23, 1999.


Are you a student of "Bubbles", I have always found them to be very interesting. Mostly it is because no one has figured out what makes them "pop". Pundents will exclaim that "it can not get any bigger" but it always does. Then with out warning. POP! and it is over. Y2K is a series of events which will seriously challenge the strength of the bubble.

I remember just after the Berkeley fire, I was at a UCB meeting for the Japanese Delegation that was TELLING us that Japan would RULE the 90's because of their superior research and corporate structure. Well that was a bit of an overstatement from the monday morning quarterback view point. Japan is still mired in lots of financial difficulties.

But your point is well taken. There are PERMA BEARs out there that say over and over, THE BUBBLE WILL BREAK TODAY!, and it does not. That does not mean the bubble will not break, it just means we have an other day to enjoy the party!

And a nice party it is! I love the beach!!!!

Lighten up and enjoy......

It will get worse before it gets better................:(

-- helium (, August 23, 1999.

Hoff, if this is such "crap", why do you waste your time debunking it? Why aren't you, Y2K Pro, DoomerSuck, et al spending 24/7 over at alt.tinfoil.alien_adbuction?

Could it be because you realize this scenario and some of the others discussed on this forum are not only within the realm of possibility, but are in fact probable?

-- a (a@a.a), August 23, 1999.

Well, 'a', we all have our specialties.

Me, I know nothing about aliens.

Do know something about systems and software.

And I know crap when I smell it.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 23, 1999.

Hoffmeister, that "crap" is just a's breath.

Oh, you meant this thread! sorry. Mr. Mingham sure did a good job of BSing some folks didn't he?

That Ivan has a head like a bowling ball and the holes are filled with dog dung. THAT'S why his writing stinks so bad. That and his moldy logic.

-- Ivan (Mingham_is_1_big_f@t.head), August 23, 1999.

Let me get to the crux of things you assorted wankers,

I should preface this with (not you, a), some wanker comes along casting aspersions on Ivan Mingham - Mingham has basically done us all a service by opening our imaginations to a VERY REAL POSSIBILITY.

Let me digress ever so slightly, I like Hoffy and I know he is genuine and he has an intellect - probably the worst programmer in sap that you would wish to meet but that's OK because he was promoted awhile ago and doesn't do any grunt work anymore - by his own admission he dicks around the usa doing bs that could have been handled with a firm phonecall... - unless young Hoffy addresses this subject (Imagic) with all seriousness we are all going to be subjected to Mr. Meisters know-nothing viewpoints...

Mr. hoffy, the world, the usa, does not revolve around sap remediation!

-- Andy (, August 23, 1999.

Pretty close, Andrew.

I keep telling them they pay me way too much. But hey, what can you do.

Psst. By the way, SAP doesn't need remediation.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 23, 1999.

helium, glad you posted this. Every now and then its good to bring back some of the classics. And make no mistake about it, Infomagic's writings are both gripping and disturbing. Other than specific conjecture from Infomagic as to WHEN we would start seeing the de-evolutionary spiral start (MCI/Worldcomm might be a candidate) that was estimated, the basic crux is as bulletproof as it ever was.

Still makes me want to sleep with a nightlight....

-- King of Spain (, August 24, 1999.

Seems to me there's a significant difference between the collapse of the Roman Empire and the collapse of current civilization anticipated by Infomagic. The Empire was an island of technology and (initially) governmental stability in a vast ocean of pre-technology barbarism. The Huns and the Goths no doubt were fine people but as a culture they had no use for Roman technology. They didn't need the roads, the aqueducts, or the hot baths, or the mines of Cornwall and Spain, or the granite and papyrus and silk from Syria and Egypt

-- Tom Carey (, August 24, 1999.

Will Andy and King of Spain please mudwrestle?

you guys are

-- Sofa King (, August 24, 1999.

thats right. just keep repeating it....

I am We Todd it.

I am

-- Sofa King (, August 24, 1999.

(Oops-- cont. from my last)

Since they had no use for the fabric of Roman civilization, such as it was, they made no effort to preserve it.

This is not our present situation. The barbarians are not at the gates. Most people are familiar with the utility of technology, though not with the details. Any collapse here would be followed by massive efforts at restoration, quite the opposite of events after the fall of Rome.

-- Tom Carey (, August 24, 1999.

you mean Gates is not a barbarian?

-- (watching@win.dows), August 24, 1999.

Tom C. "..massive attempts at restoration" yeah right,if it gets that bad, so that the world is trying to work out of a infomagic sprial, what do you think the backdrop to these efforts will be? Looking around i don`t see that the human race has found some magic cure for war. oh and BTW maria states that EMP is not a y2k problem. Nuts. If the international means of war, the actual phyiscal means of mass death did not exist then y2k would be a lot less important, it is only because these acts (such as emp bursts) are possible,that turns a problem with computer code into a matter of grave concern.Sad Summary-Leaders exist-Leaders make decisions-Leaders in general aren`t *enough*. i pointing out the facts of reality or am i "fear-mongering"?

-- bud (, August 24, 1999.


If infomagic is such crap, it should be easy for you to refute. Yet, I HAVE NOT HEARD ONE WORD from you to refute even one of his points. I am not flaming you; I really am interested in your opinion on this. I know you believe the global IT system is very robust, but if the number of failures reaches a certain threshold, why will the system not collapse ala charlotte's web?

Ever heard of a "bifurcation"?


-- Pinkrock (, August 24, 1999.

Tom said the barbarians are not at the gate. He's right. The gate has already been breached.

-- Vic (, August 24, 1999.

Why Infomagic is a pollyanna:

DCWRP #106


-- Ray (, August 24, 1999.

Thanks Ray. Anyone care to discuss the drought? If you're living in a high-rise, you may not have heard about it. I'm sure your potted plants are just fine.

-- Will continue (, August 24, 1999.

Pinkrock has taken the words out of my mouth. Infomagic remains credible to me because noone yet has refuted his scenario in as well done a manner as he has. Emotionless and intelligent manner. I've been cognisant of "Charlotte's web" before he came along, and his devolutional spiral theory makes sense in my frame of references. But that frame is limited and I'm anxiously awaiting for someone to take on the challenge to prove Infomagic wrong in as credible a manner, I don't want it to happen!

-- Chris (%$^&^, August 24, 1999.

Ah well, to Pinkrock and Chris:

If infomagic is such crap, it should be easy for you to refute. Yet, I HAVE NOT HEARD ONE WORD from you to refute even one of his points. I am not flaming you; I really am interested in your opinion on this. I know you believe the global IT system is very robust, but if the number of failures reaches a certain threshold, why will the system not collapse ala charlotte's web?

If you have not heard one word, then my guess is you haven't paid attention.

Infomagic is guilty of grossly overexaggerating the potential effects of Y2k, and the supposed "fragility" of the "system-of-systems", or his "Charlotte's Web". The link I posted above regarding his predictions for 1999 was not only to show his lack of understanding of the situation, but also because those predictions had a direct bearing on the original post on this thread.

I spent quite a bit of time on the Second Debate Thread, which is that implementation errors far outweigh Y2k errors in scope and severity.

His whole post is summed up by his words "At the very minimum this will lead to an economic disaster, JUST FROM THE ACT OF FIXING THE SYSTEMS THEMSELVES, without even taking into account the effect of the unfixed systems, of embedded systems or of an already declining global economy. "

He uses a simplistic, one-dimensional probability model to support his analysis. I went much more into depth over on csy2k here about this "probability model", so I won't repeat it here. If you're interested, take a look.

The September post of his 1999 predictions directly relates to his view here. The fact is, the "fragile system-of-systems" has withstood these errors, with barely a shrug. That Infomagic was wrong doesn't require any refutation by me; look around for yourself.

So again, Infomagic's posts reflect the fact that, in his view, the system would not handle the errors created through the implementation of systems. This obviously was grossly exaggerated; no such collapse has been even remotely reached.

I spent quite a bit of time comparing the relative rate of associated with these implementations, and comparing them to the expected error rate of Y2k problems. At the least they are of the same order of magnitude. And even as Infomagic supports, these implementation errors are of a much higher level of severity and scope than Y2k errors.

There has not been a "collapse" due to implementations, as Infomagic predicted. There will not be a "collapse" due to Y2k errors in these same systems.

-- Hoffmeister (, August 24, 1999.

HTML screw-up. The 5th paragraph should be:


I spent quite a bit of time on the First Debate Thread comparing the overall rate of failure of system implementations to Y2k errors. Infomagic emphasizes the point I made in the Second Debate Thread, which is that implementation errors far outweigh Y2k errors in scope and severity.



-- Hoffmeister (, August 24, 1999.

bifurcation: a chronic defect in the tongue of a politician

-- Randolph (, August 24, 1999.

Uhh, nice Hoffy, very nice....

For a serious debate about Infomagic's position, the one that he had with Bruce Webster on adaptive systems in one of Cory's newsletters is great reading. (Webster got trounced, IMHO.)

-- King of Spain (, August 24, 1999.

I agree with Hoff that Info made some pretty loose assumptions. However, are all making loose assumptions. Like that uncontrolled nuclear war will not break out. Like that terrorists will not sabatoge nuke plants or electric grids. Like that plagues will not utilize heretofore unknown vectors and decimate populations.

Infomagic is IMHO unlikely, but at the 1:100 odds I give it, VERY possible.

-- a (a@a.a), August 24, 1999.

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