Why
is the Y2K problem being overlooked? The Year 2000 is rapidly approaching! Will
we be ready in time? Y2K stands for Year 2000 Catastrophe. Y2K seems to be
overlooked for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because
people are not aware that there is a Y2K problem because so few are computer
literate. Most of the general public, while being exposed to computers, just
does not realize how computers have taken over the grueling task of keeping our
country running. From writing social security checks to timing traffic signals,
keeping banking account records to controlling food stocks at the local
supermarket, computers are involved. Some other reasons include that the general
public just doesn’t care about Y2K and that the government doesn’t want to
expose the issue and cause a panic. No one in the world knows what’s going to
happen. Y2K could cause chaos and destruction, or just pass over as if nothing
happened. The real question on my mind is what’s going to happen to when the
world hits midnight on January 1, 2000? Dale Kasler explains, “The Y2K
problem is this: Many computer programs recognize years only by the last two
digits, rendering them incapable of telling the difference between 1900 and
2000″ (2). My definition of Y2K is billions of computers that can’t
decipher the difference between a two-digit date and a four-digit date. This
problem makes the computers go haywire, or just shut down because it doesn’t
know the difference between 1900 and 2000. For example, the computers figure out
how old you are by the year of your birth year. I am 19 years old by subtracting
’79 from the current year of ’99, but in two years when I subtract ’79 from ’00
I will be -79 years old. “The Government was first notified in
1969-70″ says Rickey Staves, RGS Consultants, President. The government
overlooked the Y2K problem, because they figured that they didn’t need to worry
about it. Yes, there was a crisis in Vietnam at the time, but there should have
been some sort of effort to bring out this issue of Y2K to the American people.


The government didn’t care because, why take care of a problem that is 30 years
away? This problem would have been no problem if Y2K had been addressed to the
general public, business community, government departments and, utility
companies. Instead, the government decided not to deal with the Y2K problem and
let the children of the future deal with it. There are many people who have a
lack of awareness of the Y2K problem. Other problems are pressing, but we need
to start taking action. There has to be some kind of acknowledgement by the
public. One field that should start taking action is our nation’s hospitals.

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They have a total lack of awareness of Y2K. “According to a nationwide
survey of 1,700 hospitals, fewer than one-third of the respondents had developed
a year 2000 compliance plan and only one in five had implemented such a plan.


Worse, and most alarming, 18 percent of these hospitals are planning no action
to protect their systems. Pity the patient who checks into one of these
hospitals on January 1, 2000″ (Hyatt 144). You would think hospitals would
be the first to be 2000 compliant. It’s terrifying to know that many hospitals
don’t even have a plan to be 2000 compliant. It’s about time for the hospitals
to start getting ready for the new Millennium. There might be situations where
respirator machines stop working or someone gets the wrong dosage of medication.


These are just two of the possible tragedies that could happen. Many businesses
have overlooked the Y2K problem, according to Tasha Getlin; “twenty-three
percent of all companies and government agencies have not started to address the
Y2K issue. By addressing this issue it could cause panic to their customers, but
if you tell your customers that the Y2K problem is under control and you don’t
have it under control; you opened yourself up to a lawsuit” (5c). Isn’t it
better off to have the Y2K problem under control and be ready so it will not
cause a panic or a lawsuit from the customers? A substantial number of people
don’t care about the Y2K issue, or they just think it’s all a big scam. It may
look like a scam because it hasn’t happen yet, but there is evidence to support
that Y2K is not a scam. There are warning signs that this problem does exist.

“Honolulu’s electric utility system recently ran a series of computing
tests on the city power grid to see what would happen on January 1, 2000. The
power system simply stopped working” (Hyatt 8). “In Kansas, a
104-year-old women was given a notice to enter kindergarten” (Hyatt 9). You
may start to care about Y2K when you’re hungry looking for food and the
deliveries didn’t make it to the market. Enough so that when your whole family
is starving, you are going to wish you had paid attention to Y2K. Prepare for
the worst. By getting a late start on fixing the problem, banks have also
overlooked the Y2K. “As of March 1997, only 40 percent of U.S. banks had
begun an earnest assessment of their Year 2000 impact” (Hyatt 95). They are
just now recognizing that they are late fixing Year 2000 corrective work and
probably won’t be 100 percent ready for January 1, 2000. Banks are at least
looking at the situation, but if they had taken action sooner this wouldn’t
occur. What if you need your money for food and supplies, but the banks say you
have no money in the bank? There is no telling what you might do for survival.


In extreme circumstances, you might even take someone’s life to keep your family
alive. The Y2K crisis isn’t just in the United States, it covers the whole
world. Many countries have overlooked the Y2K problem and only begun to
acknowledge that there is a problem. The international banks are further behind
than the U.S. banks. In testimony before Congress, Larry Martin, president of
Data Dimensions, has claimed “The lack of concern and action on the part of
the international banking community is particularly distressing. The ability of
international banks to operate effectively after the Year 2000 is, our estimate,
seriously in question” (2). This proves that other countries are not taking
Y2K seriously. The only way to be 100 percent Year 2000 compliant is for the
“WHOLE WORLD” to be compliant, or we will be cut off from the rest of
the world. The world, as we know it, will no longer exist. There will be no
communication between countries. I have explained why Y2K has been overlooked
and a few areas where it is being overlooked. The government has downplayed the
Y2K issue. They have taken this problem for granted by not taking action in the
past, leaving the issue to be dealt with by the legislature in session in the
year 2000. Hospitals have taken risks with public health by not having a Year
2000 plan. Businesses have not even begun to address the Y2K issue relating to
their customers, leaving themselves to open lawsuits. Banks may not have enough
money to give to their depositors when people start stocking up on cash at the
end of this century. Y2K problem is not only an U.S. problem; it is a global
problem. Can the world really be shutting down? Has the government done
everything possible to control the situation? How will Y2K affect everyone? Will
Y2K be stopped in time? Is there going to be power? Will anything work at all?
These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself as the new
millenium draws close. Take a look at the world around you. Take a good look.


When the new millenium dawns, will it be the same, or will the world be chaos
and destruction all around you? Only you can answer this question. As it finally
sets in that the world is shutting down. There should be only one question left
to ask yourself. Will the world be ready in time for the Year 2000?
Bibliography
Getlin, Tasha. “Businesses said unprepared for Year 2000 glitch
issue.” Bay City Times. 24 Nov. 1998, 5c. Hyatt, Michael S. The Millennium
Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 1998.


Kasler, Dale. “Y2K prophet says doom talk is overrated: The glitches
eventually will be over come” Online. The Sacramento Bee 30 Oct. 1998
Available http://www.sacbee.com/news/beetoday/newsroom/biz/103098/biz05.html.


Kelly, Jason. Y2K: IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE. Ed. Tammy Delatorre. Los Angeles:
Jason Kelly Press, 1998. Martin, Larry. Testimony before Congress. President of
Data Dimensions. Staves, Rickey. Personal Interview. 23 March. 1999.