In addition to debating whether 2000 or 2001 would mark the “real” beginning of the new millennium, the Western World pondered the effect the Y2K bug would have upon daily life.
Back in the 1960s, computer memory was very expensive. To save money and valuable space, computer programs often shortened four-digit dates to two digits. Seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, programmers couldn’t conceive that the code they were writing in the ’60s and ’70s would still be in use at the end of the century.
But it was. And in the 1990s, the dire situation became clear: The year 1900 (shortened to 00) was about to become indistinguishable from 2000. The Millennium Bug was born.
Would aeroplanes fall out of the sky? Would there be food shortages and rioting in the streets?
or would life continue pretty much as we knew it, with only a few minor complications and inconveniences?
As 1999 became 2000, predictions by doomsayers that the western world would collapse when the clock chimed 12:00 failed to materialise and the dawn of Y2K turned out to be a major yawnfest . . .
Although a customer at a New York State video rental store allegedly did receive a bill for $91,250 – the cost of renting the John Travolta film The General’s Daughter for 100 years!
And the price tag to thwart potential global crisis? An estimated US$300 billion, half of which was spent in the United States.