The Y2K Bug Is Upon Us
Conversely, the bug has picked up some undeserved hype along the way, courtesy of media such as the Internet. Ulrich has noted a prevalent line of thinking, a domino-effect series of predictions that will supposedly stem from the Y2K bug. Among the predictions: The entire U.S. (perhaps worldwide) banking system will collapse; the U.S. government will declare martial law; money will no longer have any value; there will be large-scale, massive food shortages and an extended period of widespread power outages.
Ulrich terms these forecasts as pure conjecture. In order for these events to transpire, he says, an unnatural degree of panic would need to set in and cause people to react irrationally.
A somewhat more realistic concern would be a rush on banks by masses of people who fear their assets may not be accounted for on the next business day.
"There is a remote possibility of that happening," Ulrich remarks. "We have six to nine months to deal with that issue from a public relations standpoint. There may be no Y2K problems with banks. Personally, though, I think there will be.
"The concept of pulling your money out of the bank is a very dangerous one," he adds. "Keeping some extra money on hand that you've drawn out over a long time is not a bad idea. Everybody should have some money on hand, regardless, whether it's Y2K, earthquake, hurricane—that's just common sense. But to pull a bunch of money out of the bank is just problematic."
Just how well informed is the public of the possible ramifications stemming from the Y2K bug? Education will be a key in the coming months. Bob Thomas, for one, is doing his part to ensure that accurate, vital information is getting disseminated.
Thomas is publisher of the Year/2000 Journal, a bimonthly magazine launched in January 1997. Primarily targeted toward computer professionals, but also boasting subscribers in management and legal circles, Year/2000 Journal covers the full range of millennium bug topics from technical and managerial aspects to legal applications.