GAO Report on Y2K problem

Robert S. Thau (
Fri, 8 May 1998 21:26:44 -0400 (EDT)

Jim Whitehead writes:
> This report reminds me of those Star Trek episodes where the computer calmly
> announces, "the ship will self-destruct in five minutes". "The country will
> experience significant economic disruption in 1.5 years."

Personally, I'd be thrilled with significant economic disruption. The
feasible alternatives are rather worse. A useful reality check is the
article on Y2K issues in industry in the Fortune 500 issue (I believe)
of Fortune magazine. This goes through problems which such outfits as
G.M. are finding in audits of their factory floor embedded systems ---
it's not a pretty picture. See

(Of course, there are industrial embedded systems, like those in power
plants and the distribution grids, on which just about everything else
in the country depends. If those go down, and stay down for more than
a few days --- say, several weeks --- we can stop counting dollars and
start counting dead. Sigh...).