There's no doubt about it. Y2K concerns are finally stepping outside the realms of IT&T and reaching the broader community. And it's about time.
A recent news article in one of the mainstream papers cited concerns from senior police officers regarding New Year's Eve 1999. Although it was pasted on page 21, it grabbed my attention and it was sure to hook-in a few other curious citizens.
The report focused on the looming dangers Y2K is likely to wreak on social safety. It revealed that should our country's mission-critical systems fail to deliver after the first second hits into the next millenium, there's the calculated risk of widespread panic, looting and basic pandemonium.
And while the IT industry has come to realise the enormity non-compliant Y2K systems will pose, it's only really been the last few months since the general public has tapped into the seriousness of the problem.
The difference is, you and I have long-learnt to expect the unexpected.
But confusion is still rife.
Australians are still unsure what steps they should take to safeguard themselves from what potentially could be a cataclysmic start to the new century.
Their general questions concerning air safety, the delivery of basic necessities like electricity and water, home appliances and alarm systems seem to be falling on deaf ears.
I cannot tell you how many conversations at social gatherings have been dominated by Y2K-related concerns. However, there's always the Y2K-illiterate guest. He or she will accuse those sounding off any Y2K alarms as "over-hyping" the seriousness of the problem.
After all, if it was as serious as some are claiming it to be, where are all the television campaigns and news reports right?
Good point. A valid point, which begs the question -- what in the hell are the large corporates and government officials waiting for? Where are the mass-media Y2K campaigns? Why haven't those in senior positions kick-started a series of educationals to school the general public on whether their systems have to be upgraded or replaced outright?
Chaos shouldn't be the only alternative. If Y2K awareness is dealt with right -- if society is informed and prepared -- then we can ALL expect the unexpected.