Y2K (or Year 2000) is an abbreviation for the year 2000 that has become well known because of the computer fears associated with it. Y2K is a term that has been used to describe the belief that computer systems could cause chaos at the dawn of the year 2000 due to the lack of four-digit reference for the new millennium.
This fear was so strong that the Y2K problem became known as the “millennium bug”. Y2K was believed to cause a massive breakdown of global computer networks due to the fact that many computer systems had only two digits for the year. As a result, they would read the year 2000 as the year 1900, causing systems to fail and linking the belief of the potential chaos it could cause.
The impact was significant: the cost of Y2K compliance was estimated to be as high as $600 billion worldwide. Companies and governments took preventative measures to make sure that their systems were equipped to handle the new millennium. As midnight approached on New Year’s Eve, many people around the world held their breath, waiting to see the chaos or success that Y2K would bring.
At the end of the day, the feared Y2K apocalypse never came. In many cases, due to the large investments in Y2K compliance, some parts of the world saw huge improvements in their computer networks at the start of the year 2000. Despite this, Y2K remains a concept that will continue to fascinate people to this day.