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In 1999, the year 2000 was going to be the end of the world. Because of the Y2K bug, our computer-dependent civilization would fall into chaos come New Year’s Day. “Two thousand zero zero/Party over/Oops, out of time.”
But Y2K was not a bug; it was a failure of imagination. Adopting a protocol that didn’t allow for more than two-digit years showed our disregard for consequences, our disbelief in the future.
Hand in hand with our cynical poseur nihilism, the fatuous punk-rock death-wish: “No future for me. No future for you.” Romanticized destruction by a generation who mostly hadn’t experienced it. But the spiritual crisis was real.
Yet the world didn’t end. The programmers fixed it. The politicians got on it. We did believe in the future after all.
Then came 9/11, our real Y2K. The Columbine killers’ ethos adopted as a religious war. The chickens we weren’t even counting came home to roost.
And 16 years on, we’re still stuck with that Millennium Glitch. Waiting for our future.