smallaxe on Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:28:43 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> [interdoc-y2k 243] responding to the y2k problem

I'm sure I'm naive, BUT:


computers have been programmed to think a lifetime lasts 99 years

just like WE have been programmed to think a year lasts 365 days (it really
doesn't, you know, and only has been known to do so in the very recent past)

then WHY wouldn't the computer simply think "Oh well, it's Jan. 1st again,
let me just continue to do what I've been programmed to do." (note: Of
course, computers DON'T think. This is a metaphor.)

Arguably, the aformentioned argument could cause some problems, most of them
financially (as in debit/credit accounts). Interestingly, this would
probably affect the affluent West foremostly, cos that's where all the money
is, isn't it... (I agree, the affluent classes of the "3rd-World" might take
a bit of the hit as well). Now what is wrong with that?! As a recent poster
on Nettime-nl had it: "Gee, the machinery cranking to a halt, and we
wouldn't even have to work at it?!" (Rough translation mine).

To my knowledge, no computers have been programmed to selfdestruct if they
should find themselves a century ahead or behind time. Nor could they if
they had been, for if their reference frame is a 99 years, then a 99 years
it is -- how could a computer possibly "know" if it were a century sooner or
later?! Nor could it possibly find itself "ahead" or "lagging behind" --
time is a construct, and the computer's time appears to be 99 years.

I would dearly like some explanations on this point, cos no one has given me
any yet. I.e., what's gonna blow up, except the West's finance system?

Sincerely & all that,
Sakhra -l'Assal
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