Y2K: A Byte Out of Time, 1999 Y2K

GROUP: Continuous Crisis



  • Veda Swaminathan (she/her)
  • Sarah Kress (she/her)
Email Committee Chair

The year is 1999, and here’s the 411. The members of this committee refuse to be Clueless about an incoming crisis—our computers have been taught to recognize numbers like 72, 89, and 97 in binary as codes for 1972, 1989, and 1997 . . . but what happens when the year changes to 2000? Will our entire system of technology collapse, plunging us back into a computer-less dark age? Will data collected after that day be stored, or will we suffer a dramatic loss of information? If we change these codes for years to include up to 4 numbers, will our computers be able to handle this new stress on their storage? Get your scrunchies and low-rise jeans, because this committee is about to flash back to the dawn of time . . . or at least the year 2000.

Even after our delegates give our data storage systems some TLC, the Digital Age is just beginning. With the release of Google in 1998 came an unprecedented amount of access to information (and misinformation) that revolutionized the way we view the world. With America Online (AOL) and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) came the rise of faster communication across international borders! But. . .is this kind of change always a good thing? This committee represents a diverse group of tech moguls, celebrities, and politicians from around the globe who are dedicated to preparing for Y2K . . .and building up their own influence along the way. Technology is a truly global problem, and the late 90s and early 2000s marked the entrance of many developing nations onto the global stage using technology as a vehicle. This committee will prepare to answer questions like: who gets access to the internet and this new wealth of information? How will the power dynamics between nations evolve in a rapidly changing world, and how can we ensure that existing divides between developed and developing nations won’t be exacerbated by this technology? Hold tight to your beanie babies as we take you through Y2K, the dot com boom, and the birth of the internet as the global power we know it as today.