Who'll care about the Year 10000 Bug
Who'll care about the Year 10000 Bug
By Li Xueling
Millennium bug begins to fade out in our memory. Soon we will forget that it used to exist. All the nightmares have become a part of the history, or maybe not.
Fifty years ago, the computer engineers tried to save a byte's space. Well, that is how they throw the world into panic at the millennium end.
Millennium bug is nothing but a digital error. However, the terrible thing is that we know nothing about where the bug comes from and where it hides itself. Real danger usually comes from places we knew nothing of.
Now, we can sigh with relief -- thank God! We are still alive.
Half a century ago, to save digital space is the most important thing, because of the limited computer storage and operation capability.
No one would notice that there existed a problem fifty years later because year 2000 was too far away.
Moreover, at the time, computer was not yet a part of our lives. It is used to calculate the ballistic curve. So time-related functions are not that important.
But, situation changed. Computer is now playing a key role in almost every part of our lives, from our savings account to the planes we board.
When we celebrate the safe transition to the new century, is there anyone who consider the situation in year 10000?
How can the four digits' chronology help our descendants pass year 9999 when the next will be represented with five digits.
Will they curse that we have made such a stupid mistake that bring them so much trouble.
Like the computer engineers fifty years ago, we consider year 10000 too far ahead.
8,000 years is a long time, off course. But there will be unexpected problems.
Internet has no border, no centre and it allows different operational platforms to coexist. It has proven true that these characteristics are our biggest fortune.
No single software should be the overlord and we should have more than one choices or the whole world will always face the same problem.
To avoid singularity is the way to free ourselves from the dilemma for good.
We can not avoid having errors, but we can prevent ourselves from make mistakes, especially the mistake that will bring trouble to almost all devices across the globe.
Human beings have been trying hard to make things grow according to their ideas. As far as we are concerned, everything can be predicted.
However, we should always bear in mind that even music can never be in a hundred percent harmony. Moreover, a single piece of instrument never make perfect music.
The wind and the string should cooperate with each other.
That is why musicians are different from technicians. Unfortunately, our world is gradually becoming the world of technicians not musicians.
When business merges with Internet, the harmonious network begins to change. It promotes the Matthew's effect in the sociological sense and becomes a casino for the winners.
Well, we are facing a new catastrophe -- someday in the future, a virus attacking a MS Windows' bug will be a world killer.
That is not because we are having an error but we are making a mistake -- 90 percent of the computer users are using Microsoft's operation system.
Let us suppose that business winners will be the overlord of the industry and users with no choices always get the same the software. Then, tragedy follows.
At present, it seems that millennium bug is not ubiquitous and even `year 10000 bug' shows up once in ten thousand years.
But if we continue to harm the harmony and diversity of our natural world, we shall find a huge `bug' sleeping with us every morning we get up.
This is the true bug that never dies.