While the world collectively held their breath through December 31, 1999, the Y2K hysteria predated the new millennium by decades. Prince was singing about “two thousand, zero zero, party over, oops, out of time” as early as 1982, and preparations for the great unknown of the 2000s intensified throughout the 1990s.
In hindsight, it was a new year like any other. Why were people scared of Y2K? To put it simply, it was the sobering realization that we had permanently crossed the threshold into a computerized world, and the possibility of even a brief widespread technological issue could signal the end times.
Though it may seem as though there was never anything to be afraid of, enduring New Year's 2000 was a multi-billion dollar endeavor. All told, this was hardly a waste of money, and it even proved to be an invaluable expenditure in the years to come.