"Before Y2K" Conference Program

Friday, September 10, 1999

The George Washington University
Stuart Hall, Room 310
2013 G Street NW
Washington, DC

With the year 2000 computer crisis producing a wide range of forecasts of what will happen, the event and its consequences offer a unique opportunity to test social science theories, forecasting methods and action research strategies. Therefore, GW is holding a Before Y2K Conference as part of a program of Before and After Studies of Y2K. The Before Y2K Conference will feature scholars estimating what they think will happen. These forecasts will later be examined to compare them with what actually occurred.


"Introduction to the Conference"
Stuart Umpleby, Dept. of Management Science, The George Washington University, Washington, DC

"Twelve Propositions Concerning the Year 2000 Problem"
Karl Mueller, Dept. of Sociology and Political Science, Institute for advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria

"Y2K: the Estimation of Human Potentialities"
Peter Caws, Dept. of Philosophy, The George Washington University
[ PresentationQ&AAfter Thoughts  ]

"A List of Social Science Theories that Shed Light on Y2K"
Stuart Umpleby, Dept. of Management Science, The George Washington University

BREAK, 10:30 A.M.

SESSION 2, 10:45 A.M.

"The Evolution of Y2K and its Associated Risks"
Jay Golter, financial analyst and President, Northern Virginia Y2K Community Action Group
[Presentation Q&A]

"Year 2000 Aftershock"
William Ulrich, Y2K author and consultant, Tactical Strategy Group, Soquel, CA
[Presentation Q&A]

"Y2k or Not Y2k: A Critical Linguistic Analysis of Epistemics in Corporate Y2K Readiness Statements"
Don Weasenforth, Dept. of English as a Foreign Language, GWU
Article Presentation Q&A]

LUNCH, 12:15 P.M

Special Luncheon Speaker, Jim Lord.


"The Disaster of Disaster Forecasting" (pdf file)
Paul Ballonoff, economist, anthropologist, lawyer, Ballonoff Consulting, Alexandria, VA
[Presentation  Q&A]

"Decision Frameworks and Outcomes for Business and the Economy in the Year 2000"
R.H. Hamilton, Dept. of Management, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
[Presentation Q&A]

BREAK, 3:30 P.M.

SESSION 4, 3:45 P.M.

"The Banking System: Will It Survive Y2K"  (Word Format)
Reynolds Griffith, Dept. of Economics and Finance, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX
[Presentation Q&A   (Word Format)]

"The Evolution of Finance in the Wake of the Year 2000 Problem"
Katherine Gleason, Dept. of Finance, GWU


From left to right:

Jim Lord, Stuart Umpleby


The Special Luncheon Speaker is Jim Lord, Y2K author, speaker, and newsletter writer. Although Jim has become a controversial figure lately due to his "release" of the Navy assessments of the y2k readiness of US cities, there are several reasons why I believe Jim is an appropriate choice for luncheon speaker.

  1. Most y2k activists have operated in the internet world. That is, they have addressed their writings to engineers, managers, and other professionals. Jim has appeared on many radio talk shows. This experience has taught him what the concerns of a lay audience are and how to address those concerns. Hence, he is a leading y2k educator.
  2. He reads reports much more carefully than most people, and he has worked hard to make available to the public information not otherwise available. I believe this work will save lives and diminish suffering. If this makes some officials uncomfortable, that, it seems to me, is a small price to pay.
  3. He has been rigorously self-critical about his own failed predictions.
  4. He personifies an action orientation. Rather than the usual academic orientation of observation and analysis, Jim believes that information should be shared, discussed, and preparations made. I think that this orientation is thoroughly respectable academically and is particularly appropriate in the case of y2k.

Stuart Umpleby
Department of Management Science
The George Washington University