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The Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award is annually bestowed upon a respected scientist or public figure who has warned of a future fraught with dangers and encouraged measures to prevent them.
The 2009 Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award has been given to Peter de Jager on the tenth anniversary of Y2K which he helped avert. This award is in recognition of his 1993 warning which alerted the world to the potential disaster that might have occurred on January 1, 2000 and his efforts in the following years to create global awareness of the problem, and the possible solutions. His presentations, articles, and more than 2,000 media interviews contributed significantly to the world's mobilization to avoid that fate.
Peter's September 6, 1993, ComputerWorld article "Doomsday 2000" began:
"Have you ever been in a car accident? Time seems to slow down as you realize you're going to crash into the car ahead of you.
It's too late to avoid it — you're going to crash. All you can do now is watch it happen.
The information systems community is heading toward an event more devastating than a car crash. We are heading toward the year 2000. We are heading toward a failure of our standard date format: MM/DD/YY.
Unfortunately, unlike the car crash, time will not slow down for us. If anything, we're accelerating toward disaster.
This is a good news/bad news story. First the bad news: There is very little good news. There is no way to avoid the fact that our information systems are based on a faulty standard that will cost the worldwide computer community billions of dollars in programming effort."
And thanks to the concerted programming efforts of companies, governments, and other organizations throughout the world, this potential crisis WAS AVERTED.
Hopefully we can all learn from this example of how foresight and preparedness can indeed avert catastrophe as technology marches ahead.
Peter de Jager is a speaker/writer/consultant on the issues relating to the Rational Assimilation of the Future. He has published hundreds of articles on topics ranging from Problem Solving, Creativity, and Change to the impact of technology on areas such as privacy, security, and business. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Futurist, and Scientific American.
His monthly schedule is hectic... In addition to presentations and seminars on the topics above, he writes regular columns and produces a monthly webinar.
Having spoken in 37 countries, he is recognized worldwide as an exciting, provocative and engaging, speaker. His audiences have included the World Economic Forum, The World Bank, and The Bank for International Settlements.
His presentations use humor to challenge the myths surrounding our understanding of the Change process and the benefits of technology. His talks are suitable to both staff and upper management. His single minded objective, despite the global nature of some of the issues, is always to provide actionable solutions and new avenues of approach to seemingly intractable problems.
His presentations and workshops are highly interactive, fun, irreverent to mistaken ideas and most distinctively — provocative. His work forces you to think differently about things you thought you were already sure you knew. In May 2001, he was honored by CIPS for his work in Y2K and was at that time appointed as an Associate Director of The Global Future Forum, a past Unisys Corporation initiative.
Peter's website is www.technobility.com and his email address is
About Lifeboat Foundation
The Lifeboat Foundation is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies, including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI, as we move towards a technological singularity.
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