“How Long Until 2020 Ends?” is the Siri question that has struck fear into Apple users. The scary answer is related to Apple iPhone’s use of military time, or the 24-hour clock. 2020 is not ending until December 31, 2020, just like previous years.
The Panic Is Down to a Simple Misunderstanding
As you will see in the above video, a person asks when will 2020 end. Siri interprets the question as “when will the time be 8:21 p.m.” In the video, Siri says that will be in 23 hours. The program does not mean that the year 2020 will be over shortly in some kind of apocalyptic way:
One panicky Siri user tweeted, “I asked Siri how long until 2020 ends and she said like 10 minutes so I’m now hiding under my desk in the dark. We’re gonna die. Help.” While another said, “ASK SIRI ‘HOW LONG TILL 2020 ends’ and LOOK AT WHAT IT TELLS YOU! Bitch said 25 minutes wtf is going on ??”
If you ask Siri, “When is the world going to end?” The reply is, “The world changes. Sometimes it changes a lot. But the last time I checked it was still around.” Back in December 2013, it was widely reported that Siri would answer that question with, “Well, Unix 32-bit time overflows on January 19, 2038.” At that time, the more specific question of, “What day is July 27?” yielded the answer, “It’s Sunday, 27 July 2014 (Opening Gates Of Hades).” Hades was the Greek God of the underworld.
In 2017, it was reported that Siri was answering questions about the end of the world with the phrase, “Right after you hear the words ‘fire it up!’” Another answer that Siri gives to the question was, “Whenever they start building that intergalactic bypass.” Another answer was reported as, “As long as you keep me charged, we should be just fine.”
There’s a Simple Way to Figure Out Military Time
If you are not familiar with the 24-hour clock, or military time, an easy to way to decipher the time is to subtract 12 from the hour number if it is over 12. For example, 20:20, minus 12 from the first 20, equals 8. Therefore you get the time, 8:20 p.m.
Military time is used in order to prevent confusion between a.m. and p.m. in life-or-death situations.
Turning Off Military Time on Your iPhone Is Very Easy
A 2015 thread on Apple’s website gives users a walkthrough on switching Siri’s preference from military time. The easiest way to turn off the function is to go to Settings, then tap on General, then select Date & Time, then turn off the 24-hour time function. According to Business Insider, in order to turn off the military time option on your Apple Watch you must use the Watch App on your phone.
Prior to Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, Siri had been one of his final passion projects, although the origins of Siri go back to the 1980s during a period of time when Jobs was not with the company, according to The Cult of Mac.