Doomsday Clock has been reset, reveals how close humanity is to destruction

Doomsday Clock has been reset, reveals how close humanity is to destruction
  • PublishedJanuary 24, 2024

Is humanity doomed?

The annual update of the Doomsday Clock was announced at 10am this morning in Washington, DC.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced that the Doomsday Clock this year was set to 90 seconds to midnight — for the second year in a row, “reflecting the continued state of unprecedented danger the world faces.”

Last year, the clock was also set to 90 seconds to midnight — the closest it’s ever been to midnight in the history of the clock, reports the New York Post.

“Make no mistake: resetting the Clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable. Quite the opposite. It’s urgent for governments and communities around the world to act. And the Bulletin remains hopeful — and inspired — in seeing the younger generations leading the charge,” Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said in a statement.

Before 2023, the closest the clock was set to midnight was 100 seconds to midnight in 2020, the Bulletin said.

The Doomsday Clock is decided by the 22 members of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors.

When deciding the time, the board members are asked two questions: Is humanity safer or at greater risk this year compared to last year? And, is humanity safer or at greater risk compared to the more than 75 years we have been asking the question?

The board cited a variety of global threats that were taken into account when deliberating the clock time, including: the Russia-Ukraine war and deterioration of nuclear arms reduction agreements; the Climate Crisis and 2023’s official designation as the hottest year on record; the increased sophistication of genetic engineering technologies; and the dramatic advance of generative AI which could magnify disinformation and corrupt the global information environment making it harder to solve the larger existential challenges.

The board cited a variety of global threats that were taken into account when deliberating the clock time, including: the Russia-Ukraine war and deterioration of nuclear arms reduction agreements, among other dangers. Picture: AFP

The board cited a variety of global threats that were taken into account when deliberating the clock time, including: the Russia-Ukraine war and deterioration of nuclear arms reduction agreements, among other dangers. Picture: AFP

The Doomsday Clock statement reads: “Ominous trends continue to point the world toward global catastrophe. The war in Ukraine and the widespread and growing reliance on nuclear weapons increase the risk of nuclear escalation. China, Russia, and the United States are all spending huge sums to expand or modernise their nuclear arsenals, adding to the ever-present danger of nuclear war through mistake or miscalculation.

“In 2023, Earth experienced its hottest year on record, and massive floods, wildfires, and other climate-related disasters affected millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, rapid and worrisome developments in the life sciences and other disruptive technologies accelerated, while governments made only feeble efforts to control them.

“But the world can be made safer. The Clock can move away from midnight.”

The Doomsday Clock statement reads: “Ominous trends continue to point the world toward global catastrophe.” Picture: AFP

The Doomsday Clock statement reads: “Ominous trends continue to point the world toward global catastrophe.” Picture: AFP

The Doomsday Clock, created in 1947, is a metaphor to warn humanity about how close we are to destroying the world by our own doing, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

It was created using the imagery of the apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). Midnight is the time that represents Doomsday.

Speakers at the event included Bill Nye (the Science Guy), who said, “For decades, scientists have been warning us of the dangers facing humankind. We could be facing catastrophe unless we better manage the technologies we’ve created. It’s time to act.”

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *