The annual Doomsday Clock update was announced at 10am this morning in Washington, DC.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has announced that the Doomsday Clock This year it was set at 90 seconds to midnight, for the second year in a row, “reflecting the continuing state of unprecedented danger facing the world.”
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Last year, the clock was also set to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to midnight.
“Make no mistake: setting the clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable. Quite the opposite. It is urgent for governments and communities around the world to act. And the Bulletin remains hopeful and inspired by seeing the younger generations leading the charge,” he said in a statement. Rachel Bronsion, PhDpresident and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
Before 2023, the closest the clock got to midnight was 100 seconds before midnight in 2020, the Bulletin said.
The Doomsday Clock It is decided by the 22 members of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Council in consultation with its Council of Sponsors.
When deciding the timing, board members are asked two questions: Is humanity safer or more at risk this year compared to last year? And is humanity safer or more at risk compared to the more than 75 years we’ve been asking the question?
The board cited a variety of global threats that were taken into account when deliberating the clock time, including: war between Russia and Ukraine and the deterioration of nuclear arms reduction agreements; the climate crisis and the official designation of 2023 as the hottest year on record; the increasing sophistication of genetic engineering technologies; and the dramatic advance of generative AI that could magnify misinformation and corrupt the global information environment, making it more difficult to solve the biggest existential challenges.
The declaration of Doomsday Clock says: “Ominous trends continue to point the world toward global catastrophe. The war in Ukraine and the widespread and increasing reliance on nuclear weapons increase the risk of nuclear escalation. China, Russia and the United States are spending huge sums of money to expand or modernize their nuclear arsenals, raising the ever-present danger of nuclear war by mistake or miscalculation.
“In 2023, the Land experienced the hottest year on record, and massive floods, wildfires and other climate-related disasters affected millions of people around the world. Meanwhile, rapid and worrying advances in life sciences and other disruptive technologies accelerated, while governments made only feeble efforts to control them.
“But you can make the world safer. The Clock can move away from midnight.”
The Doomsday Clockcreated in 1947, is a metaphor to warn humanity about how close we are to destroying the world by our own actions, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
It was created using the imagery of the apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary language of nuclear explotion (countdown to zero). Midnight is the time that represents the day of judgment.
Speakers at the event included Bill Nye (the scientist), who said: “For decades, scientists have been warning us about the dangers facing humanity. We could face catastrophe unless we better manage the technologies we have created. It is time to act”.