Science & Technology
The doomsday clock has remained at 90 seconds to midnight
By T.K. Randall
January 23, 2024 · 5 comments
This year's clock face. Image Credit: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The symbolic clock remains perilously close to armageddon with 'billions of lives' currently under threat.
Maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947, the Doomsday Clock is a visual representation of how close the world is to disaster based on political, environmental and technological threats such as nuclear annihilation and climate change.
Over the last few years the hands on the clock have been steadily approaching midnight, with the current setting of 90 minutes to midnight reflecting the situation in Ukraine, Gaza and elsewhere.
Other factors impacting the decision include the ongoing climate crisis, the erosion of nuclear arms reduction agreements, the development of increasingly sophisticated genetic engineering technologies and the rise of generative artificial intelligence.
"Make no mistake: resetting the Clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable," said Bulletin
president and CEO Rachel Bronson.
"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."
The official statement for this year's decision is as follows:"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 modernize 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."
Source: The Guardian
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