Doomsday Clock: Humanity stays closer to apocalypse than ever before

(The Independent)
·2 min read

The Doomsday Clock, the metaphorical representation of how close the world is to annihilation, has remained the same - 100 seconds to midnight.

The announcement was made by science video blogger Hank Green, as well as Dr Rachel Bronson, the president and chief executive for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists which manages the clock.

Other board members from the group are also present, representing biodefence, cyber security, physics, and more, with the announcement conducted over Zoom.

“Steady is not good news,” professor Sharon Squassoni from the Institute for International Science and Technology Policy warns. “We are stuck in a perilous moment, one that brings neither stability nor security.”

The clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight - which is closer than it had ever been before - since 2020.

The clock was first established in 1947 to symbolize how close we are to ‘midnight’ – an apocalypse that could threaten all life on Earth. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists organisation was founded by members of the Manhattan Project, who built the world’s first atomic bombs and “could not remain aloof to the consequences of their work”.

While it was created in response to the prospect of nuclear war it has now come to account for every challenge humanity must face.

Its hands can move forwards and backwards depending on human development; in 1991 it was set at 17 minutes, where it stayed until 1995. Since 1947, the clock has been moved backward eight times and forward 16 times.

The last update came at the beginning of 2021, when scientists kept the clock at the 100-seconds-to-midnight time that had been set in 2020.

They noted the increased threats of nuclear war, as well as the challenges of Covid-19, climate change, online misinformation, and artificial intelligence.

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