Doomsday Clock Still 2 Minutes to Midnight
Scientists Warn of “Normalising a Very Dangerous World” as Risk of Apocalypse Remains High
Since 1947 the Doomsday Clock has only been this close to Midnight three times; Midnight being a metaphor for the end of the world, whether due to environmental disaster or a third world war.
Created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), the Doomsday Clock is intended to warn of the impending destruction of everything we hold dear.
At its inception in 1947, shortly after the Second World War, the Doomsday Clock was set at 7 minutes to Midnight. The furthest away from midnight that it has ever been was in 1991, when it was 17 minutes to Midnight.
Now for the third time in its history, the Doomsday Clock is ticking closest to the end. the first time it struck 2 minutes to Midnight was in 1953 after both the USA and USSR tested the hydrogen bomb, a vastly more destructive ‘improvement’ on the previous atomic bomb.
The second time the Doomsday Clock reached 2 minutes to Midnight was in 2018. With the Clock still within a hairbreadth of Apocalypse, the BAS are warning against “normalising a very dangerous world”.
At the announcement in Washington, BAS President and CEO, Rachel Bronson, warned that “Though unchanged from 2018, this setting should be taken not as a sign of stability but as a stark warning to leaders and citizens around the world. This new abnormal is simply too volatile and too dangerous to accept.”
According to BAS, the two biggest threats to humanity are now climate change and nuclear weapons, with these risks “exacerbated” by “increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world.”
The decision to move (or not) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.
Warfare.Today can predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will only bring us closer to Midnight than ever before.
Image: Nuclear deterrence, Castle Romeo nuclear test on Bikini Atoll, 27 March 1954 (US Dept of Energy).