Doomsday Clock 2024: Reflecting Nuclear Fears

Annual Update of the Doomsday Clock: A Symbol of Civilization-Ending Catastrophe

As the annual update of the Doomsday Clock approaches, the world awaits the symbolic time that warns humanity about the proximity of a civilization-ending catastrophe. First set in 1947, the Doomsday Clock serves as a metaphor, reminding us of the perils we must address to ensure the survival of our planet.

What is the Doomsday Clock?

Maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947, the Doomsday Clock was created using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero). Each year, experts from the Bulletin evaluate whether global events have pushed humanity closer to or further from destruction.

Current Setting of the Doomsday Clock

The clock is currently set at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it has been in history. This setting signifies the imminent threat of a potential doomsday scenario.

Who Determines the Time on the Doomsday Clock?

Annually, the clock is set by the 22 members of the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 11 Nobel laureates.

Factors Affecting the Clock’s Timing

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, highlighted that climate change and nuclear risk play crucial roles in setting the timing of the Doomsday Clock. Additionally, she noted that rapid advancements in AI are now also a significant factor to consider.

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Potential Impact on the Clock

The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board assesses whether humanity is safer or at greater risk compared to when the Clock was last set, determining the potential for its movement forward or backward based on global actions to improve or worsen the situation.

Significance of the Doomsday Clock

Over the years, the Doomsday Clock has been referenced by global leadership, signifying its prominent role in highlighting the threats to humanity and the reverence it commands for its science-based stance.

For more information, visit the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Contributing: Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

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