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10 Things You Should Know about the Doomsday Clock

A group of scientists, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which included Albert Einstein, created the Doomsday Clock in 1947. Each year, a board of experts in various fields, including 13 Nobel laureates, determine where the clock hands should be placed. clock. based on world events. The hands of the clock present a disastrous equation: the closer the minute hand is to midnight, the closer the world is to Armageddon.

The clock has moved back and forth since 1947, from seventeen minutes to midnight in 1991 to two minutes to midnight in 1953. However, on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, it was moved to 90 seconds before midnight, the closest it has ever been to the top of the hour. An hour that symbolically represents the point of annihilation of humanity or Armageddon.

So let’s look at ten things you need to know about the Doomsday Clock.

Related: Top 10 Times The Apocalypse Almost Happened

10 The story of the doomsday clock

The Doomsday Clock is not a real clock; is a rendering designed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that shows a part of a clock with hands representing how close we are to destroying life as we know it. These scientists, who participated in the Manhattan Project, helped design the atomic bomb but opposed its use on people. Beginning with the founding and formation of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the organization updates its hands every year.

Initially, the symbol was intended to represent the threat of nuclear war, fueled by the Cold War arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Since then, timekeepers have considered a broader scope of world issues. A physical representation of the Doomsday Clock can be found at the University of Chicago.[1]

9 doomsday anxiety

The decision to move the clock hands to 90 seconds before midnight comes after a tumultuous year in world affairs. Today we know that, indeed, threats of nuclear annihilation were exchanged almost monthly between Trump and Kim-Jong Un. More recently, escalations in the Ukraine war have led Western military commanders to publicly discuss an impending war with Russia.

In such a climate, the clock serves as a premonitory warning of the global threat of nuclear war. It symbolizes the impending global catastrophe of humanity, defined by midnight on the dials.

According to Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “We live in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock reflects that reality. 90 seconds to midnight is the closest the Clock has ever gotten to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts don’t take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore them all to their fullest capacity to turn back the Clock.”[2]

8 Individual events cannot influence the clock

It is important to note that the Doomsday Clock cannot be adjusted by a single event, either positive or negative. As such, the Bulletin did not change the clock after the attacks of September 11, 2001. However, the growing threat of terrorism led the US to consider withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty the following year. This, combined with international terrorism and the Afghan war, resulted in a reduction from nine minutes to seven.

In the same vein, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis did not cause any change in the dials. Instead, he produced a new treaty restricting atmospheric nuclear testing the following year, causing the doomsday clock to turn back.[3]

7 Dangers related to artificial intelligence

Threats identified by the Bulletin include artificial intelligence (AI), the escape of dangerous and deadly pathogens from laboratory facilities, Ebola, and other zoonotic diseases that “threaten humanity.” If the COVID pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we need to pay more attention to pandemic preparedness.

Several notable tech and scientific luminaries, including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, signed an open letter in 2017 urging the United Nations to enact a ban on weapons over which humans do not have significant control. The letter warned against the incredible danger of starting a global arms race in AI technologies. According to the signatories, the risks could be significantly greater than many of those posed by weapons of mass destruction.[4]

6 add weather

After a decade of deliberation, the Bulletin decided to add the risks brought about by changes in the global climate into its calculations in 2008. They explicitly cited the dangers threatening the earth posed by global warming temperatures, rapid advances in the sciences of life and other technologies. progress

With Russia second only to the United States in world oil and natural gas production, the invasion of Ukraine sparked a mad scramble to break free of Russian gas supplies, especially in the European Union. Due to this continued demand, global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels rose to an all-time high in 2022 after recovering from the COVID economic downturn in 2021.[5]

5 In total, the clock was reset 25 times

In 1947, the original setting of the clock was set at seven minutes to midnight. Since then, it has reset eight times to go back and seventeen times to go forward, a total of 25 times. Its farthest location from midnight was 17 minutes in 1991, and the closest, as we now know, was set at 90 seconds on January 24, 2023. The Bulletin has moved the midnight clock hand nearly as the same frequency with which you have moved it. around midnight in equal amounts during the Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States.

The only time we’ve ever been as close to midnight as we are today was in 1953, when the dials moved to two minutes to midnight. This came after both the US and the Soviet Union tested fusion weapons, or “H-bombs,” nine months apart.[6]

4 the best of times

Clock hands can move backwards, forwards, or remain stationary. In 1991, they were the furthest from midnight (a record 17 minutes), a decision inspired by post-Cold War confidence. The minute hand had to be moved out of the clock segment depicted in the original design during our “finest time” time: 17 minutes to midnight.

The transition expressed our collective relief at surviving 45 years without a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, peace only lasted about a decade before the early 2000s heralded a “new nuclear age,” as the Bulletin put it, and the clock started ticking again.[7]

3 worst of times

Before January 24, the two most difficult periods in world history were 1949 and 1953. In 1949, the Bulletin set the clock at 11:57 or three minutes to midnight, while the Soviet Union was testing an atomic bomb, which which indicated our imminent death.

Yet scientists warned world leaders in 1953 that they were playing with fire, and some of those warnings stuck. As diplomatic solutions temporarily averted nuclear war in the late 1950s, the group turned back the clock, and by 1963 the world was thought to be relatively “safe” 12 minutes from doom.[8]

2 What happens at midnight?

The scientists behind the Doomsday Clock are quick to emphasize that every time the dial is turned, it is intended as a call to action and a reminder of the threats facing the world today rather than some rigid, unchanging time scale of the future of humanity. But people are obviously curious about what will happen if we meet at the midnight hour of the clock.

A global disaster has arisen if the Doomsday Clock is found at midnight. This could be the outbreak of nuclear war, an unstoppable threat to the world’s biological or cyber security, or irrecoverable and catastrophic climate change. Unfortunately, in this case, it is unlikely that we will see the updated clock, since there will be no one left to take care of the honors.[9]

1 ninety seconds to midnight

As the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported, the clockwise movement was primarily motivated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago and an increased risk of nuclear escalation. The groups’ decision was also influenced by the climate crisis and the further collapse of global norms and institutions needed to counter the dangers of advanced technology and biological threats, such as recent virus outbreaks.

The Bulletin confirmed that they had also taken into consideration the fact that China, North Korea, Iran and India have increased their nuclear capabilities in recent times. Due to increased carbon dioxide emissions and severe weather events, the threat of climate change was also a major concern. In addition, infectious diseases and biosecurity are major concerns for the Bulletin, as are “cyber disinformation” and its genuine threat to democracy. Indeed, we are currently 90 seconds from midnight. But that might as well be 90 seconds to the end of the world…[10]

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