O Doomsday Clocksymbolic device that represents how close we are to the end of humanity, is at its most alarming for the second year in a row. The closer the hands get to midnight, the more worrying the current state is. The numbers are updated at the beginning of the year and currently mark 90 seconds to midnight, as well as in 2023 – an alarming record.
The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic device created at the beginning of the Cold War by the magazine Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It measures how close we are to the annihilation of humanity: the closer to midnight, the greater the chance of an apocalypse.
When it was created in 1947, the threat was the development of the atomic bomb and, at the time, the clock showed seven minutes to midnight. The hands are reset at the beginning of the year and positioned according to world events, being able to regress (in case of improvement) or advance.
In November 2023, the hand moved forward and reached the 90-second mark until midnight for the first time in history. O Digital Look talked about it here. Even with the adjustment at the beginning of 2024, the hands remained in the same place.
What are the reasons for the end?
In 2023, the position of the Doomsday Clock depended on a series of dangerous situations, such as:
- The War in Ukraine and the potential for the conflict to escalate to the use of nuclear weapons;
- Increased tensions between the United States and Russia, with the weakening of bilateral treaties to regulate the development and testing of nuclear weapons;
- The advancement of climate change, with 2023 being the hottest year on record.
In 2024, all reasons remain. And there are others, as announced in a statement by the magazine responsible for the Watch:
- The lack of commitment to stopping severe climate change in 2023;
- The absence of measures to prepare for the next global pandemic;
- The third year of war between Ukraine and Russia, with no end in sight;
- The humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip, in Palestine, following attacks by Hamas. More than 25,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed in just over three months, with the conflict having the highest death rate compared to any other in the 21st century;
- Deterioration of agreements to reduce nuclear weapons and the threat of biological weapons;
- Continuous spread of misinformation on the internet;
- Unregulated development of cyber technologies.
What experts say about the Doomsday Clock
Every beginning of the year, the magazine’s experts analyze the human threats that could lead humanity to extinction. The adjustment did not move the clock back in 2024.
According to Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO of the Bulletin, just because nothing has changed doesn’t mean the world is stable. Quite the opposite. For her, it is urgent that world governments act to stop the deterioration of humanity.
Bill Nye, who participated in the announcement of the 2024 pointers, stated that the dangers have been known for decades and that we need to better manage the technologies we create if we want to survive a catastrophe.
On previous occasions, the Doomsday Clock has already gone backwards. In 1947, after the atomic bomb, it was 11:53 pm (seven minutes to midnight). In 1991, with the easing of tensions between the USA and the then Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, it was set to 11:43 pm (17 minutes to midnight).
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