Everything is falling apart. A number of wars are raging in the Middle East. In Eastern Europe, a conflict is breaking out. Authoritarian forces are gaining control of South America. A new version of the Doomsday Clock has added to the global panic.
On January 23, the Doomsday Clock was reset at 90 seconds to midnight. The clock is a visual warning to the public about how close the world is to being destroyed. Every year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board consults with its Board of Sponsors and sets the clock for the year. This year, it was set to the same as it was in 2023.
The rapid development of AI and other forms of artificial intelligence, along with the climate change crisis—which the Board claims has supposedly made 2023 the warmest year on record—and other conflicts, have rendered the world dangerous, according to the Board.
The Board released a statement when the clock was reset and elaborated on its concerns, saying there’s a trend “toward global catastrophe.” It pointed out that Russia, the US, and China are all expanding their militaries’ nuclear arsenals. Further, it seems unlikely that the Russian war on Ukraine is going to end soon. There are also concerns that President Vladimir Putin might resort to nuclear weapons to end the conflict and annex the neighboring country.
There were also wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters that hurt millions of people across the globe. Biological threats are also a concern, especially the “convergence of emerging artificial intelligence tools and biological technologies” that could lead to the “misuse [of] biology.”
In a statement to the press, CEO Rachel Bronson said the world shouldn’t take the fact that the clock was set at 90 seconds again to mean “that the world is stable.” She said it means ‘[q]uite the opposite.” Bronson urged governments around the world and their citizens to take action to fix the threats facing them.