A panel of international scientists on Tuesday kept the ominous Doomsday Clock set to 90 seconds to midnight, warning that humanity is as close as ever to destruction due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, and the threat of artificial intelligence.
The timing of the clock, maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, remains the same as last year and the closest it has ever been to midnight in its more than 75-year history. “Trends continue to point ominously towards global catastrophe,” said Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “The war in Ukraine poses an ever present risk of nuclear escalation, and the October 7 attack in Israel and war in Gaza provides further illustration of the horrors of modern war, even without nuclear escalation.”
The Doomsday Clock, created in the aftermath of World War II by scientists who played pivotal roles in the development of nuclear weapons, has served as a reminder of humanity’s shared responsibility to navigate away from the precipice of self-annihilation, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
In their assessment for 2024, the Bulletin pointed to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s withdrawal from arms agreements, the war in Gaza, and the record-breaking heat of 2023. Scientists also highlighted the rise of artificial intelligence as a disruptive force, acknowledging its potential to amplify corruption and disinformation.
“Make no mistake: resetting the Clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable,” Bronson said. “Quite the opposite. It’s urgent for governments and communities around the world to act. And the Bulletin remains hopeful—and inspired—in seeing the younger generations leading the charge.”