Tipping Point Quick Hits (1.26.23)
The Doomsday Clock, U.S.-Israel military drills, and mind-reading tech
Doomsday Clock: It’s 90 Seconds to Midnight
I’ve spoken and written in the past about the so-called “Doomsday Clock.” It’s a symbolic clock maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago. The clock serves as a visual metaphor for how close our civilization is to an apocalypse—not one caused by God or fulfilled Bible prophecy, but by human failures.
This week, on Tuesday, the group moved the clock forward, setting it at 90 seconds to midnight. From 2020 until 2022, the clock was 100 seconds to midnight. We’ve jumped forward 10 seconds, and midnight represents “the moment at which we will have made Earth uninhabitable for humanity,” according to this account:
The clock isn’t designed to definitively measure existential threats, but rather to spark conversations about difficult scientific topics such as climate change, according to the Bulletin.
The decision to move the clock 10 seconds forward this year is largely due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation, the Bulletin said in a news release. The continuing threats posed by the climate crisis, as well as the breakdown of norms and institutions needed to reduce risks associated with biological threats like Covid-19, also played a role.
The president and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists said, “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality.”
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