The doomsday clock countdown, which serves as a metaphor for the global apocalypse, takes into account the likelihood of threats such as the outbreak of war and the impact of Covid, as well as advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
The information war and the looming space arms race are among the new threats that have prompted a group of scientists today to move their famous doomsday clock 100 seconds to midnight, the closest since the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists began its annual exercise in 1947. A clock set by scientists 75 years ago to illustrate the danger of human extinction is 100 seconds before midnight, according to a panel of experts.
An extremely dangerous global failure to confront existential threats — what we called the “new anomaly” in 2019 — has solidified its grip on the nuclear realm over the past year, raising the likelihood of catastrophe. The acceleration of nuclear programs in more countries has made the world less stable and less manageable in the past year.
We estimate that the likelihood that the world will stumble into a nuclear war – a constant danger for the past 75 years – has increased in 2020. The immediate threat of nuclear war, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, has reached a crisis, and resolution before the Clock can be set to reflect this possible end of the world.
Russia currently has over 6,000 nuclear warheads; The Arms Control Association estimates there are over 5,500 in the United States in 2021, with hundreds more in the United Kingdom, China, France, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea.
Until January 2020, the two lowest points for the Doomsday Clock were in 1953, when clocks were advanced two minutes before midnight after the United States and the Soviet Union began testing hydrogen bombs, and in 2018, after world leaders failed to ease tensions over nuclear weapons and climate change issues.