Humankind may be running out of time before coming face-to-face with utter annihilation as the Doomsday Clock has inched 100 seconds to midnight – the closest time yet to the hour of extinction.
The fictitious clock, managed by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) in Washington DC, made its latest adjustments on Thursday, January 23, with BAS President Rachel Bronson warning that the risk of danger “is high, and the margin of error is low.”
Back in 2018, the BAS fixed the hands of the Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, and last year it remained the same. However, in its assessment of whether humans are safer or more at risk, the BAS said that nuclear weapons, while still mankind’s primary threat, has company in the form of climate catastrophe and disruptive technology.
‘Nuclear war more imminent than ever’
Over the last two years, nuclear and climatic conditions have continued to deteriorate – with decisions by global leaders like Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump and tensions in the Middle East making matters much direr for the planet.
“Over the last two years, we have seen influential leaders denigrate and discard the most effective methods for addressing complex threats,” Bronson said.
“Humanity continues to face two simultaneous existential dangers—nuclear war and climate change—that are compounded by a threat multiplier, cyber-enabled information warfare, that undercuts society’s ability to respond. The international security situation is dire, not just because these threats exist, but because world leaders have allowed the international political infrastructure for managing them to erode,” the BAS wrote in a statement addressing the updated time.
The shadow of nuclear war also hovers over the Middle East, since 2018, after President Trump withdrew the US from a nuclear deal with Iran.
On Friday, January 3, tensions between the two nations erupted when a Trump-sanctioned drone strike killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.
Two days later, on Sunday, Iran said it would no longer observe limitations on its capacity for nuclear enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development.
Technology without conscience
According to Robert Latiff, a retired US Air Force major general, the development of artificial intelligence (AI) for use in weapons “that make kill decisions,” and its use in military control and command systems is another new cause for concern.
Even space has become “a new arena for weapons development” with the announcement of the US Space Force, a new division of the American armed forces that includes “preparing for space combat” as one of its primary goals.
Well, BUZZ fam? Do you think we’re closer to ‘complete human extinction’?