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Doomsday Clock remains unchanged for 2024 at closest it’s ever been to midnight

Doomsday Clock remains unchanged for 2024 at closest it’s ever been to midnight

This year's Doomsday Clock announcement has been unveiled.

The Doomsday Clock has revealed how close we are to the end of the world.

According to the scientists behind the project, we're currently 90 seconds to midnight - so that's a minute-and-a-half away from apocalypse.

While still severe, it's unchanged from last year's announcement - still 'a time of unprecedented danger', but things haven't got worse.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - the non-profit organization that runs the countdown - announced the annual update on January 23.

The Doomsday Clock was established back in 1947 to show just how much danger nuclear war posed to the world. Back at that time, experts at the organization were working on the Manhattan Project to design and build the first atomic bomb.

Since then, the Doomsday Clock has evolved in a bit of a terrifying way - and now takes into account threats other than the nuclear armageddon, like climate change or advances in biotechnology.

Midnight on the clock is what's known as Doomsday, and it's hardly something we're keen on greeting any time soon.

The last time the clock ticked closer to midnight was last year, when it moved from 100 seconds to 90 seconds to midnight. That marked the closest to global catastrophe we've ever been, and we'll remain there for 2024.

Last year, scientists voiced concerns around the Russia-Ukraine war, China’s expansion of its nuclear capabilities, as well as North Korea stepping up its intermediate and longer-range missile testing.

FPG / Getty

For this year's analysis, experts continued to voice worries around the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the threat of nuclear arms getting involved.

In a statement, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists cited other concerns, including: 'The climate crisis and 2023’s official designation as the hottest year on record; the increased sophistication of genetic engineering technologies; and the dramatic advance of generative AI which could magnify disinformation and corrupt the global information environment making it harder to solve the larger existential challenges.'

Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO of the organization, said: “Make no mistake: resetting the Clock at 90 seconds to midnight is not an indication that the world is stable. 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.”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

The time is set by a group of scientists and security experts, who are tasked with answering two questions:

Is humanity safer or at greater risk this year compared to last year?

Is humanity safer or at greater risk this year compared to the more than 75 years we've been asking this question?

Scientist Bill Nye participated in the 2024 Doomsday Clock announcement and said: “For decades, scientists have been warning us of the dangers facing humankind. We could be facing catastrophe unless we better manage the technologies we’ve created. It’s time to act.”

Featured Image Credit: Anna Moneymaker / Staff / Anton Petrus / Getty