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Doomsday Clock Strikes 100 Seconds To Midnight Again

by : Emily Brown on :
Doomsday Clock Reveals How Close Humanity Is To Annihilation Alamy

The Doomsday Clock, which indicates how far humanity is from catastrophe, has revealed its time for 2022. 

Established in 1947, the aptly-named clock was created by some of the world’s leading scientists as they looked for a way to indicate how much danger humanity is in. While midnight in the real world marks the start of a new day, midnight on the Doomsday Clock represents annihilation – making it a time we definitely do not want to reach.

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The clock was set at seven minutes to midnight when it was first dreamt up as part of a cover for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, though artist Martyl Langsdorf had admitted that was more for aesthetics than an actual indication of threat.

As the clock turned into a long-lasting metaphor, it was changed each year to reflect the state of humanity, with the latest assessment revealed today, January 20, as scientists kept the clock at 100 seconds to midnight.

Changes to the clock have been decided by a board of experts since 1973, and the clock was first set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2020. It was also kept that way when the clock was revealed last year.

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Of course, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that we successfully lasted longer than 100 seconds after that time was first set in 2020, but the clock is a metaphor, with its proximity to 12 representing the closest humanity was to annihilation since the clock was created.

Having just mere seconds until midnight marked a start contrast from where the clock has been in previous years, having been set at 17 minutes between 1991 and 1995.

The clock was initially created in response to the danger of nuclear war, but it has since changed to reflect whatever threat may be facing humanity, The Independent reports.

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In recent years, threats have included the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, online misinformation, artificial intelligence, and increased threats of nuclear war, among others, with so many possibilities making it clear to see why humanity had less than two minutes to spare.

Explaining how the time is set, the Bulletin website states:

We look at data, as physicians look at lab tests and x-rays, and also take harder-to-quantify factors into account, as physicians do when talking with patients and family members.

We consider as many symptoms, measurements, and circumstances as we can. Then we come to a judgment that sums up what could happen if leaders and citizens don’t take action to treat the conditions.

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The announcement of the time serves as a call to action from scientists, urging people to recognise that danger is a possibility that we have power to move away from.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: News

Credits

The Independent
  1. The Independent

    What is the doomsday clock and will it edge closer to midnight?