Humanity remains dangerously close to apocalypse

Is doomsday almost here?

The time on the symbolic Doomsday Clock — designed by scientists to measure how close the world is to an apocalypse — will be recalibrated next week.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will host a live virtual news conference at 10 am EST on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to announce whether the time on the iconic end-of-days clock will change.

The time on the Doomsday Clock in the 2022 update was set at 100 seconds until “midnight,” for the third year in a row, with experts calling the threats “disturbing.”

The previous year, scientists called it a “historic wakeup call.”

“We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds — not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency — an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the group, said in 2021.

In 2020, it first moved to 100 seconds before midnight — the most alarming countdown in years.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will announce whether or not the countdown to the apocalypse will be updated next week.
AFP via Getty Images

At the time of the “historic wakeup call,” the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — which includes 13 Nobel laureates — cited nuclear war, climate change, cyber-enabled information warfare and the dire erosion of international security and political infrastructure as the most pressing threats to humanity.

But nothing seemed to change. Last year, the world was deemed “no safer.”

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists organization was founded in 1945 by Albert Einstein and other scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapons during the Second World War.

Doomsday Clock presentation
The time on the Doomsday Clock in the 2022 update was set at 100 seconds until “midnight,” for the third year in a row, with experts calling the threats “disturbing.”
AFP via Getty Images

They created the first Doomsday Clock during the Cold War in 1947 as a warning of the dangers of nuclear war. It was originally set to seven minutes before midnight and has been moved 24 times — backward 17 times and forward seven times. 

The clock is described as “a metaphor” and “a reminder of the perils we must address if we are to survive on the planet” as a warning to “the public about how close we are to destroying our world with dangerous technologies of our own making.”

Humanity was supposedly the safest in 1991, when the hands were furthest from midnight, set at 17 minutes until the apocalypse as the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — ending the Cold War and reducing the threat of nuclear war.

To calculate the countdown to doomsday this year, the bulletin will take into account the Russia-Ukraine war, biological threats, proliferation of nuclear weapons, continued climate crisis, state-sponsored disinformation campaigns and disruptive technologies. 

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