On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced that the Doomsday Clock remains set at exactly five minutes until midnight.
However, the Doomsday Clock doesn’t quite denote its name, but rather a ‘visual metaphor’ expressing the danger of a “civilization-threatening technological catastrophe.”
According to CBS News, the board conducts an annual analysis of international threats, with an emphasis on nuclear arsenals and climate change. The results from the analysis ultimately determine where the minute hand should be on the Doomsday Clock. The closer the minute hand is to midnight represents a projection of how much closer the world may be to doom.
The board offered a brief synopsis from their report addressing the pros and cons of technology and its worldly impact.
“As always, new technologies hold the promise of doing great good, supplying new sources of clean energy, curing disease, and otherwise enhancing our lives. From experience, however, we also know that new technologies can be used to diminish humanity and destroy societies,” the board wrote. “We can manage our technology, or become victims of it. The choice is ours, and the Clock is ticking.”
The board also issued an explanation in reference to the decision to keep the minute hand set at five minutes to midnight. According to Red Orbit, the board felt that the world collectively made ‘limited strides’ in reducing the threat of 2013.
“Overall, however, in 2013 the international community dealt with the continuing, potentially civilization-ending threat of nuclear weapons in a business-as-usual manner, meaning that outsized nuclear arsenals remain in the United States and Russia, and the nuclear arsenals of some countries—notably India, Pakistan, and China—appear to be growing,” the board wrote.
Although scientists did cite positive improvement and developments in the field of renewable energy, it was said that the worldwide effort to cease carbon dioxide emissions has stalled. The hindrance is the reason for the halt in climate change.
The board’s analysis determined that the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe is still high, which is the reason why the Doomsday Clock is still set at five minutes to midnight.
“We implore the Secretary-General and the Security Council to spur worldwide action in the following areas to reduce the danger that human technology will be humanity’s undoing,” the report concluded.
Image via Wikimedia Commons