Ever heard of the Doomsday Clock? It’s been an ongoing effort by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since the mid 40’s to track the possibility of a world ending event happening. The closer the minute hand gets to midnight, the higher the chance is. It’s purely representative model (if the board actually knew, there would be other forces at play), but has been used as a symbolic way of bring awareness to the public about global catastrophe, specifically nuclear war. Today, it tracks for nuclear war, climate change, biological weapons, and mechanized warfare.
The clock as of now is set at 2 and a half minutes to midnight, the second closest it’s ever been to midnight. It’s down half a minute from 2015, the last time the clock was updated. It’s also important to know that the closest it’s been to midnight when the Cold War began… in 1953. This means that, according to the board, were almost as close to our worldly demise as we were at the height of cold war conflict. Obviously, this is a direct result of our countries brand new leader, recently inaugurated President Trump. His first few days in office have been stirring the pot quite a bit. There are already talks of a wall, Muslim bans, immigrant programs, and many, many other things.
The official report made by the bulletin referenced Trump’s nuclear plans and disbelief in climate change as the primary reasons for the shift, but what do others have to say on the matter. There’s sure enough, quite a handful of people who take the clock rather seriously, while many that its thing it’s a load of crap. I personally fall into the ladder group. Are we really that close total destruction?
1953 was a rough time to be alive. Coming off the largest armed conflict in history where a consortium of fascist lunatics almost conquered earth, the two biggest nations were now arming themselves to kill each other. Is the board trying to say that were close to having an event of that caliber occurring? Tensions between Russia and the US are low, and will probably hit an all-time low under Trump’s presidency. Trump’s inauguration speech seemed to suggest a United States that would become less involved with other nations, and efforts to increase global cooperation.
On the other side of that, we can’t forget to include the other aspects of this decision which we’ve mentioned before: the nukes, the Muslims, the immigrants, and so forth. The real question is: what’s going to happen next? As a self-proclaimed futurist, it’s part of my job to predict future trends, but even then it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen next. When I predicted the winner of the election in this article, I was wrong, and the bad part about Trump is that he’s hard to predict. As we discussed in this political analysis of him, Trump is very inconsistent with his political views, and sometimes brings up new ideas seemingly out of nowhere. Because of this, we can’t really see what the future holds, since there are no consonant variables.
Besides that, this article’s about the doomsday clock, and the clock was created with one reason in mind: bringing attention to these kinds of situations. By thinking about what change in the world causes the clock to change, we better prepare ourselves as a civilization and become more aware of what might happen next, which is good, regardless of the clocks real accuracy.
What do you think about the doomsday clock? Help add to this article by leaving comments down below!
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