'The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and the Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight.'
Extracts below. Nuclear war and climate change remain the two largest threats. It is interesting that 'information warfare' and 'fake news' are now recognised as contributors to the probability of man-made global catastrophe.
The "new abnormal" the world is facing from risks like nuclear war and climate change has led the symbolic Doomsday Clock to be frozen at the closest it has ever been to midnight...
"Though unchanged from 2018, this setting should be taken not as a sign of stability but as a stark warning to leaders and citizens around the world," BAS President and CEO, Rachel Bronson, said.
"This new abnormal is simply too volatile and too dangerous to accept," Ms Bronson warned at the unveiling.
Former California governor Jerry Brown, who serves as BAS executive chair, also cautioned: "We're playing Russian roulette with humanity."
In the announcement, the bulletin did acknowledge improvements in US-North Korean relations, but also criticised developments like increased carbon emissions from some nations and continued diplomatic schisms across the world.
The group cites nuclear weapons and climate change as the two major ongoing threats to mankind - and warned their risks were being "exacerbated" by the "increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world".
Herb Lin, a senior research scholar for cyber policy and security from Stanford University, spoke about the particular risks from "fake news" at Thursday's announcement.
"It's a terrible world in which rage and fantasy replace truth," he cautioned.
Best wishes, Neil
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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG firstname.lastname@example.org