Next week, the world will be on the edge of its seat as the Doomsday Clock, a symbolic representation of humanity’s proximity to a global catastrophe, undergoes its annual update. This ominous clock, maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is set to be unveiled during a livestream on Tuesday (January 23). As of last year, the Doomsday Clock has been ominously ticking at 90 seconds to midnight, metaphorically signaling the potential danger the world faces.
There’s a sense of anticipation, with predictions from outlets like MailOnline suggesting that the clock might inch even closer to midnight. Ongoing conflicts, such as the Israel-Hamas war and the persistent unrest in Ukraine, coupled with the relentless onslaught of climate disasters, contribute to this foreboding prediction.
Understanding the Doomsday Clock requires recognizing its symbolic nature. It serves as a metaphorical timepiece, gauging how close humanity is to a human-made global catastrophe, as assessed by experts. The clock undergoes an annual adjustment based on the perceived proximity to the total annihilation of humanity, often referred to as reaching ‘midnight.’
A forward movement suggests an increased risk of self-destruction, while a backward movement signifies a reduction in global catastrophe risks over the past year. Some years witness no change, indicating a stable global situation – a trend observed in both 2021 and 2022.
Administered by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit organization in Chicago renowned for its academic journal, the Doomsday Clock, though not an actual clock, is unveiled in a physical ‘quarter clock’ model during a significant event. The model finds its post-reveal residence at the Bulletin’s offices in the Keller Center, associated with the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
The timing of the Doomsday Clock’s update is a notable annual event. Every January, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists discloses the annual update, even if the hands remain stationary. The eagerly awaited update for 2024 will be disclosed on January 23 at 10 am EST (3 pm GMT) through a livestreamed event.
Esteemed speakers, including Bulletin president and CEO Rachel Bronson and science educator Bill Nye, will be part of this event, accessible on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ YouTube channel and website. Additionally, MailOnline will be covering the announcement live, ensuring widespread access to this significant moment of global reflection.