Doomsday Clock Affected By Terrifying AI Threat

By TeeJay Small | Updated

doomsday clock

According to noted experts around the world, the so-called “Doomsday Clock” has reached a status of 90 seconds to midnight, signaling impending human destruction. The clock, which is often used by scientists and military tech specialists to measure the likelihood of man-made apocalypse, has just rounded a second year of high-danger warnings. The latest issue plaguing the clock comes in the form of artificial intelligence, which has increased the spread of dangerous disinformation and misinformation, as well as a number of additional risk factors.

Doomsday Clock Origins

doomsday clock

The Doomsday Clock was initially constructed by scientists working on the famed Manhattan Project in the 1940s. The project, headed by J. Robert Oppenheimer and depicted in the recent Oscar-nominated Oppenheimer biopic, ushered in the nuclear age with the construction of the first fully-functional hydrogen bombs. The Manhattan Project instilled a great deal of existential dread in a number of scientists assigned to it, prompting them to start the Doomsday Clock project as a measure of how close humanity is to unraveling itself entirely.

A Rare Shift

doomsday clock

Since first being unveiled on a 1947 cover of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists magazine, the Doomsday Clock has shifted positions only 25 times. Upon its creation, at the dawn of the nuclear bomb, the clock was set to seven minutes to midnight, in stark contrast to its current position at a horrifying 90 seconds. Scientists behind the clock’s setting have often changed the time due to factors such as global military conflicts, nuclear threats, and increased risk of climate change.

AI Is Closing In

doomsday clock

The latest changes have been made to due terrifying advancements in AI, which threatens to have world-ending implications if implemented in certain government and military applications. World leaders have met to resolve issues on the Doomsday Clock such as AI, with a number of UN summits seeking to institute new rules and regulations on the potentially life-threatening software. If, for instance, an artificial intelligence program was given access to nuclear launch systems, human beings could theoretically be locked out of the process, causing the computers to take over like a globally-destructive HAL 9000.

Past The Point Of No Return?

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Of course, the team behind the Doomsday Clock have also referenced AI as a savior to humanity if implemented properly, as the bold new tech could help to automate difficult processes, lowering other risk factors. Even if artificial intelligence is used responsibly by every nuclear nation under the sun, it will be difficult to roll the clock back in the near future due to the ongoing wars in places like the Gaza Strip and Ukraine, which are each backed by nuclear nations, as well as encroaching climate change landmarks which are all but past the point of no return.

90 Seconds To Midnight

It seems these days that scientists are constantly warning the public that this is their last chance to act on a number of issues before it’s too late. With the Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight for two years in a row, it seems as though these warnings are finally at their boiling point. The world’s mightiest nations have a responsibility to regulate systems such as AI and nuclear arms, and place greater resources and attention on saving the environment, or the clock will keep on ticking.

Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists