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Understanding the Doomsday Clock and Its Significance in 2021

Humanity is closer to annihilation than ever before, with the Doomsday Clock set at 100 seconds to midnight.

The Doomsday Clock, a dramatic metaphor established in 1947 by leading scientists, symbolizes how close humanity is to catastrophe. At 100 seconds to midnight, the time is closer than ever before, reflecting increased threats of nuclear war, Covid-19, climate change, online misinformation, artificial intelligence, and other dangers. The clock was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group of concerned experts formed at the beginning of the nuclear age, and has since become widely used as a way of indicating the level of danger humanity faces. While it was initially created in response to the danger of nuclear war, the clock has evolved to adjust to whatever form those threats take, with a focus on climate change in recent years. The clock is intended as a call to action and a warning to politicians, emphasizing that it is not a prediction of the future but an indication of where we are right now. The Bulletin likens itself to a doctor making a diagnosis, considering data and harder-to-quantify factors to come to a judgment that sums up what could happen if leaders and citizens don't take action to treat the conditions.

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