"Atomic Scientists Keep 'Doomsday Clock' As Close To Midnight As Ever"

"WASHINGTON - Atomic scientists on Tuesday kept their "Doomsday Clock" set as close to midnight as ever before, citing Russia's actions on nuclear weapons amid its invasion of Ukraine, nuclear-armed Israel's Gaza war and worsening climate change as factors driving the risk of global catastrophe.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, as they did last year, set the clock at 90 seconds to midnight - the theoretical point of annihilation. Scientists set the clock based on "existential" risks to Earth and its people: nuclear threats, climate change and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and new biotechnology.

"Conflict hot spots around the world carry the threat of nuclear escalation, climate change is already causing death and destruction, and disruptive technologies like AI and biological research advance faster than their safeguards," Rachel Bronson, the Bulletin's president and CEO, told Reuters, adding that keeping the clock unchanged from the prior year is "not an indication that the world is stable.""

Will Dunham reports for Reuters January 23, 2024.

Source: Reuters, 01/25/2024