Inspired by "Mercy, Mercy Me" by Marvin Gaye
IT IS Two Minutes To Midnight
The Doomsday Clock is a metaphor for potential existential threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technological advances. In January 2018, the Clock was set to the smallest number of minutes to midnight since 1953. This piece was written to raise awareness of the existential threats of nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive information technology.
The failure of world leaders to address the largest threats to humanity's future is lamentable - but that failure can be reversed. It is two minutes to midnight, but the Doomsday Clock has ticked away from midnight in the past, and during the next year, the world can again move it further from apocalypse. The warning the Science and Security Board now sends is clear, the danger obvious and imminent. The opportunity to reduce the danger is equally clear. The world has seen the threat posed by the misuse of information technology and witnessed the vulnerability of democracies to disinformation. But there is a flip side to the abuse of social media. Leaders react when citizens insist they do so, and citizens around the world can use the power of the Internet to improve the long-term prospects of their children and grandchildren. They can insist on facts, and discount nonsense. They can demand action to reduce the existential threat of nuclear war and unchecked climate change. They can seize the opportunity to make a safer and saner world.
-Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 25 January, 2018