CHICAGO, Jan. 26 (UPI) — Scientists will announce how close humanity is to extinction Tuesday by updating the minute hand on the “Doomsday Clock.”
According to the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Doomsday Clock is “an internationally recognized design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making.”
“First and foremost among these are nuclear weapons, but the dangers include climate-changing technologies, emerging biotechnologies, and cybertechnology that could inflict irrevocable harm, whether by intention, miscalculation, or by accident, to our way of life and to the planet,” an overview on the organization’s website reads.
The closer the minute hand to midnight, the closer humanity is to its own destruction. It currently sits at three minutes to midnight, up from five minutes the prior year. Scientists made the increase last year, citing threats posed by climate change and nuclear weapons.
The Bulletin was founded in 1945 by scientists at the University of Chicago who helped build the first atomic bombs. They created the clock in 1947.
The minute hand got closest to midnight in 1953, when hydrogen bomb testing by the United States and the Soviet Union led the Bulletin to set the clock at two minutes to midnight.