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Earth Politics

Doomsday Clock Remains at Five Minutes to Midnight 222

Lasrick writes "The Doomsday Clock remains at 5 minutes to midnight. In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and members of the UN Security Council, the Bulletin announced its decision and how it was made. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains." Reasons for the clock remaining at five minutes include the U.S. and Russian not doing much for disarmament increasing nuclear weapon stockpiles in India and China, stalled efforts to reduce carbon emissions globally, and "killer robots."
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Doomsday Clock Remains at Five Minutes to Midnight

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  • Re:North Korea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @02:44PM (#45967947)

    The danger from North Korea and Iran isn't that they'll use the weapons themselves. They know the retaliation would be swift and sure.

    The danger is that a weapon will turn up in the hands of an organization that would detonate it.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @03:08PM (#45968215) Journal

    It depends how you define "killer robot" if you are thinking cylons then no but if you are thinking about something like UAVs loaded with weapons and ready for war with operators sitting comfortably miles away from any danger then yes killer robot.

    I'm not saying killer robots don't exist and aren't a concern. Even worse than your scenario, killer drones are on their way to being autonomous -- no operators at all. So yeah, that's a big concern. But until they become Von Neumann machines [], they're not in and of themselves a probable direct cause of an extinction event.

    But I'm trying to be fair. Someone please explain to me how killer robots represent a potential extinction event. And not by causing a war. Wars have been caused by more trivial things. "Their king insulted our king" or a single assassination.

    In other words, does the doomsday clock actually represent significant threats to extinction events anymore, or just things that a group of scientists don't like? If the latter, it can safely be ignored.

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