Rather than work on my short fiction, "Burn," this week, I couldn't resist writing my thoughts on this topic.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has released their statement for the "Doomsday Clock" of 2019, saying that we're "two minutes from midnight; the closest we've been to an apocalypse."
To say that this timeframe is selectively pessimistic would be a grotesque understatement.
In summary, the article presents the idea that the world is only a short time away from completely destroying itself. Rather than looking at the amazing innovations mankind has made and is working to make, it covers only the dark sides of our past and present, along with its unrealistic predictions for our future. Its coverage of "continuing worrisome nuclear trends" completely contradicts what's happening globally, and references the breaking of treaties as an indication of imminent nuclear fallout. One of the more ridiculous claims is its argument of the danger of our relationship with North Korea, while as of late, President Trump has spoken on his strong relationship with Kim Jong Un and the country itself; meeting with the leader more than once during his presidency. One possible reason for the dissolving of nuclear treaties, which is a major concern of the authors, could simply due to their old and outdated regulations, which may not apply to today's new and improved nuclear technologies. The world certainly isn't going to turn into a nuclear wild west, where countries drop bombs left and right just because there's no regulation. The world seems to understand the results of nuclear fallout clearly and hasn't seen its power since 1945. It seems that there's no need to worry on this front.
The threat of climate change does seem to be a bit more realistic, while still pessimistic. The abandonment of the Paris Climate Accords by the Trump Administration may not be ideal for our nation or the rest of the 196 countries in the said accords, but it still isn't even detrimental, let alone apocalyptic. The Trump Administration is bringing working-class jobs back to the United States, boosting the value of our dollar and of our middle class. The President and Congress are both hard at work to construct a new set of policies to keep our corporations and industries regulated. While leaving the Paris Accords may not have been a grand idea, who knows who will be Commander-in-Chief after Trump's term ends, possibly as early as 2021. A new president, or possibly even Trump, could replace the U.S. in the Paris Accords.
The article also covers the destructive effects of cyber-crime and cyber-war on our planet and its citizens. While advances in technology do provide some new avenues for hacking, disruption, and damage to our society in certain cases, it almost seems that the "Doomsday Clock" completely avoids how beneficial our new renaissance of technology has been to the entire world. As technology evolves, so will the securities that accompany it. It's similar to the dangers of driving a car. While that may be true, the car has security measures to protect you while you are enjoying the ride. The benefits of traveling in a car outweigh the dangers. And, should you crash, the entire driving community of the world isn't going to park forever because you got t-boned. Life goes on and people keep driving. The same could be said for the planet, and to think that a few small (and preventable) attacks are grounds for getting rid of some of our most valuable and adaptable technologies is absurd.
This article, in the end, is vexatious. The way that it consciously avoids coverage of the benefits and breakthroughs we've made in recent history leads their entire argument down the rabbit-hole of fictitious exaggeration. The creators cherrypick their data carefully while avoiding any positive revelations or solutions our world has made to keep us from avoiding the apocalypse. While mankind has made many mistakes over our thousands of generations, we are far from stupid. We should be confident in our ability to find solutions to most of the problems we've created and problems that face us naturally. I would argue that the metaphorical countdown to our demise will rewind as we advance. Our dangers of extinction lie far back in our history when humanity fought with sticks and stones in loincloths. While we shouldn't rule out the dangers of our world, we should look for solutions, which is the survivalist essence of the human spirit. Let the pessimists have their doomsday clock. The optimists of the world will continue to dominate in innovation and creativity with unprecedented success.
We've made it this far; we aren't going anywhere for a long, long time.