When Barack Obama becomes the first serving US president to visit Hiroshima on May 27, there is one group of atomic bomb survivors who will certainly not be there to watch his motorcade drive through the city. These are the North Korean victims of the atomic bombing, a group whose existence remains virtually unknown and unmentioned in the heated international debates about the North Korean nuclear threat.
In the American press, there has been much discussion of Germany’s Energiewende—a plan that not only aims for a nearly carbon-free economy by 2050, but also seeks to achieve this ambitious goal with no nuclear power at all.
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies is an astonishing book with an alarming thesis: Intelligent machines are “quite possibly the most important and most daunting challenge humanity has ever faced.” In it, Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom, who has built his reputation on the study of “existential risk,” argues forcefully that artificial intelligence might be the most apocalyptic technology of all.
In its Voices of Tomorrow feature, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invites graduate students, undergraduates, and high school scholars to submit essays, opinion pieces, and multimedia presentations addressing at least one of the Bulletin's core issues: nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, biosecurity, and threats from emerging technologies.
Life online is becoming as ubiquitous as life itself, yet how much do we really know about the vast virtual spaces we spend so much time in?
Over the past decade, unmanned aerial vehicles—commonly known as drones—have become the centerpiece of US efforts to use technology to keep military personnel away from the battlefield. The growing ability to fight wars even while removing US troops from harm’s way has important consequences for the use of military force.
Engineers built the Panama Canal to make a viable North American shipping route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They likely didn’t expect that their descendants would create another one through global warming.
A Trump presidency may seem increasingly improbable, but it also still remains conceivable. This means, among other things, that a President Trump armed with America’s nuclear codes is still more-or-less plausible. It therefore follows that if this particular conjunction should come to pass on Inauguration Day in January 2017, a number of genuinely urgent issues concerning presidential war authority would require our rivetingly prompt attention.
As we approach Labor Day Weekend, there is an easily overlooked anniversary coming up. On August 31, it will be 70 years to the day since John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” was published in the pages of The New Yorker.