Virtual Tour: Turn Back the Clock

Artificial intelligence and disruptive technology

IBM’s Watson, an artificial intelligence (AI) computer system, became a celebrity when it successfully won $1,000,000 on Jeopardy!.

Since its founding, the Bulletin’s scientists have called attention to the uses of new technologies that possess the potential to “change life on Earth as we know it.” Like the nuclear energy that atomic scientists helped unleash in the 1940s, these technologies have the power to transform our civilization for the better. They also have the potential to threaten our existence.

The Doomsday Clock was introduced by the Bulletin in 1947 to raise awareness about nuclear weapons. Today, the Clock also reflects the significant challenges of global climate change and disruptive technology.

IBM’s Watson, an artificial intelligence (AI) computer system, became a celebrity when it successfully won $1,000,000 on Jeopardy!. But beyond creating a trivia champion, cutting-edge improvements in AI have led to Watson’s technology being used in voice recognition, business analytics and helping doctors spot disease more quickly. The Bulletin looks at the rapid development of AI systems like Watson to evaluate what benefits and risks may be created.

Looking to the future, the Bulletin has begun to consider new technologies as they think about how to set the Clock. Advances in artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, for example, have enormous potential, but also carry considerable risks depending on how these technologies are used. Issues around biosecurity and cybersecurity will also be considered as these arenas become increasingly more sophisticated.

This artifact is featured in our virtual Turn Back the Clock tour. Take the tour to learn more about the history of the Doomsday Clock and discover how you, today, can help “turn back the Clock.” Start here

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Take the virtual tour

This artifact is featured in our virtual Turn Back the Clock tour, based on an all-ages exhibit presented by the Bulletin at the Museum of Science and Industry from 2017 to 2019. Enter the tour to learn more about the history of the Doomsday Clock and what it says about evolving threats to humanity. See why Doomsday Clock matters more than ever and discover how you, today, can help “turn back the Clock.”

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