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The End of the World is Nigh!

Is a phrase that mad, eccentric street hobos would shout from street corners in the past. As 2024 begins, we have to appreciate the critical juncture we are at. The Doomsday Clock was set to 90 seconds to midnight in 2023 and remains at that point for 2024 but there are some significant events on the horizon for 2024 that may yet inch us closer to midnight.


The future of the Earth lies in the hands of what happens on 2024

Unprecedented Year of “The Polls”

In an unprecedented wave of democracy, 4 billion global citizens, representing nearly half the world's population, and over 60 nations are set to go to the polls in 2024. This is the greatest number of global citizens that have the opportunity to have their say. This electoral marathon, however, is marred by the reality that not all elections will be free and fair. Despite all of this, this marks a critical point in our history where global changes in sentiment are likely to be registered in changes of leadership and ideology like we have never seen before.


The Echoes of History and Shifting Politics

In many ways, the scene has been set. The war in Ukraine has not only destabilised Europe but also sent shockwaves through the international order, challenging the post-Cold War equilibrium. This conflict, emblematic of the broader instability plaguing various regions, underscores the fragility of peace and the complexity of global diplomacy. Meanwhile, the delicate relationship of foreign policy with dominant economies and superpowers like China continues. This balance of power is further complicated by strained relations with countries worldwide, signalling a precarious phase in international relations.


Moreover, a global shift towards right-wing politics and nationalism has emerged, marked notably by Italy's election of a far-right leader in 2022. This trend is not isolated; Finland, Greece, and Sweden have also veered rightward, with Germany experiencing its most significant rise in right-leaning support since the era of the Nazis. These political shifts reflect a broader reevaluation of globalism and a resurgence of nationalist sentiments, reshaping the political landscape in Europe and beyond.


Overlaying Technology to Complicate Matters

This global, nationalistic movement is in contrast to what technology has promised over the years by making the world a smaller place - the Global Village. 


Artificial Intelligence stands at the forefront, with debates around the "singularity" – the point at which machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence – becoming increasingly mainstream. Depending on who you listen to, we have either already accomplished this singularity or its less than 20 years away. Whatever you believe, the potential for AI to redefine humanity's future is undeniable.


Social media, originally heralded as a tool for connection, now finds itself at the heart of controversies surrounding misinformation and propaganda. No matter how much the companies behind these Goliath's battle against the algorithms and misuse of social media platforms, the platforms continue to raise critical questions about the role of technology in shaping public opinion and democracy itself.


We’ve seen the rise and fall, and rise, and fall, and rise again of cryptocurrency. But one thing is for sure, Cryptocurrency is not going away and continues to challenge traditional financial systems, symbolising a broader disruption of central banks that we haven’t seen in centuries prompting a reevaluation of what money means in an increasingly digital world. 


Furthermore, the sophistication of cybercriminals increases by the day and threatens privacy and data security for citizens of the world, highlighting the ongoing battle between technological advancement and the preservation of “your” individual rights.


The Weight of the World is on “Your” Shoulders

As we stand at the crossroads of 2024, it is clear that this year is poised to be a significant turning point in the history of Planet Earth. The intertwining of political turmoil and technological innovation is dancing on a knife edge. As citizens of this planet, and leaders in technology, we bear a profound responsibility to navigate these waters with foresight (leveraging hindsight), wisdom, and a commitment to shaping a future that focuses on the well-being of all humanity.


While at this fork in the road of history, we must engage in thoughtful discourse, foster innovation that benefits society as a whole, and work towards a world that values peace, democracy, and sustainability. This needs to be accomplished  by considering the current climate, as the decisions we make today will echo through generations, laying the foundation for the legacy we leave for our children and grandchildren. Let us be mindful of this responsibility and move forward with a vision that embraces the potential for a brighter future. Let’s not allow that clock to inch closer to midnight!

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