15 minutes to save the world - The Guardian

 

 

Playing the role of the U.S. president, Guardian reporter Julian Borger took part in a virtual simulation developed by IFSH nuclear expert Dr. Moritz Kütt and Prof. Sharon Weiner (American University) in cooperation with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University.

The VR experience simulates the psychological and physical stress to which the American president is exposed in the event of a nuclear attack.  When early warning systems report that nuclear missiles are on course for the USA, the president has just 15 minutes to decide how to respond and to choose between military retaliatory strikes that will kill between 5 and 45 million people, possibly leading to a nuclear war that destroys the entire planet. As the president is considering the options, sirens are wailing, advisors are talking, and important information is missing, such as whether the attack might be the result of a cyber attack, or simply a technical error in the early warning systems.

In his report "15 minutes to save the world: a terrifying VR journey into the nuclear bunker",  journalist Julian Borger describes his experience of the VR simulation, how difficult it is to think clearly and make a decision under this immense pressure.

The article from the Guardian edition of 14.12.2021 can be found here.