Stepping into 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 Professor 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 to hit the USA, the president has just 15 minutes to decide how to respond and to choose between verious military retaliatory strikes that will kill between 5 and 45 million people. The potentially resulting nuclear war could destroy the entire planet. As the president is considering the options, sirens wail, advisors talk urgently, and important information - such as whether the attack might be the result of a cyber attack or simply a technical error in the early warning systems - is lacking.
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 14 December 2021 Guardian can be found here.