The Kardashev Scale: How Far Can Our Civilization Go?
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We have come to a point where we can assume how civilizations are going to be in the future. Join me as I explain The Kardashev scale.
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The Kardashev Scale, ranks the technological capabilities of a civilization, according to the energy it is able to manipulate and exploit. The scale was invented in 1964 by the Russian astronomer Nikolai Semenovich Kardashev who was looking for signs of extraterrestrial life within cosmic signals and proposed a scale for ranking these hypothetical civilizations based on their energy consumption. So the Kardashev scale was developed as a way of measuring a civilization’s technological advancement based upon how much usable energy it has at its disposal.
The scale has three types that follow the scale of astrophysical structures in our local universe. The basic calibration is based on 3 energy positions on the scale corresponding to the ability to fully manage the energy resources of a inhabited planet (Type I), the star of the respective solar system (Type II) and its galaxy (Type III). Other astronomers have expanded the scale to Type IV and Type V.
Samples of civilizations that could correspond to the Kardashev scale are both terrestrial and other supposedly extraterrestrial civilizations.
Due to the fact that the American astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan wanted to classify our current civilization, he noticed that we are not Type-I yet and he expanded and calibrated the scale before type I. The reason why human race is not even on type-I yet is because we continue to maintain our energy needs from dea* plants and animals, here on Earth. We are just a humble culture type 0 and we still have VERY long distance to go before promoted to a type I civilization).
According to Carl Sagan, in 1900 during the Industrial Revolution period, our terrestrial civilization was at 0.58 while in 2012 it was at 0.72 on the scale. Freeman Dyson estimated that we will probably reach type 1 in 100-200 years, type 2 in the year 11,200 and type 3 in 100,000 to 1,000,000 years.
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Now let’s examine on a closer look some features of the 4 energy positions. What does each of these categories really mean in literal terms?
A type-0 civilization is based on energy which can derive mainly from sources where energy forms are mildly stored and are found before the specific type 1,2,3. Our culture today belongs to type-0, which uses sources such as coal, oil or natural gas. As we mentioned before, it is understood that we have not reached type-1 in the Kardashev scale yet.
A Type I civilization has complete control over the energy of its host planet. As a type I civilization, we would be capable of controlling Earth entirely. So this Civilization has managed to tame and consume the energy offered to it by its own planet, which it fully controls. It would, for example, be capable of collecting all the starlight that falls on the planet. However, the ability to harness all of the Earth’s energy would also mean that we could have control of all natural forces. The temperature, the climate of the planet could be controlled in the same way that we could control volcanoes, weather conditions and even earthquakes! It is possible that weaving or even earthquakes can be changed at will by this civilization. So we could influence the nature. At least that’s the basic idea. These things are hard to believe, but compared to the advances that can be made in the coming years, imagine that these are just basic and primitive levels of control.
The next step ? A Type II civilization .This is the next stage in the evolution of a civilization. At this level the inhabitants who make up such a civilization, can harness the power of their mother star, their Sun not only by turning the light of the star into energy, but by controlling the star itself. It would control the orbit of all planets in that system, harvest asteroids and comets at its leisure, and basically consume the entire solar system. For example, if humans survived long enough to reach this level, and an object the size of the Moon entered our solar system with a collision course with our little blue planet, we would have the ability to wipe it out from the ground. Or if we had time, we could move our planet, avoiding it altogether.
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