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May 21, 2023

Kardashev Scale: Futuristic Civilisations

We, humans, have always evolved and reached a feat that no other species on earth has even thought of. We always pushed ourselves further and further and always used the golden word “why”, the small and simple seed of this idea has taken us from ashes to the stars, and always motivated us to keep finding answers and reaching new feats, and breaking our so called limits of intelligence and creativity, from caves to skyscrapers from stones to nuclear weapons from bullock carts to spaceships. Many of you would have wondered where we would be in the next 100 or 1000 years and have seen many movies on this concept for future generations. All these movies use the idea of the Kardashev Scale which was proposed by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964 thereby named after him. There are mainly three types of civilizations assigned according to their energy consumption.

Type 1 Civilization

We are currently type 0.7 which is close to type 1, meaning when we become a type 1 civilization we will be able to harness and be able to use all of the resources on Earth and be able to control the entire planet according to our requirements. The energy consumption of this civilization will be 4*10^12 watts. And our current power consumption is 2.81*10^12 so we are somewhere close to type I. According to physicist Michio Kaku if our energy consumption increases at an avg rate of 3%per year we will become a type I civilization in about 100-200 years.


Type 2 Civilization

Type II is a civilization that can harness the power of its star and manipulate its energy radiation using a Dyson sphere which is a big spherical structure that will cover up the star and use its energy this concept of the Dyson sphere was also used in the star wars franchise in which this tech was termed as a death star. This civilization has a power consumption of 4*10^26 watts which is huge since it uses the power of an entire star, it is estimated that we will become a type II civilization in about 3200 years.


Type 3 Civilization

This type of civilization is capable of harnessing the power of its entire galaxy and be able to control every star system in it and harness power of all existing star in its galaxy with an energy consumption of 4*10^37 watts we will reach this type in about 5800 years from now and this is most advanced civilization on this scale. 


Although Kardashev didn’t theorize a type IV and civilization beyond it because he thought a type IV was impossible. But type IV and civilizations beyond type IV have been theorized by some astronomers and physicists so let’s see what’s beyond

Type 4 Civilization

This is a type of civilization that can harness the power of its supercluster and even manipulate the fabric of spacetime meaning they will be able to manipulate gravity and become effectively immortal, having a power consumption of 10^46 watts this civilization will be able to control all of the galaxies in a supercluster.


Type 5 Civilization

This type of civilization will be advanced enough to escape our universe and explore the multiverse with a power consumption of 10^56 watts this civilization would be capable enough to build and simulate an entire universe and will have control over reality and change it according to their will. 

Type 6 Civilization

This will be a civilization that will be capable of manipulating the laws of the universe and would exist in megaverse meaning they will be able to exist in all of the multiverse and control each activity happening in every reality. With a power consumption of 10^66 watts, this civilization would be comparable to a god and have each and everything under their control and could create universes just by clicking their fingers.


Current status of human civilization

At the current time, humanity has not yet reached Type I civilization status. Physicist and futurist Michio Kaku suggested that, if humans increase their energy consumption at an average rate of 3 percent each year, they may attain Type I status in 100–200 years, Type II status in a few thousand years, and Type III status in 100,000 to a million years. 

Carl Sagan suggested defining intermediate values (not considered in Kardashev's original scale) by interpolating and extrapolating the values given above for types I (1016 W), II (1026 W) and III (1036 W), which would produce the formula


Where value K is a civilization's Kardashev rating and P is the power it uses, in watts. Using this extrapolation, a "Type 0" civilization, not defined by Kardashev, would control about 1 MW of power (e.g. the food consumption of about 10,000 persons), and humanity's civilization type as of 1973 was about 0.7 (apparently using 10 terawatts (TW) as the value for 1970s humanity). 

In 2021, the total world energy consumption was 595.15 exajoules (165,319 TWh), equivalent to an average power consumption of 18.87 TW or 0.73 (to 2 s.f.) on Sagan's interpolated Kardashev scale.


Although we still haven’t scratched the surface of becoming a super advanced civilization, we will surely reach this feat and break all human limitations and challenge the universe and prove that we can and we will be the one true dominator of this universe. And one more thing expect the future electricity bills to be in exponents.

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