Nikolai Kardashev, a Russian scientist, proposed in 1964 that civilizations can be classified based on the total quantity of energy available to them. He classified civilizations into four tiers depending on their ability to harness and use power.
First of all, we should realize that the human race is not even on this list. We are a poor, Type 0 civilization on Earth because we still get our energy from dead plants and animals. We have a long way to go before we are elevated to a type I civilization. We believe that, given all factors, we will achieve Type I in the next 100 to 200 years.
Type 1 Civilization
A civilization capable of capturing all of the energy available on the mother planet.
The total control over our own planet.
We would be able to control all-natural forces if we could harness all of the Earth’s energy. Volcanoes, the weather, and even earthquakes might all be controlled by humans! (At least, that’s how it sounds.) These achievements are incredible, but in comparison to the advancements that are still to come, they are only fundamental and basic levels of control.
Whether we like it or not, this is where we’re headed to. The good news is that we’d reach an ultimate peak; the bad news is that, because evolution can’t be stopped completely, we’d soon have more energy demand than supply. We’d have to leave Earth and begin absorbing other planets for their worth or perhaps directly drain our own star for its power. In our case, the sun.
Type 2 Civilization
An interstellar society capable of capturing a star and draining its power.
After taking full control over the home planet a civilization would capture its nearest star for the energy demands it needs. This is the next step in a civilization’s growth, and it assumes a degree of technological advancement that allows for massive structures. Here, Dyson spheres come to mind, which are massive constructions designed to capture the energy of the stars.
For us, humans. this means capturing our sun and draining its solar power to meet our energy needs.
Type 3 Civilization
A galactic civilization capable of harnessing a whole galaxy’s energy.
Type Three would be even more advanced, harnessing not only its home star and planet but all of the stars and planets in its galaxy. Long-distance, interstellar space travel would almost certainly have been invented as, for us, we’d have branches of humanity scattered across the Milky Way.
The physicist Michio Kaku has previously compared a Type Three civilization to something like the “Star Wars” universe.
A type III civilization would colonize and rule several solar systems across the cosmos. It would be able to collect, store, and consume all of the energy produced by the stars in that galaxy. Planets would be used as building blocks by such civilizations, which would be able to transport planets from one solar system to another, combine solar systems, combine stars, absorb supernovae, and even produce stars.
The galaxy is their playground, and everything in it is a toy for them.
But to travel long distances (from planet to planet) this civilization might still have to rely on traditional, physical travel such as spaceships.
Type 4 Civilization
A universal civilization capable of harnessing all of the universe’s energy.
The beings would be like gods, having the knowledge to manipulate the universe as they please.
Even Kardashev didn’t go beyond Type III on his scale because he thought a Type IV society was “too sophisticated.” He reasoned that this was the limit of any species’ capabilities.
Type Four Humanity will be able to manipulate spacetime to its will, and access time travel. The logistics of time travel are famously difficult to comprehend, to the point that some believe it might not ever be possible purely because of the numerous paradoxes and dangers it entails.
But Teleportation is a different, slightly more feasible matter. It already exists in the quantum world, so it doesn’t feel like too big a stretch that a far-future society (one with a whole universe’s worth of energy) should have developed it. In fact, the development of teleportation might even prove to be what pushes Type Three humanity into Type Four because it would be the thing that allows humans to visit other planets or galaxies in an instant. Even the most advanced spaceships may not be required after teleportation. The entire cosmos opens up to us.
Taking a vacation in the Andromeda galaxy might be a common Occurrence for a Type Four being. Type Four Civilization will have conquered the cosmos and everything in it, even phenomena such as black holes, which are currently mysterious to us. As a result, nothing will be off bounds. Although many of these possible achievements appear to be in a science fiction book, some believe that type four civilizations may already exist.
As I have stated, humans are a long way from ever achieving something like this. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be done if we take care of the Earth and each other. To do so, we must first protect our little home, earth, put an end to these conflicts, and continue to promote scientific advancements and discoveries.