Advanced Civilizations and Mastery of Galactic Forms of Energy

Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, wrote a fascinating article in COSMOS magazine comparing our current state of knowledge and "level" of civilization with what is possible in the universe.

In a seminal paper published in 1964 in the Journal of Soviet Astronomy, Russian astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev theorised that advanced civilisations must thus be grouped according to three Types: I, II and III, signifying mastery of, respectively, planetary, stellar and galactic forms of energy usage. He calculated that the energy consumption of these three types of civilisations would be separated by a factor of about 10 billion.

Where are we right now? Not even type I (according to Carl Sagan, we're at 0.7!), but we're getting getting there! There are already evidence everywhere of an emerging Type I civilization.

It's a fascinating read: in the article, Michio speculates about von Neumann probes visiting Earth, the perils of encountering Type III civilization, harnessing the energy equivalent to that of a blackhole, and more!

Link - via Gizmodo

The colored woodcut above is by Austrian artist Heikenwaelder Hugo, titled Universum (1998). It is inspired by the black and white Flammarian Woodcut (c. 1888).

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That's a good point, ivan - advancement in technology without advancement in societal value/political maturity is surely a death sentence for any society.
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I also wonder whether it is possible for any civilization to achieve the more advanced levels before annihilating themselves from existence. Possible, but quite improbable.

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*Carl Saga_n_

also 'harnessing the energy equivalent to that of a blackhole' is'nt really saying anything because as far as i've read - they can conceivably be any size and therefore contain even the smallest amount of info/energy.
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