We know that we are not alone in this universe. We also know that we are not the first of civilizations to flourish on a planet. Though artificial intelligence is the talk of the century, we shouldn’t kid ourselves as beings that are technologically advanced.
In order to make sense as to where exactly the human civilization stands in the cosmos, considering hypothetically that other civilizations exist, Nikolai S Kardashev- a Russian astrophysicist designed a scale to measure how advanced a Civilizations technological achievements are based on the amount of energy that it can harness. This scale is known as the Kardashev scale.
Initially Kardashev came up with 3 types of cosmic Civilizations, which has now been expanded to 7 types depending not only on communication technology but also other advanced technologies.
Type 1 Civilization
According to Kardashev, the type 1 civilization is also called as the planetary civilization. This civilization should have the potential to harness all the energy of its home planet, harness all the energy that reaches the home planet ( solar) and all the energy it can produce (wind, thermal etc). You are wrong if you think that the human civilization belongs to the type 1 civilizations. The world renowned physicist Michio Kaku feels that, a type 1 civilization should be able to control earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, the weather and will probably be building ocean cities. He thinks that it will take another 100-200 years for humans to be classified as type 1 civilization. Currently, we are at 0.7 on the way to being a planetary civilization.
Type 2 Civilization
They are also known as interplanetary civilizations, capable of drawing energy from other planets. If this seems to a be a big feat, the type 2 Civilizations have the potential to harness the total energy of a star. A megastructure will be required if we need to harness all of sun’s energy. In 1960, mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson, designed the “Dyson Sphere”. A structure that would completely enclose a star, capture all its energy, and then be able to transfer that energy for use by the home planet. To enclose the sun, a structure as big as 600 million times greater than the surface area of the Earth is required. Whew!
This is a major reason why SETI- The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is looking for Dyson Spheres. Where the Dyson sphere is, there is sure to be alien life.
It will take the human civilization another 1000-2000 years to reach this level.
Type 3 Civilization
This type of civilization will have the potential to harness the energy of the entire galaxy. It will take the human race 100,000 years to become a type 3 civilization, by then, probably we would never exist.
Type 4 Civilization
This type of civilization will be able to harness the energy of the entire universe.
Type 5 Civilization
This civilization will have the potential to harness the energy of multiple universes or “multiverse”
Type 6 Civilization
This civilization will be capable of performing God like activities. They will be able to control time and space and create universes at will.
Type 7 Civilization
The human mind is not capable of imagining stuff that this type of civilization will be capable of.
So, when it comes to where we stand, we are still technological infants slowly crawling through time, yet pretending to own a planet as big as ours.