Habitat in Space

Civilization Types – Future of Mankind

NAJAF ALI·TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2016

Since the dawn of humanity, starting with the cradle of humankind, we have been on the move as we left our comfort zones to make our lives better by stepping into the unknown. The point where we are standing now is the result of that long journey, driven not only by survival instincts but a greater force of curiosity, started by our ancestors since the birth of mankind. Each literal step taken by our ancestors will be a key point in defining the slope of the “knowledge-curve” of our species.
The first tool made for hunting by our ancestor caveman will shape the timeline for the invention of today’s technology miracles such as robots and heavy mechanical equipment. The invention of fire by that curious ancestor will determine the time taken by mankind to develop the most advanced internal combustion engines of current era. And, the first step taken by our ancestors to leave their birthplace, in order to find a better place to live with a greater chance for the survival of the species, will lay down the foundation of today’s efforts of space exploration and adventures.
It has been long since we started this journey, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years since our birth. But, we have an even longer journey waiting ahead of us. Lets talk about the path that lies ahead of us from an entirely different perspective, types of civilizations.
In the grand scheme of things, civilizations can be categorized into three types. This ranking is not according to knowledge, not according to the number of spaceships we have, and certainly not according to what car we drive to work every morning. This classification is all based on Energy. This classification was first done by a Russian scientist Kardashev (not Kardashian!). According to him, the civilizations can be divided into three types.
Type-I Civilization This type of civilization is the one that has controlled all the energy of its planet. Yes. That will include all the energy reaching to the planet from its parent star (Sun, in our case), the weather patterns, hurricanes, earthquakes, temperatures and so on. Nothing is beyond limits on its own planet for this type of civilization. This type of civilization will have mastered using all the energy efficiently available to them on the planet. And, sorry to be bearer of the sad news, but we are not even a Type-I civilization yet. We are getting there though. But, we have some ways to go before we become a Type-I civilization.

An illustration of Type-I Civilization using the energy of the weather
Type-II Civilization This type of civilization is so advanced that they are capable of completely harnessing the energy output of its parent star. After being able to control the planet, this civilization will require more energy to run its daily business and advancements. For those type of requirements, the only readily available source of energy will be its parent star and that’s what they will go for. This can be achieved with a conceptual Dyson sphere–a sphere shape device that can encompass the whole Sun and gather all the energy output from the Sun and transfer the energy to the planet with minimal losses.

An artist’s illustration of Dyson Sphere
Type-III Civilization A Type-III civilization is the one that does not stop at controlling its own parent star but goes beyond to explore other star systems and tries to use the energy of the rest of the billions of star within its galaxy. This is a true inter-galactic civilization that faces no hurdles with in its own galaxy. Whether its energy, communication or even travel, everything is well within reach.

Type-III Civilization
According to the above classification, we are a Type-Zero civilization. But, we are not stopping here and that is in our gene. Just like our ancestors did not stop building ships to sail to the unknown Islands, we will not stop making spaceships to be sent out into other worlds. We have nowhere else to go now but to expand out into the universe. This is our fate and it will happen sooner or later, unless (brace for the bad news!) we are losing the race to an already existing Type-III civilization in our galaxy, watching our every single effort to become a Type-I civilization as well as keeping us unaware of their existence. That’s a scary thought. But, nothing is out of the question.

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