When Will We Be a Type III Civilization? Controlling All The Energy of the Milky Way

When Will We Be a Type III Civilization? Controlling All The Energy of the Milky Way


Now, I’m no futurist, but I think I can
predict one thing. Humans love to use energy, and in the future, we’re going to use even
more of the stuff. Let’s hope it’s clean energy, like that
handy source of photons in the sky: the Sun. Not dirty forms of energy, like screams, unobtainium,
liquid Shwartz, or using humans as batteries. Once we really get our hands on a clean, unlimited
source of energy, you can expect our usage to grow and grow until every human on Earth
is using as much energy as a small country. We will climb our way up through the Kardashev
scale of energy usage, from Type 1, to Type II to Type III. Type III! Can you even imagine
what would happen at that point? Oh, you have no idea what I’m talking about?
No problem. The Kardashev Scale was originally developed
by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. He looked at the advancement of humanity’s
need for energy, and then just extrapolated when what our future energy demands would
look like – and how they’d be supplied. He broke them into three types. A Type I civilization
would have complete and total mastery over all the energy of its planet. A Type II civilization
would be masters of all the energy produced by their home star, and a Type III civilization
would own all the energy in their home galaxy. It was a pretty clever way to categorize the
mighty capabilities of future civilizations, and it’s fueled the imagination of many
sci-fi writers. Where are we now along the Kardashev Scale?
How long will it take for us to unlock each civilization level? Assuming we survive, of
course. Kardashev estimated that the total energy
usage of a Type I civilization based on the amount of sunlight that falls on Earth. Our
planet receives about 2 x 10^17 watts of power from the Sun. Is that a lot? Is sure sounds like a lot.
In 2013, the total human power consumption was 12.3 terawatts. So, doing a little math,
we get about 1/14,000th the total potential power output that falls on the Earth. It sounds like we’ve got a long way to making
up that difference. But wait a second, we’re in the realm of exponential growth now, which
has a surprising way of sneaking up on you. Freeman Dyson, the famous physicist, estimated
that it’ll only take about 200 years to fully utilize the energy falling on the Earth.
That seems amazing, but when you consider that Germany was able to pump out 25 gigawatts
of power in April, 2015, it doesn’t stretch your imagination too far. Where do we go from there? Kardashev estimated a compounding energy usage
of 1% per year. And so, if you extrapolate forward from our current energy usage, he
figured it would take about 3,200 more years to reach Type II status, where we’re extracting
100% of the energy pouring out of the Sun – all 4 x 10^26 watts. Probably by using Dyson sphere, cloud or other
Dyson-related polygon. We might have to dismantle all the planets to do it, but that’s just
what we’ll do to keep up with our ravenous energy needs. I know you look around your house, see your
various appliances, and you’re unable to imagine how you could use that much power.
But trust me, you will. You might have nanofactories, spinning out furniture made of pure diamond.
Or a massive, planet-sized computer calculating the answer to life the universe and everything.
Or a console that’ll let you play Witcher 3 without dropping frames. When energy is
cheap and clean, all kinds of impossible ideas become reasonable. Continuing this 1% compounding energy usage,
Kardashev figured we’d be using up all the energy of our host galaxy within a few hundred
thousand years – 10^37 watts -, but that’s mostly because of the time it takes to travel
to from star to star. The Milky Way measures 120,000 light-years across, so even colonizing
the entire galaxy couldn’t happen faster than that. Imagine an entire galaxy, with every solar
system completely dismantled and every star enclosed in a Dyson cloud of energy extracting
solar cells. And yet, constant growth inevitably predicts it. Is that it? Is that as much as a future civilization
could colonize? Hardly, they would really just be getting started. A future civilization
with that much energy at their disposal would be able to expand outward at just shy of the
speed of light, eventually colonizing everything that the laws of physics would enable them
to get to. Eventually the expansion of the Universe,
accelerated by dark energy would bring their colonization to a stop. Galaxies would drop
over the cosmic horizon, forever out of reach. Vast cosmic power with no where else to go. Thanks to Kardashev, we’ve got a great way
of considering our place in the Universe. Assuming we don’t wipe ourselves out, we’ve
got a bright future ahead. What other topics in space exploration and
advanced civilizations fascinate you? Let me know in the comments. Well, were you educated and entertained? Edutained?
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100 thoughts on “When Will We Be a Type III Civilization? Controlling All The Energy of the Milky Way

  1. Nice video but I was a little bothered speed of light constraint on civ 3s. I think it is wishful to think a type 3 civ will have barriers that we can imagine from our "Neanderthal" stage. We relatively just learned of relativity and are just starting to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Who know what we will discover in the future.

  2. i really wish we become a type III civilization, so we can have solar powered roads that really work, and we can use thorium in our cars… for real.

  3. Witcher 3 on PC is the way to go..which brings me to the point that the future could be virtual rather than expansive.

  4. The only thing that happens faster than the exponential rise in population and in energy use is a collapse in civilization, in which, within a few months, nearly everybody on Earth starves to death.

    Most of the energy we use now is fossil energy, not solar energy. At some point in the future, fossil fuels will deplete, and it is entirely possible that instead of ascending to Kardashev Type 1 civilization, we'll fall back down into the Stone Age.

    Bridging our energy use from a primarily fossil basis to a primarily solar basis will take time — more time that we are going to have if our government and industry leaders, who presently are making big profits from the fossil fuel business — wait until the need to switch over becomes obvious.

    That's the most important intelligence test that mankind faces. Profits be damned, it is absolutely necessary to escape from our dependence on fossil energy. It must be done, or we will not survive as a species. At least, not on Earth.

    Among other things, fossil energy is the key that unlocks the sky. The reason for haste in space colonization, in making places for humans to live where they can meet their energy needs with solar energy (and with nuclear energy derived from extraterrestrially mined fissile elements) is that this must be accomplished while there's still enough fossil energy to plant the human and infrastructural seeds of space colonies. There's a deadline, even though we don't know exactly when it will fall.

    If things go as optimistically as you say they might, we could end up in possession of everything within 100 million light years, including the galaxy clusters in Fornax, Eridanus, Doradus, Canes Venatici and (best of all) Virgo, the biggest prize that we might get our hands on before the expansion of the universe carries everything further over the cosmological horizon. We do intergalactic colonization with nuclear powered starships based on the thorium-232 fuel cycle (half-life 14 billion years), with an automated process producing uranium-233 (fissile, half-life 160,000 years) at the optimum rate throughout the journey, directed by seven-fold redundant self-correcting AI, with digitized copies of human genetic code, likewise seven-fold redundant, to be given material form after arrival.

  5. i love your videos. i would and definitely support if you included more cgi for explaining. just to be able to include more audience for different intellect levels to share please

  6. I don't think that people will use that much energy in the future (as much as a small country) – but only because E.on would find a way to tax the bejeezas out of it… 🙁

  7. I think that II in 3,200 years is somewhat optimistic, say 4,500 years assuming no major disruptions, and then a couple of million until Kardashev level III.

    Then again, there may be a couple of completely unforeseen major leaps in technology that speed up everything.

  8. I'd love to see you address starlifting… you keep talking about disassembly of planets, but that's less than 0.1% of the metals in any solar system. Leave the planets alone, and you've got more than enough to fully sphere-up a star.

  9. The answer to life, the universe and everything? I can save you all the time and energy of trying to figure it out…
    The answer is: 42.

  10. You know what else constantly colonizes new areas, strips them off all resources and then leaves? Bacteria and viruses.
    If we continue to develop our ideas in that direction- we won't be considered anything more than parasites.

  11. We will never get to Type III because we would use all the particles in the universe in 8604 years. https://youtu.be/lpj0E0a0mlU?t=6m51s

  12. I don't think we're limited by the speed of light, I think we'll be able to create and utilize wormholes in the future, much easier taking a shortcut through space-time rather than travelling at near the speed of light the long way.

  13. As cool as being a type III Civilization would be, at the rate Donald trump and Kim Jong Un (Spelling?) Are going on, we're not going to get anywhere near a type I Civilization…

  14. People that have bright ideas disappear mysteriously. Me being a normal person that lives pay check to pay check to get by if i were to have an idea talk to someone about it two weeks later i commit suicide. I hang myself on a bathroom door KNOB or smethin. Lmao. Smethin stupid they try to force us to believe

  15. I am from a type three civilization and it isn't all you think it is sure we have control over a galaxy, sure we control loads of energy, and we can even go on holidays to the horse head nebula but we still can't play Witcher 3 without dropping the frames.

  16. Isn't nature itself proof that the best way to use energy is to have recycable, self-regenerating, self-sustained ways of dealing with energy that operate on low-wattage systems (life)?

  17. Perhaps they are type III civilizations in the very distant globular galaxies using all the dark energy in their galaxies for consumable energy.

  18. I think we are closer the K1 than people say, in 2010 there were over 1 billion motor vehicles in the world, each with an engine and hp is easily converted into watts, just like how any of those can generate energy. but I calculate all motor vehicles in the world add up to 149000000000000 or i believe 1.49e+14 watts, and thats just the vehicles, when you add up all combustion motors, then all power generators it becomes much higher. NOTE: This was assuming an average horsepower of 200, though semi's would have 500-1000 and small cars would have 100~ i figured 200 would be a decent average. My question is are they adding up all combustion power sources along with power plants consumption?

  19. This theory has always bothered me. Long before you harnessed energy at 100% on a planetary scale you'd have access to means to harness energy elsewhere. I'm not sure why you'd ever reach K-1, unless some external factor stopped you from leaving a planet.

  20. “MAN” destroys everything we control

    We’re doing it to our own planet.

    Mars is next

    Earth/Mars only chance of survival is when mankind destroys themselves

  21. Why not just create a super-matrix like VR where you don't have to go out and explore the endless space out there? Maybe the most advance civilization out there are all stuck in VRs and don't want to bother because they see no point in wasting all of that time and energy on visiting us. lol

  22. At the :25 mark it's mentioned that every human on Earth will be using as much energy as a small country. This might be the case for every human in space but on Earth there will be a limit as to how much energy 7 billion people can use because of waste heat constrains.

  23. Type 4 create matter out of nothing including creation of energy out of nothing and the ability to break the laws of physics

  24. I agree with Fraser. The planetary finder would have been the most important project. It would have told us if there's life somewhere on an Earth-like planet. However, you cannot sell that to Republicans many of whom believe the Earth is 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve were the only intelligent life that God created.

  25. But who’s to say that dark energy can’t be manipulated to make alcubierre drives? A couple decades ago, DNA was called the X particle. Now, it could give the end of ageing.

    TL;DR Watch this space.

  26. If all over world starts to use solar energy then we will be Type 1 Civilization. But earth still a Type 0 Civilization…

  27. Hey, Fraser Cain

    If the universe is expanding, does that mean that it will inevitably tear apart all sealed containers; is it possible harness that with a slow motion "reverse trash compactor"?

    And then we could just upload our brains into simulations, and underclock the simulation, and power it off of the expansion of space?

  28. Hopefully, we learn to control ourselves and readjust the consumption of each other before the energy adjusts the notch down on us.

    Before transitioning to even a type of something, we need to be part of it. Building it, not partitioning it.

    Be civilized and love each other to start.

  29. This is pure Frank Tipler. See his TED talk and the book The Physics Of Immorality.

    Colonization of the universe is a step on the way toward The Final Singularity, and the resurrection of all in the supercomputers of the far future.

  30. Am I the only one asking "How can we accelerate our energy absorption by a LOT, and do it faster?"
    Seriously, I'm 21 and I'd like to further the technology needed to accomplishments such as this. What does it take?
    Nanobots? Better battery technology? A revolution? 1% a year could be 3% or 5% a year, but we need to make radical changes.

  31. Shouldn't we aim towards zero… ok unachievable, but aim at lowest energy usage possible for ammount of work done, you know, like processors, electronics, ICE engines… etc…
    Something like microwatts per single person simulated in real time 😉

  32. Why would i want furniture made out of pure diamond? Seems like a HUGE waste of my energy. Wood or a wood-like material will do fine thank you. I'd like to think I could be far more efficient than using my allotted energy to build furniture out of pure diamond. And do i have to pay for all that energy? If so, just how will i do that? Or perhaps the super-intelligent Ai will allot my "deserved" portion, free of charge? I hope your just trying to make some kind of point Fraser. And once you have everything you might want, then what? Perhaps construct your own personal starship and zip off to explore the galaxy?

  33. This scale comes with a lot of assumptions.
    Number one,
    Geneticists will get full control over our dna in 250yrs from now if we stay on track.
    What does humans getting that kind of control over life mean?
    Are we going to reasonably terminate what we deem as bad
    thoughts and bad emotions?
    Is every human going to be optimized based someone or some groups vision of the future?

  34. That's a horrible way to categorize a civilization. Wasteful expanding cockroach like civilizations would be considered "advanced", whereas an efficient wise civilization dedicated to acquiring knowledge instead of senseless infinite expansion and multiplication will measure bad at this scale.
    But Kardashev spoke about the ability of a civilization to harness energy, not the actual energy consumption! Knowledge of reality is the important metric. And we can impossibly imagine how an advanced civilization may expand and use this knowledge and what role the energy manipulation (only part of technological knowledge) will play.

  35. Does the theory for Type III include how the energy is harvested? I'm thinking that assuming matter is used to capture the energy then it is more matter efficient to do Type II for each individual star within the galaxy

  36. this vision and explanation was very limited. we now have quantum computing and GE has a secret project that needs 100 million times the energy that your local electric company can put out.

  37. any advanced alien civilization would not need to directly tap it's parent star for energy due to increases in energy use efficiency. It would, however, be subject to it's star going nova or into some other undesirable mode. If a distant star is observed to be being "worked on", I submit the most like explanation is that it's being done to stabilize and perhaps halt normal stellar evolution to safeguard the environment of the planetary inhabitants. The most obvious goal of this work would seem to be the removal or transmutation of heavier elements into lighter ones, thereby regulating size and energy output to a long term stable mode…if a similar intervention of our star is not taken at some future point, a swelling up of the sun seems inevitable which would engulf the earth.

  38. In the future there will be stock trading in the form of galaxies and energy clouds, and I’ll be there selling Yeezy’s

  39. So I’m a couple years late but maybe that giant dark spot out there is just an advanced civilization that has populated galaxies

  40. Though this universe and the human race is beautiful. I do wonder how we will live, will there still be commerce in some shape or form and even governments. My mind is full!

  41. Could you do a video about type 4 (basic control over time and space) type 5 (multi-versal) type 6 (creationists) please
    You are very good at explaining things and it's really interesting to listen to you.
    I am unsure about type 7 as they would have transcended all purposes. Perhaps they would experience anything, anywhere across all time and space if they so pleased, maybe they are the source of energy itself.

  42. Could type 2 civilizations be the answer to dark matter? Billions of stars that have their entire energy output blocked, therefore we cannot see them, but they still interact gravitationally?

  43. I dont see us getting pas type 2.. I do not believe humans will ever develop the technology of light speed travel to travel outside the solar system

  44. Hey Fraser, I know this is an old video, but I hope you see this 🙂
    Is there a type of civilization which can control the huge molecular clouds and prevent them from collapsing to form new stars? They would allow the stars to be formed only when they need a new one. Imagine how long they could last…

  45. Type 0: sail to the Americas in 2-3 months
    Type 1: rocket to the Sun in 2-3 weeks
    Type 2: beam to Mars in 2-3 days
    Type 3: warp to the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy in 2-3 hours

  46. But if we remain at the center of your sphere…the cosmic horizon would be that far away…but if we can get the the location of cosmic horizon, relative to the center where we started, would the cosmic horizon be shifted to another unit of the cosmic horizon away from the location, which is the edge of the original cosmic horizon?

  47. Just because a civilization is Class 3 that does not mean they have to be or act like it. As to class 4 your description in another video is excellent. It would seem 1 thing could be added to class 4 that its residents basically define the rules of physics i.e. super luminary travel, faster then light communication and even time travel. That does not mean the laws of Physics do not exist just that can be modified or redefined by the residents of CLASS 4 Civilization. I add two other classes class 5 and 6, class 5 could be defined by anywhere and any when in the multiverse if the multiverse exists and class 6 as basically God or the ability to do anything at any time in the past or future basically anything one wills.

  48. I wonder if advanced civilizations would even bother to harvest stars… maybe they would prefer more compact ways to produce energy, like micro black holes, or energy from the vacuum…

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