The visible universe is a big place. Which has been around for more than thirteen billion years. As many as two trillion galaxies. It consists of nearly twenty thousand billion billion stars. Surrounding our galaxy. In the Milky Way alone, scientists have assumed that there are about forty billion Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of their stars. When we look at these numbers, it's hard to imagine that no one else is out there This would have changed our perception of ourselves forever if we had found others Just knowing that this vast place is not dead will change our perspective on the outside and may help us overcome our internal conflicts. But before we look at our new friends or our worst foes We have a problem to solve What are we looking for originally? In a universe this large and old, we must assume that civilizations start from millions of years apart and develop in different directions and speeds. So we're not just looking over distances of tens to hundreds of thousands of light-years. We are looking for a civilization from cavemen to the most advanced So we need a conceptual framework, that makes us think better ideas that make us look better Are there universal rules for intelligent beings to follow? Currently, the cultural specimen size is only one (we) so we might be wrong based solely on ourselves.
It's still better than nothing! We know that humans started out with nothing but brains and hands that could make tools. We know that humans are curious, competitive, resource-greedy, and expandable. The more these characteristics in our ancestors, the greater their success in the civilization-building game. Being in nature is good, but it is not the way to create systems or cities. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that aliens were able to take possession of the planets and also have these characteristics. And if aliens have to follow the same laws of physics, then there are metrics for progress Energy consumption Human progress can be measured very precisely by the amount of energy we have extracted from our environment and how we have made it amenable to do things. We started with muscles until we learned to control fire Then we built machines that use the kinetic energy of water and wind As our devices improved and our knowledge of materials expanded, we began to use concentrated energy from the dead plants that we dug out of the ground.
As our energy consumption grows exponentially, so does the capabilities of our civilization Between 1800 and 2015, the population size increased seven times while humanity was consuming twenty-five times the previous amount of energy It is likely that this process will continue into the distant future Based on these facts, scientist Nikolai Kardashev developed a method for classifying civilizations from cave dwellers to deities that rule galaxies. Kardashev scale A method for evaluating civilizations according to energy use The scale has been improved and expanded over the decades, but in general civilizations are divided into four main types.
A type I civilization is able to use the energy available from their home planet. A second type civilization is able to use the available energy from its star and planetary system A Type III civilization is able to use the available energy from its own galaxy The fourth type civilization is able to use the energy available from multiple universes. These levels differ by very large stages. It's like comparing an ant colony and a human urban area For ants, we are so complex and powerful that we might be called gods To make the scale more useful, we need to break it down into subsections.
On the lower end of the chain there are civilizations from type 0 through to type 1 Anything from hunters to something we can achieve in the next few hundred years These may be common in our Milky Way But a civilization does not send radio signals to space, even if it is close to us, for example, the closest system to us (Alpha Centauri), we will not know that it exists at all But even if they are sending radio signals like us, that may not be very useful. On a cosmic scale, humanity is nearly invisible Our radar signals may extend for more than two hundred light years, but this is only a very small part of the Milky Way.
And even if someone was listening, after a few light years from the distance our voices would be distorted into noise, making it impossible to recognize the voice as an intelligent species. Today, humanity resides at about stage 0.75 We have changed our planet We built huge buildings, dug up mountains, removed rainforests and drained swamps We made rivers and lakes and changed the composition and temperature of the atmosphere. If we continue with this progress and not make the Earth unviable, we will become the first type of civilization in the next few hundred years Any civilization that becomes of the first type must look outside, because it is likely that it is still inquisitive, competitive, greedy and expanding. The next step toward becoming a second type is to try to alter and dig other planets and objects. This could start with a base in space, moving to infrastructure, moving to colonies and ending with transforming other planets by changing their atmosphere, rotation or position. As civilization expands and uses more and more things and space around it, the consumption of its energy increases with them So at some point, they might embark on one of the biggest projects that could work Harnessing their star energy by building the Deson Swarm Once this massive structure was completed, the energy became practically unlimited to shape and change their solar system in the way they see fit.
If they're still curious, rivals, greedy, and expanding, and now they have complete control over their system, the infrastructure in place, and the full energy of their star. The next step is to go to other stars light years away. For a second type civilization, the distance to the other stars appears to be the distance between Earth and Pluto as it appears to us today. Technically within reach, but only with massive investment in terms of time, ingenuity and resources. This begins their transformation into the Type III civilization. This step is so far from us that it is difficult for us to imagine what these challenges will look like and how they will be solved Will they be able to solve the enormous distances and travel times that take hundreds of thousands of years? Will they be able to communicate and maintain a shared culture and biology between colonies light-years away? Or will they split into two separate civilizations of the second type Maybe even different factions Are there deadly challenges among the stars? So the closer a species gets to the third species, the harder it will be to understand what it will look like They may discover new physics, understand and control dark matter, and may travel faster than light We may not understand their motivations, their technology, and their actions.
Humans are ants, they try to understand these galactic beings A kind of second civilization might consider humanity too primitive even to speak to us Kind of civilization for the third. You might feel about us as we do about the bacteria that live on the anthill And perhaps they may not even consider us conscious or that our lives matter. We can only wish they were kind gods But the scale does not necessarily end here Some scientists say that there may be a fourth and a fifth type of civilization that extends its influence to galaxy clusters or superclusters, structures that contain thousands of galaxies and trillions of stars.
Ultimately there might be some kind of civilization (omega). Able to harness the whole universe or maybe others The omega kind of civilization they might be the makers of our universe for reasons beyond our understanding. Maybe they are bored Although this categorization is flawed, this thought experiment is already telling us interesting things If our ideas about the nature of species that make up interstellar civilizations are kind of correct We can be sure that there are no third and more type civilizations in the Milky Way Would their influence be so great in all eventualities and their technology above ours that we could never miss their presence? The galaxy should radiate with their energies in thousands of stellar systems We have to be able to see or notice their artifacts or their movements between parts of their empire Even if there was a kind of Third Civilization and they somehow died dead We could notice some remnants of their civilization But when the scientists looked, they found no remnants of star harvesting, massive ruined buildings or scars from large star walls.
So they probably weren't there and weren't In a sense, this is very distressing but also very reassuring It leaves the galaxy for us and others who are like us So the most promising civilizations to look out for may be in the series from Type One and a half to Type Two and a half They may not be very advanced to understand their motivations They may have completed their first mega-structural operation And they may be in the process of transporting material between the stars and sending massive amounts of information into space, unintentionally or intentionally They might also be looking at the stars or looking at others Um again, maybe we got it wrong Perhaps progressing to the second type does not mean expanding outward and humanity is still immature to imagine otherwise So far, all we really know is that we haven't found anyone yet However, we are just starting to look Until we finally find super aliens and ask them about explaining the rules of the universe to us, most of us have to learn things by ourselves.
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