Levels of The Universe That You Didn’t Know Existed

The Kardashev Scale


Harrison Zuritsky, Staff Writer

A Type I civilization, also called a planetary civilization, can use and store all of the energy available on its planet. We are on our way to reaching this type of status. To do so, humans would need to stop using fossil fuels, end global waste, create sustainable energy sources (like hydroelectric or wind power), and be able to thrive in these conditions. 

A Type II civilization, also called a stellar civilization, can use and control energy at the scale of its planetary system. An example of how this could be done is the Dyson sphere, which is a large ring around the sun that collects the energy which radiates from it.

This type of civilization can use and terraform a planet, making it suitable for life and spreading its species across the solar system. This would make the planets in our solar system akin to countries, since, by that time, space travel and the speed of engines would allow for faster and cheaper trade and transportation throughout the Earth and the rest of the solar system. 

A Type III is a civilization in possession of energy at the scale of its galaxy. (Think of the Star Wars galaxy!) We would have access to the entire Milky Way galaxy. Most of the planets would be inhabited by animals and would be extremely advanced.

Places like Coruscant (a massive city-planet in Star Wars) which homes over 5100 levels of city houses over 1 trillion people. Type III civilizations might use the same techniques employed by a Type II civilization, but apply them to all possible stars of one or more galaxies. They may also be able to tap into the energy released from the supermassive black holes which are believed to exist at the center of most galaxies.

Humanity would have access to many planets and would have travel that would be so fast that it could take just half an hour to three hours to reach another planet. Trade and travel would be so advanced that we would have so many resources at our disposal, new stronger metals, and more ways to create energy.

Kardashev believed that a Type IV civilization was impossible, so he did not go past Type III. However, new types (0, IV, V, VI) have recently been proposed. Type IV civilization harnesses the power of its universe and is effectively immortal and omnipotent.

A civilization this advanced could tap into the mysterious dark matter and manipulate the basic fabric of space-time. These capabilities may include instantaneous matter-energy transformation, teleportation, and time travel. Faster than light speed travel would allow insanely fast transportation.

The human species would be so advanced that people living in different places would look alien when entering a different planet than they were not raised on. The human species could be in the hundred quintillions.

A Type V civilization would be advanced enough to escape their universe of origin and explore the multiverse. Such a civilization would have mastered the technology to a point where they could build a custom universe. Once a Type V civilization has achieved this height, they would have mastered the physics of different universes, and thus, have almost complete control over all basic parts of nature.

The Kardashev scale looks incredible and somewhat impossible from a human’s perspective in this day and age. But it is definitely possible for the future. Physicist and futurist Michio Kaku suggested that, if humans increase their energy consumption at an average rate of 3 percent each year, they may attain Type I status in 100–200 years, Type II status in a few thousand years to ten thousand years, and Type III status in 100,000 to a million years.

Humanity can thrive but it has to put in effort in trying to change its energy use. If countries start investing in less military, more for space travel, and more efficiency with engines and gathering renewable energy, we could easily reach tier one within 50-100 years. Together, we can create a better future for ourselves.