May 22 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 9 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
Author William McGaughey interprets world history as five civilizations appearing in succession over the last 5,000 years, each introduced by a new communication technology. In the first civilization, humans only wrote in graphic form, then about 3,000 BC alphabet writing was devised, and this began the second civilization.
This eventually led to the invention of the printing press in China in 593 AD and the world’s first printed newspaper in Beijing in 700 AD. These events were the beginning of the third civilization. The fourth civilization started in the 20th century with electronic recording and broadcasting, which is now merging into the fifth civilization which utilizes computer communications and the Internet, and is still in its infancy today.
Leaving the communications world, futurists ponder where we go from here. In 1964, Russian astronomer Nikolai Kardashev introduced a method for categorizing civilization advances based on energy consumption which he divided into three stages, Type I, II, and III civilizations. Type I harnesses all the energy from its planet, Type II, its sun, and Type III, its galaxy. Others have since added Type IV, which controls extra-galactic energy including dark matter that makes up 73% of the universe.
Today, physicists rate Earth at Type 0.7. Astronomer Don Goldsmith. reminds us that Earth receives only one billionth of the suns energy, and that we utilize just one millionth of that; however with the help of advanced nanotech and greater-than-human intelligence, many predict we could reach Type I status by 2100 or before. (cont.)
As a Type I civilization, we will generate millions of times more energy than is available today. New technologies will enable us to increase space travel, control the weather (no more danger from earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis), and become a peaceful society where it is no longer viable to waste energy on intra-global conflict.
Radical technologies developed during the 2100s could thrust us into Type II status by as early as 2200, enabling us to mine all the sun’s energy. In Parallel Worlds, physicist Michio Kaku suggests that Type II’s would establish space colonies throughout their solar system and with development of faster-than-light-speed spaceships, explore planets orbiting nearby stars.
Kaku says that when we evolve into Type III, which forward-thinkers believe could happen as early as 2500, we will understand and control energies where space and time become unstable. We will derive enormous power from every star in our galaxy enabling instant wormhole travel to vast distances in space, and nanobots that can time-travel into the past. We will meet other species and join them in a Star Trek-like federation, and “boldly go where no man has gone before”.
Spending a millennium or so in Type III will finally bring us to Type IV. Wild dreams now become possible as we approach the ultimate limits of our journey through the cosmos. We control all power in the universe in this distant time, and can visit our ‘other selves’ in parallel universes. We can even form new ‘baby’ universes and play “creator” to exotic life forms that evolve. Type IV’s will roam throughout the ‘multiverse’ in a never-ending quest for new intelligence.
Although it took 2 million years for our species to leave the safety of the forests and build a modern civilization, it may take only a few hundred years to leave our friendly solar system and begin this amazing adventure to the stars.
Many dream of this future, but the world now stands at a turning point, socially and politically. Can humanity proceed without destroying itself? If we focus on a “magical future” instead of relatively insignificant grievances, the answer is an enthusiastic yes.