A classification system for civilizations based upon energy usage.

The interesting property of this scale is that it avoids any attempt at predicting the exact technologies that any civilization might use since such predictions would undoubtedly be wrong. Instead it focuses on relatively objective physical measurements of the energy usage of a civilization which should be completely independent of technology.

Humans are currently a Type 0 civilization, using less than the full resources of the Earth.

-Back to the Transhumanist Terminology metanode

While I'll agree that the pithy analogies are an excellent conceptual tool, there are actual numbers attached to the Kardaschev Scale.

  • Type I: total energy consumption of between 1016 and 1017 watts/year. This is a roughly equal to the insolation of earth.
  • Type II: total energy consumption of between 1026 and 1027 watts/year. This is roughly equal to the energy output of the sun.
  • Type III: total energy consumption of between 1037 and 1038 watts/year This is supposed to be roughly equal to the inferred output of the Milky Way. But to be honest, I don't understand cosmology well enough to know what factors should be considered in making this estimate so I've no way to judge the relative credibility of my (single) source. YMMV.

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