Sorry, but the transition from Type 0 to Type I isn't anywhere near to beginning, much less almost completed. Let's take a look at it.

Searching the web for information on Kardaschev's system yields a tremendous number of references to the squishy concepts of energy of a planet, energy of a star, blah, blah, blah. What the hell is this? I thought this was a scale, not some silly heuristic.

The only document I could find that contained actual numbers for the Kardaschev scale (1) gave these as the important figures:

  • Type I: total energy consumption of between 1016 and 1017 watts/year.
  • Type II: total energy consumption of between 1026 and 1027 watts/year.
  • Type III: total energy consumption of between 1037 and 1038 watts/year.

What this says is that when humanity's total power consumption reaches 1016 watts/year we will have begun the transition to Type I and that when it reaches 1017 watts/year we will have completed said transition.

So how close are we? According to (2) worldwide energy consumption for 1996 was approximately 380 quadrillion BTU. That works out to 1.1 * 1015 watts, or about one-tenth of what we need to begin the transition. Obviously we aren't even close yet.

(2) also projects that global energy usage will reach 600 quadrillion BTU in 2020, or about 1.75 * 1015 watts. Clearly, we are still a long way from even beginning the transition.

The Kardaschev scale is explicitly designed to say nothing at all about specific technology, social condition, or species. It measures nothing but the energy consumption of a civilization, on the (reasonable) assumption that power usage correlates to technological sophistication which itself correlates to societal sophistication.

While Kaku may not be able to imagine humans reaching the necessary levels of energy usage while remaining a violent, fragmented race I have doubts as to whether we could ever get there any other way. The notion of violence seems too deeply ingrained into our civilization to ever be eradicated. Especially if you accept the argument that advances in medical technology will permit currently living humans to live to see the Transition it seems unlikely that we will be able to undo the memory of, and thus the capability for, violence.

I'm sorry to admit that I can derive no actual meaning from your write-up. It appears that you've given us three soundbites, rather than trying to actually argue a point. While this may be the best that CNN has to offer, I expect better from Everything2. Or maybe that's your point. I don't know.


  1. http://www.coseti.org/lemarch1.htm
  2. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo99/world.html