Planetary civilization

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A planetary or a Type I civilization is capable of consuming all of the incoming energy from its neighboring star, or about 1017 watts for Earth.

A planetary civilization or global civilization is a civilization of Type I on Kardashev scale, with energy consumption levels near that of a contemporary terrestrial civilization (near 1012 watts), with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on Earth (between 1016 and 1017 watts). In social aspect – the worldwide, global, increasingly interconnected, international, highly technological society.

Planetary civilization – Type I civilization on Kardashev scale[edit]

Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in a work "Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations", published in 1964, proposed the scale of technological development of civilization, based on the amount of energy that civilization is able to utilize,[1] then named Kardashev scale.

A Type I civilization is planetary, consuming all energy that is available from a neighboring star, or about 1017 watts. A Type II civilization is stellar, consuming all the energy that their star emits, or 1027 watts. A type III civilization is galactic, consuming the energy of billions of stars, or about 1037 watts.[2]

Carl Sagan suggested defining intermediate values (not considered in Kardashev's original scale) by interpolating and extrapolating, according to his calculations, the modern state of the present human civilization is expressed by a value about 0.7.[3]

Transition to a planetary civilization[edit]

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, in a book, Physics of the Future, published in 2011, stated that humans with an average economic growth may attain planetary civilization status in 100 years.[2]

But where is all this technological change leading? Where is the final destination in this long voyage into science and technology?

The culmination of all these upheavals is the formation of planetary civilization, what physicists call a Type I civilization. This transition is perhaps the greatest transition in history, marking a sharp departure from all civilizations of the past.

Every headline that dominates the news reflects, in some way, the birth pangs of the planetary civilization. Commerce, trade, culture, language, entertainment, leisure activities, and even war are all being revolutionized by the emergence of this planetary civilization.

Danger of a transition to a planetary civilization[edit]

Michio Kaku, in his interview "Will Mankind Destroy Itself?" with the website "Big Think" discusses a danger of a transition to a planetary civilization. The danger period is now, because we still have the savagery, but we also have nuclear weapons:

So whenever I open the newspaper every headline I see in the newspaper points to the birth pangs of a type one civilization information. However, every time I open the newspaper I also see the opposite trend as well. What is terrorism? Terrorism in some sense is a reaction against the creation of a type one civilization. Now most terrorists cannot articulate this. They don’t even know what the hell I’m talking about, but what they’re reacting to is not modernism. What they’re reacting to is the fact that we’re headed toward a multicultural tolerant scientific society and that is what they don’t want. They don’t want science. They want a theocracy. They don’t want multiculturalism. They want monoculturalism. So instinctively they don’t like the march toward a type one civilization. Now which tendency will win? I don’t know, but I hope that we emerge as a type one civilization.

— Michio Kaku, "Will Mankind Destroy Itself?", 2010[4]

In science fiction[edit]

Planetary civilizations are various civilizations we see in science fiction. Michio Kaku qualifies as one of a typical Type I civilization would be that of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon, where an entire planet's energy resources have been developed. They can control all planetary sources of energy, so they might be able to control or modify the weather at will, harness the power of a hurricane, or have cities on the oceans. Although they roam the heavens in rockets, their energy output is still largely confined to a planet.[2]

Next status – stellar civilization[edit]

On the Kardashev scale, the next status is a stellar civilization, a Type II on the scala, where a civilization consumes all the energy that their star emits, or about 1027 watts. Michio Kaku in the book "Physics of the Future" suggests that humans may attain stellar civilization status in a few thousand years.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kardashev, Nikolai (1964). "Transmission of Information by Extraterrestrial Civilizations". Soviet Astronomy. 8: 217. Bibcode:1964SvA.....8..217K.
  2. ^ a b c d Kaku, Michio (March 2011). Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-53080-4.
  3. ^ Sagan, Carl (October 2000) [1973]. Jerome Agel (ed.). Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective. Freeman J. Dyson, David Morrison. Cambridge Press. ISBN 0-521-78303-8. Retrieved 2008-01-01. I would suggest Type 1.0 as a civilization using 1016 watts for interstellar communication; Type 1.1, 1017 watts; Type 1.2, 1018 watts, and so on. Our present civilization would be classed as something like Type 0.7.
  4. ^ "Will Mankind Destroy Itself? - Video". Retrieved 6 November 2017.

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