The Kardashev Scale is a general method of classifying how technologically advanced a civilization is, first proposed in 1964 by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev. It had three categories, based on the amount of usable energy a civilization has at its disposal and increasing logarithmically:
Type I — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet.
Type II — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star.
Type III — A civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy, however, this figure is extremely variable, since galaxies vary widely in size.
Researcher Michio Kaku quotes Dyson as calculating that Earth will achieve a Type I civilization around the year 2200. This estimate is based on a simple extrapolation of the current development rate of Earth's energy budget. Kaku has also stated in a Discovery Channel interview that this transition may occur 100 years from now, around 2107. He claims that the next generation will decide whether humans survive technological adolescence and reach Type I status. However, Kaku has also noted that there are significant hurdles mankind must overcome in time in order for our civilization to reach the higher statuses. A civilization which has not reached Type I status might be subject to the "uranium barrier" (global political and social development are behind technological development), ecological collapse (which would require planetwide policy to solve), ice ages, asteroid collisions and nearby supernovas.
Increasing levels of technology, Increasing levels of space exploration, space based energy sources increase, offworld civilization centers increase, increasing energy usage, increasing area of habitation.
Decreasing levels of centrality, societies and civilizations increasingly are not the same, due to time differences breaking single social bonds. The Nemesis extinction factor (every 26 million years), nearby supernovae, and the death of the Sun can threaten civilizations at these levels.
According to Kaku, Kardaschev has estimated the development of such a civilization at the year 5200, based on the assumption that energy usage grows exponentially at 1% per year.
Increasing levels of technology, Exponential growth in stars that are colonized, centralized systems increasingly draw resources from further systems which have not had their resources harvested–– driving increased expansion.
Decreasing levels of centrality, increasing likelihood of fragmentation into single star systems if resources cannot be adequately transferred from central sources, resource based wars may reemerge after disappearance during Type I. The death of the galaxy can threaten civilizations at these levels.
According to Kaku, Kardaschev has estimated the development of such a civilization at the year 7800. However, Dyson has argued that relativity "may delay the transition to a Type III civilization by perhaps millions of years" due to the light speed limit. Since our Milky Way galaxy is approximately 40,000-50,000 light years in radius, and our sun is about 25,000 light years from the galaxy's center, it would take at least 65,000-75,000 years for our civilization to reach every part of the galaxy if no way around the light speed limit can be found.
Increasing levels of technology, centralized systems increasingly draw resources from further systems which have not had their resources harvested–– driving increased expansion.
Slow growth in galaxies that are colonized due to speed limitations, making centrality impossible.