In 1964 a Russian astronomer named Nikolai Kardeshev created a system of classifying advanced technological societies. They are known as the Kardeshev scale of advanced civilizations.

There are 3 types of civilizations on his scale, they are Type I, Type 2, and Type 3. Each successive civilization is significantly more technologically advanced. So lets start out with a type I civilization

Type I civilizations are fairly advanced. They control the energy of an entire planet, like planet earth for instance. This civilization has complete control over the planets weather, can prevent natural disasters like earthquakes, and they control about 10 to the 16 watts of energy, a huge amount of energy. This type of civilization still has to worry about things like extinction because of a comet impacting their planet. To put things in perspective the human race on this scale so far are about a .7, well below a type 1. Reasons for this are that we are still killing eachother for very irrational reasons, we have no control over the weather or natural disasters, and we haven’t been able to harness an energy source that isn’t running out. So we have a long ways to go. Some scientists have predicted that earth has the potential to reach a type I society by around year 2200, so really on a cosmic scale that’s a blink of an eye, that’s tomorrow.

A type 2 society is able to control the energy of an entire star, a star like the sun is average sized, or a little bit smaller than average, but compared to the earth its gigantic, and a type 2 will be able to directly mine energy from stars. A type 2 civilization will have explored at least its own star system and also have colonized several different planets. The energy that a type 2 civilization is able to harness is about 10 billion times the amount of a type I civilization. Good examples of type 2 civilizations from science fictions would be star trek, they are supposedly around a type 2.2 or 2.3 because they have only explored about a tenth of their galaxy, remember there are billions and billions of galaxies so even though type 2 seems advanced, it really is fairly insignificant on a cosmic scale. The civilizations in Star Wars are around 2.7 or 2.8 type civilizations. These civilizations are strong enough that they cannot become extinct and scientist have predicted that the human race could attain type 2 status by around year 5200. That seems like a long way away but again that’s pretty much a blink of an eye. The article I got this information from said that if the age of the universe was the length of a 24 hour day, 500,000 years would be the equivalent of roughly 3.5 seconds. So its year 2006 now, year 5200 is about 4,000 years away. This is like milliseconds on a cosmic scale.

A type 3 civilization is obviously the most advanced out of all of the types. This civilization can control the energy of an entire galaxy. It can manipulate space-time and they posess godlike powers. There is nothing that can make it extinct besides the end of the universe, and this civilization might even be able to fix that too. Scientists have predicted that the human race could achieve type 3 civilization by year 7800. So we’ll be long dead, but that’s really not that far away if you think about it in the right frame of mind. But as I said before we have to make sure we don’t kill eachother first.

http://www.futurehi.net/archives/000105.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale