What If Humanity Was a Type 3.5 Civilization? | Unveiled

What If Humanity Was a Type 3.5 Civilization? | Unveiled
VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
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In this video, Unveiled takes a closer look at arguably the most crucial stage of the entire Kardashev Scale - Type 3.5! This is the in between time, when a galactic power is trying to take over the whole universe... and, if humans ever get there, we could be unrecognisable as a species!


What If Humanity Lived in a Type 3.5 Civilization?</h4>


When thinking about the future and advanced societies, it can be useful to categorize what might happen into clear and logical stages. But, at the same time, real life doesn’t actually work like that. There are lots of unknowns and gray areas that we can’t possibly predict, and there are many routes that any one group could take toward its own enlightenment. We need more nuanced midway points, then, even on something like the Kardashev Scale.


So, this is Unveiled, and today we’re answering the extraordinary question; what if humanity lived in a type 3.5 civilization?


The Kardashev Scale is THE go to model for how civilizations should grow and evolve. At its core it's based on energy consumption and potential, with various, clearly defined levels - or types. Type one has harnessed the full energy potential of its home planet; for type two, it’s the energy of its home star system; type three is home galaxy; type four is home universe; and type five is the full potential of the multiverse. Today, though, we’re most interested in one particular part of that journey, the time between types three and four.


Rattled off on a list as we’ve just done, it can feel as though the jump from three to four shouldn’t be all that difficult to make… but, actually, SO MUCH has to happen. At the beginning of type three, our hypothetical civilization has only just managed to become an intergalactic species… but by the end of type four, it’s managed to master the entire universe. Which is no mean feat. And it’s why some view the Kardashev Scale as much too simplistic at face value, preferring instead to divide up the levels to allow for more and smaller milestones to be reached.


Between three-point-zero and three-point-five, the initial spread out into other galaxies is the first major achievement. At this stage, a civilization is well-versed at all your basic, entry level cosmic megastructures, and especially at Dyson Spheres. In its home galaxy, it’s possible that every single star now has a Dyson Sphere built around it, siphoning off the energy and sending it direct to wherever it needs to be. It’s a network of energy generation, but next it needs to be expanded outwards, and linked up to another galaxy, and another, and another. 


More Dyson Spheres will certainly be required, but such tech would now be quite standard and not especially innovative. For this reason, an early type three would perhaps set its sights on black holes and pulsars, as well; truly immense cosmic arrangements, where yet more energy could be tapped. And, if a Dyson Sphere around a black hole works anything like the proposed designs for a standard star sphere do, then these things would be almost immeasurably huge… and built to withstand some of the most powerful and threatening environments in the universe. A black hole sphere would need to span just the right side of the event horizon, working something like a border between the inescapable singularity and the rest of space. For this reason, a mid type three can truly be said to be meddling with reality itself, as they would now serve as sometime gatekeepers between here and the black hole nothingness beyond physics.


Such unbelievable power would show itself in other ways, as well, though… because, more than just managing the destruction of matter at black hole level, most variations of a mid type three are also wholly capable of creating matter, and on a massive scale. At this point, our civilization isn’t only about traveling to and exploring other worlds… it’s about moving other worlds, and building them from scratch. 


As we look out into space today, we humans are always fretting over the “habitable zone” that Earth so fortunately finds itself currently orbiting within. For as long as we’re positioned right about here, we know we’re safe… but should anything happen to move us out of our zone, then we’re probably doomed. For even an early type three, however, such existential crises just don’t exist anymore, largely because they have stellar engines at their disposal. These engines - the most famous design being a Shkadov Thruster - are capable of moving whole planets and star systems to exactly where you want them. This extraordinary ability would ensure that no world need suffer any sort of apocalypse wrought by the forces of space itself, because any unwanted conditions can always be sidestepped.


The creation of matter is slightly less ingrained into the many imaginings of Kardashev advancement, but it is being deemed more and more important in recent times. The British physicist John Barrow famously devised a reverse Kardashev Scale with his model aiming toward microdimensional mastery instead -  where progress is measured by how well any one group can understand the world at the subatomic level, and beyond. Barrow’s ideas can be applied to more traditional Kardashev civilizations, as well, though, if we imagine a society that can conjure specific and accurate materials whenever it needs them. The manipulation of atoms is increasingly considered to be a key skill, and by type three you’ll have mastered it so spectacularly that constructing entire planets out of seemingly nothing perhaps wouldn’t be impossible. 


We can head even further down this particular route, however, with the creation of life itself. One compelling offshoot of microdimensional mastery is that it should also lead to power at the cellular and genetic levels. Even today, humankind is already experimenting along these lines… but by mid type three it would be common (and simple) practice. To our minds, it’s as though the real, physical universe really is a sim-style video game, where the possibilities are endless. 


There would surely need to be some level of governance at play here, to first keep track of what’s being made, and then to ensure that it’s all being made for the best. Because there is certainly a dark side that’s possible, with custom-built torture worlds being generated for the sadistic fun of it, for example… or forgotten life being cast adrift to just suffer in silence, if its creator gets bored. However, it’s also easy to see how a type three-point-five civilization would be viewed as gods if it ever were to make itself known. 


At this stage of the Kardashev Scale, you are in full control of everything that’s out there, in your domain. There could be countless trillions of life forms that really do depend on your next decision… so, what would you do? What would your plans be if you were suddenly transported to a type three time? Let us know in the comments!


Whatever you choose to do, though, the bizarre and incredible truth is that you still won’t have completed type three yet, and that you’d still have a long way to go before completing the Kardashev Scale proper. Here again, there could be a big reason to worry… because who’s to say that a mid type three would exist on its own, free to peacefully continue its progression unchallenged? What’s perhaps more likely is that by this time, with a near total knowledge of the wider universe, any group that’s powerful enough will’ve also uncovered the existence of other equally capable groups elsewhere, and vice versa. And this could be a recipe for disaster, with intergalactic war erupting between all of the most powerful forces in the cosmos. For anyone or thing living under the guidance of a type three, there’d basically be nothing you could do but hope that you don’t get caught in the crossfire… while, for those at the top, calling the shots, there’d be a major possibility that everything you’d built could be lost.


Of course, there is again another direction that this situation could take, where all mid type threes meet and cooperate rather than fight. This, in itself, could prove the key choice to enable their rise to continue, to type four and beyond. But, what do you think would really happen? If advanced enough civilizations meet, are they then wise enough to avoid conflict… or is war an inevitable fact, no matter how intelligent society seemingly is?


In either case, we’re talking about limitless energy. About black hole draining, whole world building, true life designing superbeings. There are still flaws that they could develop and issues that they could face… but that’s what it would be like to be in a type 3.5 civilization.