Scientific Sense Podcast

Friday, May 23, 2014

Reaching Type II

Over the ages, many have wondered if humans could transform into a Type II society. Different definitions exist for Type II society, one humans could aspire to, most of which are related to technological capabilities to harness and use energy. Although this forms the foundation of measurement, a more holistic approach will be to combine such metrics with the characteristics that are likely in such as civilization.

In the status-quo society, humans are such poor users of available energy, most waste time thinking about sustainable population rates and running out of fossil fuels and minerals. The most popular worry of humanity today – global warming – would be such a trivial matter in a Type II society with zero cost energy. With a nice example of controlled fusion in close quarters, the Sun, which produces many times more than what is currently consumed if humans could harness what reaches the surface through highly inefficient current technologies, it is ironic that humans have not progressed further on fusion.

One characteristic of type II societies will be a dearth of tactical issues – problems that consume inferior societies, never able to solve them strategically. Such issues include, in addition to directly energy related problems, other attributes such as death, taxes, wealth, ego, pain and all segmentation schemes – such as class, country, race, region, religion and physical characteristics. There will not be any needs in a Type II society – such as food, health and information – with zero cost energy comprehensively providing food on demand, the cure for death making health irrelevant and all information permeating through every thinking cell. In Type II societies, with aspirations to reach Type III in the future, biological systems may simply reduce to thinking machines, with little utility for any other noise. If the status-quo Mathematics is the right way to think about it, then, all thinking cells have to connect in a massive network able to self propel to the next level of imagination.

To assess if a Type I society such as humanity is showing promising signs of moving toward Type II, one may measure a percentage of the population who could imagine such an outcome. By any measure, humanity appears doomed as most of the 7 billion appear locked in their own little boxes and an embarrassingly high percentage still looking to satisfy basic needs. The rest spend most of their time worrying about death, taxes, ego, pain and segmentation as if these are the most important issues.

Tactics weigh down on humanity and it seems highly unlikely they could rise above it.

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