Technology has made huge strides in the last century than at any other point in the life of humans. We can safely say that we are much more advanced than what we were before even 5 years. It has come to such a pass that we have become a part of technology as much as technology becoming a part of us. But, we don’t have a standard or a scale to measure our progress against. Are we technologically that advanced? How do we measure how advanced we really are? Considering our current state of technological progress, how far can we really advance? In fact, scientists, sociologists and anthropologists have wrestled with these questions for long, to understand the past, make sense of the present and predict the future. One thing they all seem to be agreeing upon is the pre-eminence of technological progress in driving the development of human civilization.
According to Wikipedia, Leslie White an American anthropologist, believed that culture–meaning the total of all human cultural activity on the planet–is evolving. He argued that it is the technology which is the primary determining factor responsible for the cultural evolution. He proposed a law and introduced a formula to justify his stance.
White’s law states that the measure by which to judge the relative degree of evolvedness of culture was the amount of energy it could capture (energy consumption).
C = ET,
where E is a measure of energy consumed per capita per year, T is the measure of efficiency of technical factors utilising the energy and C represents the degree of cultural development.
Kardashev, a Russian astrophysicist improved upon the premise and he came up with the idea that some galactic civilizations would be perhaps millions or billions of years ahead of us, and created the Kardashev scale (refer Wikipedia article) to rank such civilizations, based on energy consumption.
He classified civilizations into the following types,
Technological level of a civilization that can harness all the energy that falls on a planet from its parent star (4 × 10 power 12 watts).
A civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star— The energy utilization would then be comparable to the luminosity of our Sun, about 4×10 power 26 watts.
A civilization in possession of energy on the scale of its own galaxy, a civilization with access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy, about 4×10 power 37 watts.
According to this article A Brief Explanation of the Kardashev Scale: How Far Can Humanity Really Advance? by Jolene Creighton in futurism website, about human civilization,
‘This civilization extracts its energy and raw-materials from crude organic-based sources such as wood, coal, and oil. Any rockets utilized by such a civilization would necessarily depend on chemical propulsion. Since such travel is so pitifully slow, a civilization at this level would be (for the most part) confined to its home planet. Unfortunately, this is about where we are. We haven’t quite made it to Type I yet.’
Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center, has suggested that humans may attain Type I status in 100–200 years, Type II status in a few thousand years, and Type III status in 100,000 to a million years!
According to the astronomer Carl Sagan, humanity is going through a phase of technical adolescence, “typical of a civilization about to integrate the type I Kardashev scale.”
So, folks we are not all that technologically advanced as we believe we are. So, other technovices like me can take heart in the fact that today’s tech savvy kids are tomorrow’s technovice adults. Not all. But, at least some.
However, the technology landscape as we know it is going to reach an inflection point according to scientists, where we would not even be able to imagine, much less forecast what the future is going to be like. They call it Technological Singularity. Sounds interesting. Right? But you will have to wait another week to read about it.
Disclaimer: This is curated blog post containing content curated from sources on the internet, to make technology less intimidating and more interesting.