Imagine if you could enjoy an exotic vacation billions of light years from Earth; or travel back in time to observe the dinosaurs in their violent world; or hop into a parallel universe where another you is living a better life than you; and you could swap places if you like.
For years, scientists have bandied about ideas that future humans will one day harness wormholes to zip across the universe at faster-than-light speeds, travel backwards in time, and visit parallel universes.
Now, researchers at the Cern Particle Accelerator believe they can recreate conditions like the "big bang," which brought time and space into existence, and create wormholes; elements that many believe may validate the concept of developing FTL travel and venturing backwards through time. In this Mail Online article, physicist Stephen Hawking explains how in the far future, a time machine could be built.
In 1964, astronomer Nikolai Kardashev devised a method to categorize advanced civilizations based on energy consumption. Type I utilizes all solar energy that strikes its planet, Type II controls all the energy in its solar system, and Type III harnesses power from every star in its galaxy. Others have since added Type IV, which masters the energy output of thousands of galaxies.
Physicists' rate today's humans at Type 0.7, but as we move through the last half of the 21st century, breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and molecular nanotechnology, are expected to help us solve many of our problems, such as erasing the gap between haves and have nots and curing most diseases.
Other areas of advancement expected this century, include a better insight into the mind, which could lead to eliminating much of the evil found in criminals, sociopaths, and others that would harm society; and in addition, ending wars and conflicts caused by religious ideologies and competition for resources. This ten-minute PBS News Hour segment details some of our progress that may soon become reality.
In the Runaway Universe, author Don Goldsmith reminds us that Earth receives only one billionth of the suns energy, and we utilize just one millionth of that. With future molecular nanotech to resolve most of our resource issues, and artificial intelligence to correct many of our social deficiencies, forward-thinkers believe that by 2100, Earthlings could reach Type I.
The following predicts the dates when we might achieve each new level, and the benefits gained:
Type I, 2100. At this level, we will capture all of the solar energy striking our planet, which will increase today's energy supply by 100 billion. Advances in molecular nanotech and development of warp-drive propulsion will trigger a rush to space, resulting in unheard of cooperation between nations; creating a peaceful global society more intent on exploring the cosmos than quarreling over cultural conflicts.
Type II, 2200. Exponentially-advancing technologies could help humanity achieve this level over the next two hundred years. Circling the Sun with a Dyson-like sphere, we mine all the energy in our solar system, increasing power 100 billion-fold again. We build colonies throughout our solar system, and on planets orbiting nearby stars. This video highlights the immenseness of our space neighborhood.
Type III, 3000. We increase energy supply another 100-billion-fold. In his book, Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku says Type III's derive power from every star in their galaxy and learn to control unstable time and space. We traverse wormholes through vast distances; and after resolving paradox issues where time traveler's actions cause changes in the present, we can now launch backward time travel trips without fears of disruption. And like the sci-fi Star Trek, we're eager "to boldly go where no man has gone before."
Type IV, 12000. Wild dreams now become possible as we approach the ultimate limits of our journey. After 10 millennia, we control power from thousands of galaxies, and can visit our "other selves" in parallel worlds; or roam the "multiverse" in our species' never-ending quest for more intelligence.
Could a "magical future" unfold in such a bold timeframe? Although it took 2 million years for us to leave the safety of the forests and build a modern civilization, it may take only a few hundred years to leave our friendly solar system and begin this incredible adventure to the stars. Comments welcome.
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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