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15 Nov 13 07:51

I've recently watched a very thought-provoking TED Talk by Neill Blomkamp, the young South-African filmmaker who brought us "District 9" and "Elysium" ... in his TED he focused on civilization and evolution and that we don't even rate - yet.

This is theory - the Kardashev Scale - brought forth by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. The scale he came up with ranks or measures civilizations based on the way they harness energy. A Type 1 civilization has advanced to a point where they are able to sustainably harness all of the energy sources available on the planet. A Type 2 civilization then, manages to harness all of the above plus all of the parent star's (the sun) energy. A type 3 civilization finally, has the ability to harness all of that puls the energy beyond the solar system, the galaxy. (Check here for a great video overview:

Now we, humankind, we don't even rate yet! We're Type 0 - a civilization that extracts its energy from crude organic-based sources (coal/fossil). In the TED Talk Blomkamp says we're apparently, at this point in our civilization's evolution, about a 0.7. A Type 1 civilization has reached the point where it is a single, global civilization, where there is global communication, global politics, a global economy, even a global language. We see more and more of that happening. We're actually on the right path - but this path is pretty narrow and there are many ways we can stray before reaching Type 1. According to the TED Talk the transition from 0 to Type 1 is the most difficult and most trying period for a civilization. At the moment - we see dramatic tensions on just about every front. Now here's the slightly worrisome scenario - if we manage to work through these tensions - we will reach Type 1 and it's onward and upward from then on out. If we can't find out way to that truly global civilization, then, according to the above, we will die off.

This time we live in is, from a civilization point of view, the most important one. Singularity may be coming by 2040 or so according to Ray Kurtzweil - if that happens, technology-wise everything will speed up exponentially. If we manage that, if we manage to think global, to become collaborative and sustainable in every way - we will make it to Type 1. Imagine that.

Well, as mentioned at the start - all of this is just theory. But it just may be true. You and I, us, here, now - we may be the ones who can make or break mankind. I hope I get to be around to tell my grandchildren about our journey to that global civilization. We'll have to give up a few things along the way, we'll gain many more things in return and, most of all, we'll survive and we'll thrive.

TEDxVancouver - Neill Blomkamp - 11/21/09

About TEDx, x=independently organize event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self- organized events that bring people toget...

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