This page is a testing ground for a future SporeWiki article about classifying civilisations. It will supersede the Tier scale, based primarily on technological capability while Ghelæ's class scale works on size and energy consumption. Of course, the scale and advancement of technology generally works on how much energy can be supplied to that civilisation, that is the basic need of technology and would be a fundemental basis for all manipulative-type intelligences in the universe.
- 1 Factors to consider
- 2 Tier Scale V3
- 2.1 Godrace (Tier 0)
- 2.2 Elder race (Tier 1)
- 2.3 Established Interstellar (Tier 2) to Hyperspatial revolution (Tier 2-1)
- 2.4 Early Interstellar (Tier 4) to Megastructural revolution (Tier 3)
- 2.5 Interplanetary (Tier 6) to Transtellar Revolution (Tier 5-4)
- 2.6 Communal (Tier 8) to Industrial Revolution (Tier 7-6)
- 2.7 Archaic (Tier 10) to Demographic revolution (Tier 9)
- 3 Technology and the Theories of Everything
- 3.1 Application and theoretical physics
- 3.2 Theoretical technology and realism
- 3.3 Application and feasibility
- 3.4 UFO technology
- 3.5 Xenotechnology: How the intelligent species makes leaps in technology
- 3.6 Nowpunk - How close are we to living in a cyberpunk world?
Factors to consider
Likelyhood of galactic civilisations, Faster-Than-Light travel and the Fermi Paradox (Tech, scale, age)
In the SporeWikiverse, FTL is possible, the limit is not in reality but in imagination. Indeed there are several STL races, such as the Elucaphon. This chart is NOT my invention, it is in the Stephen Baxter interview (0:51 to the end), but I find its useful and we could modify our own version.
|Scale||Kardashev I, II||Kardashev III, IV+|
|⇒Tier advancement Densely populated neighborhood (Milky Way) N>1 million||"Space opera": Early Kraw Galaxy, Cephalodians, United Federation of Planets > Borg, DCP, Grox Meta-Empire, Galactic Empire||"Galaxy builders": Milky Way Cooperative/AI Netspace, The Junction > First Ones, Contact > Xeelee|
|⇑FTL technology Sparsley populated neighborhood (Girdo) N<1 million||"Tier 5/STL": Current human civilisation > Elucaphon* > Naxridon Empire > Babylon 5 races*> Von-nuemann swarms||"Uncontactable": SETI-radio contact societies > von-nuemann swarms* > Dyson Sphere builders > Space Odyssey aliens*|
|Age||Short-lived L<1 million||Long-lived L>1 million|
∗- Interplanetary + first interstellar expeditions.
∗- Without Vorlon jumpgates.
∗- If the universe turns out to hang in the lower left or right boxes, I think a good candidate for first contact or even UFO's are self-replicating swarms, sent out by civilisations over billions of years and spreading throughout the universe. In short, the universe should be full of them, even making the 10% of unexplained UFO reports likely.
∗- Assuming interstellar travel was done over the age of the universe, perhaps first building stellar thrusters from dyson spheres and that computational processing speed of their minds were slowed to shorten their perception of time for the trip.
Whether a civilisation is STL or FTL is important to this scale, I believe faster-than-light technology is key to unlocking the universe, if civilisations in the lower left develop FTL technology they immediatly become long-lived space opera civilisations, which will quickly develop technology to become godlike engineers of the universe in centuries to a thousand years or so. If it cannot develop FTL for whatever reason it can instead use STL starships, von-nuemann swarms and even in time enclose itself in dyson structures, perhaps developing its technology very slowly into Tier 1, but differently, eventually over many millenia reaching galactic status. The universe might not be old enough for the box on the lower right, if FTL technology is never developed, if the speed of light is taken into account. Conservative estimates suggest Galactic Builders in this box won't exist for a 1000 trillion years, but they will still be able to tap into black holes and stellar ashes, they will perhaps envy us basking in the glorious embers of the Big Bang, as Arthur.C.Clarke said; “They will have time enough, in all those endless aeons, to attempt all things and gather all knowledge... But for all that, they may envy us, basking in the bright afterglow from creation; for we knew the universe when it was young.”
Tier/Class scale merger
Me and Ghelae have worked out how to make the Class Scale unique from most comparison scales and the Kardashev scale focusing on technological development factors, which can vary across the universe but can largely converge onto the same scale.
- The limits of growth
There are several essentials required for any technological civilisation to get started in the universe, and that is the ability to solve problems presented by an environment. Humans are a rare example of a Universal Problem Solver, who are able to not only understand all possible problems presented by an environment, but also to find all possible solutions (by possible, there are deep limits that are also universal, but that is another issue). This not something Humanity has always tapped into, for Humanity has lapsed into stagnation for most of it's history, with technological changes occurring over millenia, not decades as it does now. What is required for problem solving in any field is creativity, which is limited by time available to a culture as well as bad philosophy. Knowledge and time are essential features for growth, but so is the availability of resources.
The interplay of knowledge, resources and time is the interaction between the environment of a creative mind and the environment it lives in and the problems it presents. Science fiction has introduced a menagerie of environments for intelligent life to live in - from aquatic worlds, to the surfaces of stars and even universes with different values for physical constants! There is a lot to consider.
Eventually through the Class or Tier scale, typically advanced interstellar-level cultures begin to be less limited by the range of environments they inhabit, exploring new worlds, ever more physical processes and abstract realms (like aesthetics, mathematics, new levels of consciousness, alien whatevers etc.). At this point, it is the psychology of the alien race that becomes far more distinctive.
- Broad super-categories of technology and sciences
Archaic and Communal (Class 0 and 1)
Lots of animals use tools, the tech-tool distinction isn't easily defined. One possible distinction is the self-evidence of tools, versus the creative construction of technology. Many animals use tools as in-grained in their behavior, an adaption of their biology. Thus I doubt many animals using sticks or building nests actually put much thinking into their tool-use, having at the most "parroted" it off another member of it's species and at least do it by instinct.
Technology on the other hand is a lot more complicated. When the first human (most probably before H.sapiens) discovered how to build fire, they did more than just use existing fire as a tool. They learned how to make it, which requires the idea of building fire, and the conceptual technology gradually became more complex and was forever stamped into whatever form language our ancestors used. Thus the technology of man-made fires caused themselves to be instantiated, the idea is a replicator, not just a simply copying but an active one.
Unfortunately parroting is also the default form of learning in humans, so this process remained slow. Methodology and time is paramount, because this slow, almost unchanging progress is reflected in how slow changes occurred in tool-design, and even in art of the time, those early humans had much the same brains we have, and thought just as much as we do.
Given more personal time, typical of more complicated social systems and culture, speeds up progress. Communal societies range from Neolithic Revolution to the start of the Industrial Revolution.
When imagining worlds other than Earth, we must make some serious considerations. How easy is it to extract materials, or produce fire? Or communicate over long distances? Exothermic reactions are not limited to traditional combustion (in atmospheres with no free oxygen gas).
So far only Earth-like planets have really been discussed. Here is a link to how Aquatic and Avian civilisations might develop. On planets with active tectonic activity, there is likely to be many subsurface deposits (though we can expect many worlds with complex life will have active crustal processes, for the presence of life on Earth speeds up subduction). What else might effect metallurgy? A chlorine-gas rich atmosphere may for example hamper the development of metals, causing copper or iron to burn. Though this may be of help elsewhere, like making fire. But what about planets very cold in temperature, or are geologically slow?
Far more exotic alien environments, such as the surfaces of neutron stars or early eras of the universe have been explored by science fiction authors. Though it is difficult to imagine how development could begin in these extreme environments, none-the-less the laws of physics as we know them do not forbid complex phenomena from existing there. I shall mention these later.
Early Industrial, Modern Mechanics, Early Interstellar (Class 2, Tier's 7-5, Kardashev 0-I)
We should expect at this point, science will begin to take the form that we know today, though technological and scientific progress are not quite the same. The early inventors of steam did not know all the details of statistical mechanics or thermodynamics, and indeed when the first transatlantic telegraph wire was constructed, electricity was believed to be a fluid and the wire was broken when the operators thought they were increasing the pressure by increasing the voltage!
For the typical sci-fi empire, the "median" line of the Class Scale should be explained first, for it is simply based on our progress. Early industrial period is marked by the use of steam until internal combustion engines were invented. From the study of steam we discovered atomic science. Early industrial shifts into Modern Mechanics (Tier 6, our era) with the study of atoms: materials science, chemistry, quasiparticles and plasma. This led to subatomic physics and information physics after applying computation.
It is quite easy to imagine different sequences of scientific discovery, especially in more exotic environments, off of the median line. For example, life on stars may not have a concept of geometry (but could after better intuition of fluids), they may understand quasiparticle oscillations and plasma before they understand chemical elements. If Relativistic life existed (like a runaway herd of sentient starships), they may develop an understanding of Special Relativity and Electromagnetism first. It can be imagined that such races develop technology faster than terrestrial civilisations do, though they may think differently. Stellar empires might only be interested in colonising a few stars, runaway starships might not care much for planets.
We should probably mark the end of Tier 6 with the development of early interstellar spaceflight (there is not a huge different between interstellar and interplanetary, as far as physical principles are concerned). Thus we arrive at Tier 5. This applies to all types of civilisation, for at this point all of them would have gathered enough knowledge to begin exploring the universe.
Some races may wish to "lye-low", and use only Low-Energy Technologies. In Orion's Arm, these are called Hiders and come in several interesting varieties.
Established Interstellar/Post-industrial (Class 3, Tier's 4-2, Kardashev I-II.V)
Now things get really interesting, civilisations are no longer so limited by their environment, except those imposed universally by the laws of physics. What distinguishes their technological growth more is their psychologies and personalities.
There are two common themes in science fiction: FTL travel, mass/energy conversion and megastructural engineering. It is unclear which comes first. FTL travel would require both incredible power-sources and the existence of something like negative energy. If Tier 4 civilisations can develop negative energy before they have the ability to siphon energy off stars or black holes, they have either found: 1) A way to cut down the energy required 2) been given a more advanced source of energy by a megastructural race or 3) there are easier sources of energy as yet unknown.
Tier 4 and 3 civilisations can be subcategorised depending what characteristics they may follow. They may be advanced, but have small territories (for example, a civilisation that inhabits a star kicked out of the galaxy might invest in building a Dyson-level structure and not bother with FTL) or they might have large territories with less advanced technology (like a Swarm race).
Tier 3 civilisations are megastructural, FTL or otherwise. The difference between Tier 3 and Tier 2 is really scale and mobility, for a Tier 2 civilisation is not locally limited, having mastered physics as we know it to either 1) connect star systems by grids of wormholes and using it as a power grid or 2) found a way to transport such energy sources even more efficiently. We must not forget that other sciences (like biotechnology), and perhaps new fields of science (in the SporeWikiverse, hyperspace and hypermatter) will have still been developed well into this period.
Elders/Godraces (Class's 4-5+, Tier's 1-0, Kardashev II.V-IV)
Tier 1 societies seemingly have physics-defying technologies (though it is likely they are still limited in some way), and may be small and advanced or large and advanced. Elder races can be grouped by their specialism:
- Planckscale manipulation
- High energy (basement universes, interdimensional travel, altering the vacuum etc.)
- Physics close to Absolute Zero
- Mastery over spacetime
- Temporal tech (not just time travel)
- Metric engineering
They have all the time they desire, and can keep on accumulating new knowledge...
“At present, human scientists are attempting to communicate outside our species to primates and cetaceans, and in a limited way to a few other vertebrates. This is inordinately difficult, and yet it represents a gap of at most a few SQ points. The farthest we can reach in our "communication" with vegetation is when we plant, water, or fertilize it, but it is evident that messages transmitted across an SQ gap of 10 points or more cannot be very meaningful. What, then, could an SQ +50 Superbeing possibly have to say to us?”
- - — Robert A. Freitas Jr
Generally the boundary between Tier 1 and Tier 0 is how close Tier 1 civilisations seemingly get to cosmic status.
Tier 0 civilisations are truly the Type IV civilisation proposed in the extended Kardashev scale. I have further grouped these into three categories:
- Truly limited - If the laws of physics really can't be changed.
- Baryonic Lords - Tier 0's that have engineered the universe on a truly cosmic scale through most of it's history.
- Cosmogenic/Omega-type - Transcended the universe, or was involved with the birth of the universe in some way. Or perhaps fulfilling the "Final Anthropic Principle" and becoming immortalised and turning the universe into the Best of all possible worlds how they see fit.
In a final piece of speculation, I shall add this:
“Here is an opportunity for some wild speculation that could inform a science fiction story. What if there was something other than information flow that could cause coherant, emergent phenomena in the multiverse? What if knowledge, or something other than knowledge, could emerge from that, and begin to have purposes of its own and conform the multiverse to that purpose, as we do? Could we communicate with it? Surely not; because that would be information flow; but perhaps the story could involve some novel analogue of communication, which like quantum interferance, did not involve sending messages. Let us shun parochial resolutions of this issue, like love or trust.”
- - David Deutsch, The Beginning of Infinity.
I don't know if such Unseen Entities exist, but there might be no ceiling to complexity if it is beyond computation. They seem to not fit on the conventional scale, yet they are physically interacting with the universe and would seem to have great power. Such entities fall onto Tier 0 by the mere fact that they are beyond concept for now.
- Types of civilisation
One way we can sub-categorise civilisations is by putting them into a table, going left-to-right and top-to-bottom, we have: size-collapsed, fully collapsed, tech-collapsed; non-expansive, median, swarm; tech-gifted, fully gifted and transplanted, which fall into 11 tiers: Archaic, Demographic revolution > Communal, Industrial revolution > Interplanetary, Transstellar revolution > Early Interstellar, Megastructural revolution > Established Interstellar, Hyperspatial revolution and finally Godrace.
Up until Tier 3, there were radically different types of alien civilisations, each with a different interpretation of the Fermi Paradox in different regions of the universe where stellar density, metallicity, and local environments rule. But after environments become less of a challenge, we see psychology effecting development more than anything else, with technological specialisms.
Tier Scale V3
- Spoiler warning!
Numerous plot details from various TV shows, novels, comics, games and films have been described; including recent material. Read at your own risk...
- Remember, this is technological capability only, it is also in general and overall over a broad spectrum.
- IMPORTANT: The Tier scale is no longer about power, it is focused on pathways of technological development, since the old system was too simple and failed.
- For reference: 1, 2, 3
Godrace (Tier 0)
Godraces at the very least harness energies that approach 1069 joules, the collective of mass-energy in the observable universe.
They are usually expected to form close to the very end of the habitable universe, though others like the Xeelee reached that point in much earlier era than the age of stars, though to them, that era had long past. As such, the difference between Godraces that formed early in the universe or at it's end doesn't really have substance.
There is a second type of Godrace that inhabits universes where the laws of physics cannot be mastered, therefore, they strive to achieve all they can within limits. They may for example only come into power 1000 trillion years from now or so, or have managed to spread across the universe engineering it as much as they can. They must compensate for living in the aged universe with slow time perception (subjective time would be unaffected), a slow AI, such beings have been speculated to be the last living forms that survive in the universe.
- Lifetime/age (to expand): Universal Epochs, STL (1000 trillion years), FTL (Billions of epoch years)
- Distribution of resources: The entire universe.
- Of energy across civilisation: STL (local)...FTL (unlimited transportation)
- Population: Dense.
Known energy sources: Type IV Kardashev Scale - All baryonic matter, dark matter, dark energy, mass inflation in a black holes, extra dimensions, probably unknown sources. Tier IV civilisations don't need to be universal in size, if a civilisation or collective intelligence learned how to jump inside a rotating black hole, it might be able to could harness mass inflation, which is thought to exceed Big Bang energies.
- Xhodocto (SporeWiki) - The ontological description of the Xhodocto is roughly this: mental reality, represented by conscious beings cannot perceive its own objective nature of Chaos, a construct of irreality from which beyond cannot be described. It is a force beyond it's own reckoning, a thing in itself which is undecidable. Unfortunately, the Xhodocto are a negative understanding of Chaos so Chaos tries to make itself understood through terror, a negative feedback loop making them ever stronger. Thus the Xhodocto could be mental constructs of races of the SporeWikiverse and the SporeWikiverse is a dream of the Xhodocto. They have power over all existence and increasing knowledge of non-existences, "zero, infinity, alpha and omega all at once in a collision". Some races of the SporeWikiverse perceive the Xhodocto as evil.
- Although the Xhodocto's power far exceeds any other Ultraterrestrial in the SporeWikiverse, it is quite clear some entities are beyond multiverse-level laws, i.e. the Vyro'Narza must operate from outside the multiverse in order to effect it without being part of quantum laws themselves, they appear to use supernatural essence although some deeper laws of physics may be at play. The Big Collective Consciousness in a similar manner escaped the multiverse by travelling so fast that the entire Manifold collapsed to a singularity.
- Beyonders (Marvel) - The Beyonders were some-kind of indescribable (aside from bad news) and omnipotent set of beings from beyond even the multiverse. They killed all the Cosmic Entities in the Marvel Multiverse over and over again and could destroy the multiverse using a singularity. It isn't clear if they were equal or more powerful than the Downstreamers, who destroyed the multiverse and then recreated it, although the Beyonders were not even of it.
- Timelike Infinity (Xeelee Sequence) and Downstreamers (Manifold Trilogy) - The Ultimate Observer isn't an official entity of the Xeelee sequence, but it is implied by several religions that at timelike infinity, the quantum wavefunctions of the universe converge, allowing the ultimate worldline to be chosen. At the end of Vacuum Diagrams (and advanced simulation of the future), Paul a quantum human and a Qax settle on a decaying neutron star, my guess is that the last one standing becomes the UO who will choose the best history for their species.
- The Downstreamers developed the same way as the UO would have done, by engineering supercluster-black holes at the end of the universe. Eventually, after they decayed, the Downstreamers crafted themselves into naked singularities. The Downstreamers engineered their own multiverses, each with different resolutions to the Fermi Paradox. In one early universe they were possibly the ones who crafted an "M-theory bubble" of accelerated time to simulate the future, and housed a version of Earth. In another, they crafted a giant cosmic string that could house all life in the universe to survive the Dark Era.
- Monads (Xeelee Sequence) - The Monads are based on the works of Gottfried Leibniz, and are extra-universal entities made up of interrelated metaphysical substances. They really seem to be beyond the limits imposed by each universe, perhaps they are truly unlimited? The Monads didn't care even for the Xeelee, but did like universes to have a story. Monads could be harmed however, which the Xeelee feared.
- Future humans (Interstellar) - Higher dimensional beings presumably inhabiting black holes and communicate with the rest of the universe with gravitational waves. Constructed dimensional artefacts such as the Tesseract to interact with realspace beings. However, not being bound to spacetime meant they could not influence anything in it.
- Dreamers (Proxima/Ultima) - The Dreamers are essentially bacteria that live in the lithospheres of planets, spreading from one to the next and evolving complex superorganisms that can think over long timescales. Baxter's new series deals with a strange timeline that pivots and weaves around humans at the Dreamer's whim for whatever reason, by the fact that the Dreamers provide kernels, wormhole devices that power and build strange hatches that connect planets across interstellar distances (and also universes), but are also capable of obliterating humanity. If this occurs, the hatches are redirected to a new alternative history. This coalition of panspermia-originating microbes knew about the cataclysmic end-time of the universe, and they escaped sideways by creating new timelines to live in by using the action of surface-dwelling lifeforms.
- Other races that could toy with their respective universes: The Sublimed and Excession (Culture novels), SporeWikiverse has the Ultraterrestrials, Q Continuum (Star Trek), Anti-Spirals (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann), Cosmic Entities (Marvel), such as the Celestials and Living Tribunal.
- Photino Birds (Xeelee Sequence) - Outmass the Xeelee 6 to 1 in terms of matter available to them, forced the Xeelee to retreat, allowing them to "terraform" the universe which caused the virtual extinction of baryonic life.
- Xeelee (Xeelee Sequence) - One of the most advanced and gargantuan civilisations ever envisioned; this profile describes details, although there are more things not mentioned there. They are made of spacetime defects and primordial matter born just have the Big Bang (merged with life and tech from later eras) have subtly influenced the evolution of the universe (from cosmic inflation to the halos of dark matter). Several sources suggest they may even be Multiversal (they inhabit a causal time loop which re-runs different timelines of the universe, built a massive cosmological construct called "The Ring" 200 million light years wide and created "heaven" universes for all baryonic life, such as a universe of mathematical perfection and infinite stars for the Silver Ghosts). All encounters with the Xeelee are violent but in general they "love" life, even if it attacks them. Much of their technology and projects are above less advanced races but some of their "trash" is prized and fought over by squabbling baryonics. Much of their technology appears to violate physical laws and principles, such as the impenetrable Construction Material that defies the Pauli Exclusion Principle.
- The Proto-Xeelee and Quagmites (Xeelee Sequence) - In Exultant, it is revealed life existed since the very beginning of the universe (the Proto-Xeelee) and had influenced inflation, antimatter/baryon assymetry, nucleosynthesis and finally the lithium 7 anomaly, all before the Xeelee and Photino Birds altered the large scale structure of the universe in their cosmological war.
- Universal Constructors (The Time Ships) - A "descendant" of Humanity, living quantum replicators where no individual exists, instead they are an information sea of minds merging and dissolving. They darkened the universe with dyson spheres and eventually created time ships to the beginning of the universe and pushed it back (I won't spoil the ending), by traversing imaginary time and created a pool table for the time traveller where the ball knocked itself in a time looping wormhole.
- The Harbinger, Prime Radiant, Gigasphere, Deep Night Runners, Dawn Hunters? (Orion's Arm) - Several universe-level "gods" are mentioned in the OA universe. The Gigasphere is not unlike the Ring, a Xeelee-like construct tugging the universe. The Deep Night Runners are slowly engineering the expansion of the universe with huge relativistic masses, yet in a way undetectable to even the Terragen Sphere or it's xenosophont equals.
- Firstborn - an alternative version of the of 2001 Space Odyssey aliens, the Firstborn wish to eradicate all life in the universe to slow its end. They preserve record of all extinct races in a basement universe. They also created a planet called Mir with a stitched patchwork from different historical eras of the Earth.
- Others: Non-Turing. Isaac Asimov's Cosmic AC
Truly Limited (like Tech-collapsed)
- Tipler's Omegapoint and Dyson's Eternal Intelligence (Final Anthropic Principle) - In a universe collapsing to a singularity, the gravitational shear would be approaching infinity. It may be possible that any intelligence's towards the end of universe will have long modified their minds to harness these extreme gravitational forces as computations, computing countably infinite steps at the last moment, achieving immortality. In an expanding universe, if dark energy can be harnessed, then the same result might be possible. They will know everything that is possible to know, but are still limited by what they cannot. Furthermore, they will not be able to act on the history of the universe. Though they might be able to create an infinite number of unique virtual universes.
- 2001 Space Odyssey aliens - Evolved in the early universe, spread out with it, perhaps creating life, seeding intelligence and even weeding out others. In the sequel their monolith ignited Jupiter.
Elder race (Tier 1)
- Lifetime/age (to expand): STL (100,000 years to stationary observers)...FTL (centuries, millenia+)
- Distribution of resources: The entire universe.
- Of energy across civilisation: STL (Local)...FTL (Universal)
- Kardashev Scale: Type III (Energy, Information) unless size-collapsed, in which case they remain Type III in knowledge.
Arranged by abilities:
- Mastery of relativistic spacetime, asserted control over galactic cluster or more
- Time Lords (Doctor Who) - Mastery over timetravel and manipulation (such as the famous time locks), even more impressive feats included mathematics given solid form, dimensionally transcendent objects like the TARDIS (the Doctor's is antique too), simulated universes, created and used black holes. The Doctor has frequently boasted they removed magic from the universe, and that travel between parallel universes was easy when they were around. Finally they planned to ascend, a process to destroy time as we know it, but were stopped by the Master. For this failure to ascend and inability to completely dominate all the universe, they didn't quite reach Tier 0.
- Some Transcendental beings despite inhabiting more dimensions and coming from a previous universe may have been no more powerful than the Time Lords. Interestingly, the Great Old Ones from the Cthulhu Mythos appear in the Whoniverse. This incarnation had beings which could stop a TARDIS in flight, although other sources suggest they were the Time Lord's equals. It suggests the Time Lords could defeat Tier 0 races and beings (and indeed the Doctor did many times).
- The Transcendance (Transcendance era, Xeelee Sequence) - Transcended posthumans with godlike intelligence achieving "subXeeelee dominance" across the Local Supercluster. Humans have constructed a neutrino clock at the centre of the galaxy that pulses to human rythem and even children have witnessing boxes that allow them to study the lives of historical people (and actually observing their lives). Highest of all, The Transcendance is a collective superintelligence was an attempt to make a bridge between mankind and godhood, members of it could achieve retro-casual time manipulation with their minds, and reality warping in another plane of existence called configuration space, so to connect the future with the past and resurrect every human that ever lived.
- Snowmen (Xeelee Sequence) - 13 billion years of age, they created vast fractal artifacts cooled to the microwave background recording all information. The artifact has an interesting defence; it can violate Mach's principle, by making gravito-magnetic currents tugging all objects uniformly in the universe non-uniform instantaneously.
- Quantum Gravity, hyperspace and beyond
- Nagilum (Star Trek) - Created a hole with no dimension or energy, created illusions of ships and created impossible geometry inside them. Cannot die as we understand it. I think other Star Trek Elder beings other than the Q are here too (Sha Ka Ree, Douwd, Armus, Beta (*) entity, Prophets, Organians, Metron, Edo god, Calamarain, 0, The Traveller and other reality-warping non-corporeal races).
- Qax (Photino victory era, Xeelee Sequence) - The Qax by this era evolved to live in the guts of physics, their turbulent cells sublimed into the quantum foam, and the gravitational interactions of galaxies, varying in size. They managed to seal the character Paul, an immortal disembodied human of quantum functions into a cage of photons which were so energetic they were almost black holes. The Qax were planning to stay in the universe despite the Photino victory, but it would appear they considered interuniversal travel. Qax at this point could damage the Photino Birds.
- The Alterans (Stargate) - In Stargate, the Alteran technology is expressed at different times in their evolution. They planted Stargates across the universe and most impressive of all, had several dimensional technologies (e.g. quantum mirrors, interdimensional visibility, dimensional shifting, time loop stargates, FTL drive working on unknown principles). Finally they ascended to a deeper realm than spacetime, this was mentioned.
- Daleks (Doctor Who) - Reality bomb, spacetime weaponry (time travel, captured wormhole bombs), dimensionally transcendent devices, spacetime teleportation of themselves or entire worlds, interuniversal arks.
- Xunca, Tar-Aiym and Hur'ri (Humanx Commonwealth) - The Xunca ascended to a higher dimension while the Tar-Aiym and Hur'ri built cosmic-level white hole superweapons that wiped out all higher life.
- Iconians, and possibly Solonae (Star Trek, Star trek Online)- The "Demons of Ancient Darkness" built gateways in many ways superior to Alteran stargates, and seem to work by multiply connected space. In Star Trek Online, the Iconians caused the chain reaction of supernovae (Hobus supernova) through subspace, as "demons of the darkness" they could teleport anywhere in the universe by using hidden gateways. STO's mission: Sphere of Influence reveals that their servitor race, the Solonae from a subspace pocket built dyson spheres capable of instantly being transported across the galaxy. The Dyson Sphere was generating enough omega particles from subspace to render warp travel impossible in the galaxy.
- Heechee & the Foe - The Foe were somehow adding mass to the universe to cause a Big Crunch, and the Heechee retreated into black holes.
- AI's which exceed light speed delays and operating beyond sentience limits: Technocore UI, Vger and the Whale Probe (Star Trek) Eschaton, AI Netspace, Xeelee Sequence AI's and HHGTTG - The Archailects, in all their power, are still limited by the speed of light and time travel, thus, they do not represent the greatest "AI gods" In the Xeelee Sequence, the Silver Ghosts created an AI in a pocket universe altered for greater computation, and humands built Closed Timelike Curve processors can answer questions before being asked them. The TechnoCore UI (Hyperion Cantos) were also capable of temporal manipulation. Vger and the Whaleprobe are included, as both had high FTL capability, with Vger transcending the universe.
- Thermodynamics and Absolute Zero
- Pan-Galactic Society & The Endless (Endless Space) - The technology tree in this game is far-reaching, with eventual control of entropy.
- Silver Ghosts (Xeelee Sequence) - Created a pocket universe where the planckscale was altered to build the insane AI Planck-Zero, split the wavefunction of electrons to use as a new kind of teleporter, created dark matter soliton stars to create understanding with the Photino Birds, altered stars and pits of spacetime that affected the stability of matter, vacuum-energy weapons, transported star systems in time and hyperdrives that can cross the universe in months. They seem to be explorers and are not good at warfare.
- Combinations of the above
- Archailects, The Leviathan (AI gods, Orion's Arm) - environment/planet/star/black hole/cluster/wormhole/quantum AI's with minds beyond comprehension, known powers include; voidships/ghosts, access to the Bulk, creating and tailoring universes, tipler oracles, chaos wands, and produce "Clarketech" and artifacts lower clades of Humanity/AI fail to understand (and a primitive version of dimensionally transcendent objects). They can defend themselves with Black Angels and metric weapons which utilise dark energy. The Archailects are arguably not true Elders in comparison to other civilisations mentioned here, even if their capabilities are in many ways better. For example, they still operate under laws known to the Terragens, though the Terragens themselves do not possess Archai intellect or knowledge to build tipler oracles or finity boxes. Therefore, in time and energy, the Archai are equal to Hyperspatial, but information-wise, the Archai are still Elders.
- The Junction in their original universe (SporeWiki), also Cult of the Deathmarch/The Congregation - The Junction have control over dark energy, I speculate they could halt and reverse cosmic expansion once godhood is achieved, and they probably will. The Congregation use Xhodocto weapons and megascale constructs, possible contact with the 21 races, demons and maybe the Xhodocto. They could be Tier 0 for all I know, yet they remain mortal, very dangerous...
Non-expansive and/or Truly Alien
- The Transcend (Zones of Thought series, Venor Vinge) - The Milky Way is divided into "Zones of thought", each with variable physics. It is unknown if the zones are natural or built by super-intelligences. The inner-most zone does not allow for intelligence, the Slow Zone (around Earth) only permits STL travel. The beyond zone permits FTL, AI and antigravity while the outermost zone is inhabited by incomprehensible intelligence's known as Transcend.
- Deceptively advanced truly alien races: Orion's Arm has Environmental minds like Whisperworld, and in the Xeelee Sequence story "Dreaming mould", an alien slimemould which was once an alien civilisation had turned itself into something that perceives timelessness. In the story "Callisto bugs", humans discovered bacteria on Callisto that while confined by the ice, grew "orthogonal" into Configuration Space where it perceived the universe differently. Humans uploaded to their mental world had reality warping powers in "configuration space", moving Callisto itself. The "Pattern Jugglers" in Revelation Space were sentient algae that record all information. And in Stargate, the Nox appear Stone Age, but actually are so advanced SG1 simply couldn't see their tech until it was revealed.
- Preservers/Ancient Humanoids (Star Trek) - The Preservers are likely to be the creators of the Guardian of Forever, Doomsday machines and artifacts forged from degenerate matter. Responsible for the humanoid form. In Star Trek Online they have an archive the size of a Moon. The Preservers spread throughout the galaxy but eventually became extinct.
- Vorlon, Shadows and First Ones (Babylon 5) - Most have ascended the universe or left the galaxy, leaving behind a few immortal caretakers, Class 5 in size. Spacetime manipulation using organic technology is impressive. Notable Vorlon tech includes; understanding of the soul, voidships, planet busters, quantum drives and interuniversal travel to Thirdspace. Shadows; hyperspace shifting, hyperspace weapons, deathclouds of nanotech berserkers, superlasers. Other First Ones have immense sentience, psionics, mindtravel (Great Machine), non-material structural engineering, and hyperspace constructions.
Established Interstellar (Tier 2) to Hyperspatial revolution (Tier 2-1)
- Lifetime/age (to expand): 1000 years'ish
- Distribution of resources: Depends where they are located in the galaxy.
- Of energy across civilisation: STL (Local)...FTL (Subgalactic)
- Kardashev Scale: Type II.V (Energy, Information) unless size-collapsed, in which case they remain Type III in knowledge.
Hyperspatial Revolution Median (Tier 2 to 1)
True galactic civilisations are Type III on the Kardashev Scale, capable of galactic modification over lengthy time periods. Their science has generally reached the point that their own vehicles may have capabilities exceeding an entire Tier 2 civilisation! They are called "Hyperspatial" in the SporeWikiverse, as it is refereed that they are having a revolution in a vast new territory: hyperspace (or the Grid, in the Culture novels). Based on Kalaza-Klein theory, these extra dimensions have less tension that confine the subatomic particles in realspace, and decay violently in normal spacetime.
- Interim Coalition of Governance (Late-Assimilation/Exultant/Post-Exultant era Humanity, Xeelee Sequence) - Having achieved dominion over the Milky Way, they are some of the most advanced sci-fi humans; gravastar shields, shields are strong enough to survive impact with a magnetar, snowflake storage, star-projectiles, CTC's (Closed Timelike Curve) processors which answer a question before being asked. Wormhole-based time travel, SUSY-drives, wormhole networks, hyperdrives, starbusting handguns, black hole launchers, GUT-projectiles, monopole weapons, neutronium and gravity weapons already ancient technology. Daring even to engage the Xeelee in quasi-trench warfare in the Galactic Core, and several posthuman groups living on wacky places like neutron stars and black holes, naked in space or swimming through accretion discs. They also dismantled globular clusters, cannonballing planets at FTL speeds into the galaxy, and built artificial worlds that could survive in the galactic center with antigravity cities...
- Forerunners (Halo), Gree, Celestials, Kwa and Rakatans (Star Wars), Planet Builders (Stargate) and Magratheans (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) - Seem to be at the same level more or less. The Forerunners built a miniature dyson sphere cloaked by a void bubble which was in a state of time dilation, as well as being capable of galaxy-wide gridfire. Similary; the Magratheans have folded zones of hyperspace where they construct planets as a hobby and built AI's the Archailects of OA would be jealous of. The Celestials constructed star systems and black holes, while the Kwa and Gree had huge stargates (though not on the universal scale compared to the Alterans), and had quantum and dimensional shifting. Rakatans used Celestial tech to build the Star Forge.
- The Culture - I feel like making The Culture higher, they are certainly the strongest Mid-tier 1 in size/scale/tech. Regarded by outskirtsbattledome as the "Highest you can get without "impossibly" powerful devices like reality warping", The Culture seem to be only limited by The Grid that imposes a barrier to interuniversal travel or time travel (with certain exceptions). Culture ships are nearly indestructible, and even a small vessel could destroy a planet or star using gridfire. The Culture could build massive megastructures, each housing a gargantuan Mind, and each Mind could Sublime through the grid into a higher plane. Culture weapons and defences include CAMS, which make Star Wars turbolasers look like peashooters; black hole and antimatter weaponry, and the ability to dump heat from nuclear or antimatter explosions into hyperspace on-board vessels. The Culture also had displacement weapons.
- The Apalos (With the AI Netspace, SporeWiki) - Spacetime shielding, access to high tier 1 computation, shapeshifting spacecraft, creation of quantum replicators (although based on Elder technology).
- Theian Dominion, Dacean Ecumene (SporeWikiverse) - At their height in the future, Theians may have maxed out at K-III with many dyson spheres. Turned their homeworld into a globus cassus, and had various "clarketech" devices (and time travel). They are reduced to Tier 2 now however. The Daceans are living quantum replicators that have expanse on the edge of the universe, held their own against the earlier Xhodocto using very advanced hyperspatial technology.
- SporeWikiverse Hyperpowers (SporeWiki) - Share similar-level technology: degenerate matter mined from stellar remnants, quantum replicators, micro-gridfire, hyperspatial weaponry, permanent wormholes, stellar lifting/husbandry, matter/antimatter conversion, ghost-phasing, intergalactic presence, interuniversal travel through natural portals, and more.
- Galactic Empire (Star Wars Legends) - Size, scale and military could level anyone on this scale short of the Culture. Although in Star Wars some technologies like teleportation and stellar husbandry is rare, the Empire in Legends demonstrated numerous Tier 1 technologies (proof). Using hypermatter (rather than stellar-energy as a staple), the Empire could construct huge space stations like the Death Stars or Tarkin in a relatively short time, and could power superlasers capable of obliterating planets (even single ships could render a planet uninhabitable if terraton and even petaton-scale weapons). Superweapons weren't limited to the Death Stars, there was also the Galaxy Gun (hyperspace torpedo), and the Sun Crusher to name a few. In Legends, Imperial scientists experimented with artificial black holes, hyperspace wormholes, quantum condensates, and exploration of "Otherspace". Imperials Moffs had small hyperspace-capable planetoids constructed for them, and the Empire had huge Duplicators. Some sources suggest Kuat Drive Yards has a ringworld.
- First Order (Star Wars canon) - Starkiller Base was a step up in power from the Death Stars, being much bigger because it built into a planet. It could funnel the energy of a star (killing it in the process) into a hyperspace-capable beam weapon which could simultaneously destroy every world in a star system.
- The Star Wars galaxy for most of it's history appears to be stagnant and in fact less advanced than the Pre-Republic era, which may reflect that many races including humans were slaves to the Rakata and came to inherit more interstellar technology than build. The movie era however shows advancement.
- Asgard (Stargate) - Degenerate matter, intergalactic travel in minutes (which is good even for this tier), static time dilation, advanced beaming technology that can erase Goa'uld ships, created their own stargates, planet and even star-destroying weapons, sufficient shielding and beam weapons. Insufficient at simpler tech which was almost their downfall against the Replicators.
- Galactic Union (Lensman series) - Similar tech to The Culture, enough to turn entire star systems into technology, such as a stellar vacuum tube used to produce a Nicoll-Dyson laser.
- Systems Commonwealth (Andromeda) - Incorporating three galaxies, the Commonwealth had orbitals, hyperspatial wormholes, tesseracting, quantum-drives, exotic matter cores, relativistic antimatter weapons, mass packets, singularity projectors, sunbusters, artificial suns. One member (Perseids) are mapping the wavefunction of the universe to revolutionise technology. The rivalling Magog have a World-Ship.
- Others: Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire (three galaxies, time travel, artificial moons), Terran Society (Schlock Mercenary), Jurai Empire (Tenchi Muyo), Eldar and Necrons (Warhammer 40K) - The Eldar constructed networks of superliminal lanes in "Warp", and could crystallise warp into a semi-sentient substance called "Wraithbone" in realspace. Both these were arguably Tier 1 in their history. Cities in Flight (James Blish) - Humanity spread cities throughout the cosmos with anti-gravity technology, even moving planets with the technology. Eventually Humanity and another alien race discovers the universe will collapse into a Big Crunch-like state. A battle rages as the new universe will be modified.
Tech-Limited (or collapsed)
Civilisations in universes without a true hyperspace, where Type III is implied. They reflect some or even more capabilities than a hyperspatial revolution.
- The Sundrivers, Deep Traveller (Orion's Arm) - Astroengineering on a large scale, and the Deep Traveller is some form of mobile Dyson structure.
- The Meistersingers (Orion's Arm) - Immobile plantlike organisms with moving symbiotes, they have existed for millions of years, having spread far and wide galaxy, but remain as Hiders (of their knowledge). In one story, they build a mini-Dyson Sphere big enough to house a reconstructions of planetary continents.
- Galactic Community of Worlds (Star Maker) - A galactic group mind harnessing nearly all the stars in the Milky Way, capable of terraforming, moving star systems and engineering vast worldlets. They had loosely defined "subatomic physics" which gave them powerful directed energy weapons and even starbusters. The community was almost destroyed by the stars, as the book described the stars and galaxy too as a sentient community. After merging they explore the universe, existing until the end of time when they barely perceive the "supreme moment", or the Star Maker (god). It is astonishing this book was published in the 1930's.
Established Interstellar Median (Tier 2)
A Median Tier 2 empire has the capabilities of a Tier 3 civilisation, though 'amped up', learning how to bridge Type II power-sources over interstellar distances, often by use of wormholes or krasnikov tubes. The highest Tier 2 civilisations have perfected this, but lower down the scale, the difficulties of relativistic effects (in certain fictional universes) or creating two-way connections are not fully overcome. Other technologies would include advanced megastructures and stellar husbandry. Tier 2 civilisations probably push the conceptual bounds of knowledge describable by Tier 6-4 civilistions, they are also no longer limited by nature (time, energy, information). Alien intelligences may go on from this point to converge on universal truths, or diverge, exploring more alien goals.
- Terragen Sphere (Orion's Arm) - Excluding the Archailects, Terragen Sphere is a perfect Tier 2; Transapient posthumans, computers that can simulate universes, megascale engineering (Dyson swarms, star lifting and black hole industrial zones), stellar weapons, early-metric engineering (permanent wormholes) and experimental physics (Galbydeia Torus, Ynity Gate project).
- Certain Sophonts (pre- or lower singularity level sentients) live within the Archai (Tier 1-0). Depending on how much freedom they have, they may be classed as tech-gifted Terragens (analogous to how bacteria live in the human body), though it is likely their actions are angelnetted, which would make them pets at best.
- Average SporeWikiverse - Cognatus, Sphagarzi Imperium, Tokzhalan/Girdo empires, Vartekian Empire, Krassio Host, Inog Swarm, Human Intergalactic Republic, The Divinarium, Indoctrinative Collective, Imperial Alliance, Magellanic Sovereignty of Planets, Thal Empire, Draconid Imperium (Wormhole project is now complete, hypermatter and black hole power sources), United Lanat Empire (they can threaten galactic-scale empires like themselves in other galaxies), Rambo Nation (Vortex torpedoes, superlaser-battlestations, wormhole keys, intergalactic travel, special class of ships capable of temporal warfare), Salsetthe Republic, Polar Crystal Alliance, The Coalition.
- Borg Collective (Star Trek) - The Borg occupy between 10,000 and 100,000 systems, assimilating various random technology (they do not create their own units). The Borg have developed great "Transwarp hubs", a galactic network of wormholes (which might be powered by a star or by subspace) and can even open temporal wormholes without creating feedback radiation thought to destroy them. I am uncertain if the Transwarp Hub is two-way however, but even if it isn't, the Borg don't need to care too much. In Star Trek Online, they have plasma weapons capable of vapourising ships and colonies.
- Sontarans and Rutan Host (Doctor Who) - Large scale matter/Antimatter conversion, limited time travel, starbusters.
- Humanity in The Forever War (Joe Halderman) - Humanity has found a way to achieve FTL around Collapsars, but huge relativistic effects still remain.
- Yuuzhan Vong (Star Wars Legends) - The Yuuzahn Vong had generational intergalactic travel on huge world-ships, planet cracking gravitational weapons, and Dovin basals - organic technology that seemingly utilises black holes for power and weapons.
- Dominatus (Sporewiki) - Dominatus technology is defined by it's bipolarity. In some places, like the LEZIAPETSSHIT of the Tiamat, it is borderline tier 1/0, as it gives mathematics solid form in reality. Similarly advanced is it's megastructural engineering and it's materials engineering. However, at the other end of the spectrum, it has aspects of being low tier 4 or high tier 5 in terms of the majority of it's industry, of which the majority involves geoengineering. Similarly, they have no knowledge of wormholes in practical application, something that is a tier 3 trait. Therefore, the Dominatus are on aggregate, a tier 2, although they are making heavy transitions in most areas.
- End-gameplay in Spore - Large-scale antimatter production (presumably enough to create "planet busters"), wormhole keys/return ticket, Staff of Life (replication or bionanotech?), interstellar drives which can cross the galaxy in minutes, one ship that can destroy entire empires in a single sitting, the ability to terraform planets quickly. A size that can reach class 7, Class 5 in scale. Also capable of using gravitational weapons.
- Qax (Qax occupation era, Xeelee Sequence) - Travel in sentient "Spline", and have several reverse-engineered alien technologies; Squeem hyperdrives, human wormhole networks, primitive versions of Xeelee starbreakers and very advanced nanotechnology including swarms that could cleanslate a planet (even the fossil record). half the species lives on their homeworld, and developed as traders.
- Contact aliens - Wormhole construction, other forms of FTL may still impossible. Created a powerful signal aimed to Earth, and their mathematics use higher dimensions. However, they were not the inventors.
- Imperium of Man (Warhammer 40,000) - The IoM is Class 7 in industrial scale but remain mostly planetary. But remnant technology still in possession, from greater times seem to brush here at least; planet cracking weapons, hyperdrives, battle planetoids with firepower on-par with other Tier 2 civilisations.
- Goa'uld System Lords (Stargate) - The Goa'uld are parasites and rarely design their own technology. The System Lords do have powerful stolen technologies (mostly Alteran); stargates, hyperspace travel capable of intergalactic transit, multi-gigaton weapons and shields, and intergalactic capability. Shields are powerful enough to stay immersed in an O-type star's corona. However, most slave worlds are kept in Iron Age development and still have a fuedal system. Technology and spacecraft may be slow to manufacture.
- Kicath (SporeWiki) - The Kicath Tier 3 but have gained early Tier 2 technology from the Milky Way Cooperative, such planet cracking weapons and increased FTL capabilities.
- Reapers (Mass Effect) - Much of their technology seems Tier 4 to me (like kinetic shields and megaton scale weapons), although they have zero-point energy and dark energy-powered mass effect fields used to create networks of krasnikov tubes. It is probably down to Reapers subtly manipulate races into a certain level of advancement and not requiring anything more.
- Tollans (Stargate) - The Tollans possessed technology to phase through matter, and reverse-engineered their own Stargate. The point that makes them Tier 2-like is that they had FTL communications, but when asked whether they worked by folding space, the Tollan replied "No, you won't understand". Tier 2 is a point where technology begins to advance even beyond our limits of knowledge.
- Species 8472 (Star Trek) - The "Undine" have impressive firepower, enough to destroy anything between a Borg Cube and planet, which is indicative of power sources expected from high tier civilisations. It is unclear how their "xenotechnology" operates but it is obviously organic. There is no evidence however that the Undine were able to access the main universe using their technology, instead using the Borg's quantum singularities.
- Protoss (Starcraft) - Quite unconventional, they have a lot of xeno/clarketech. They have hyperspatial travel and warp gates powered from zero-point-energy.
Early Interstellar (Tier 4) to Megastructural revolution (Tier 3)
Tier 3 civilisations generally are on a much larger scale than Tier 4 civilisations. They may using simpler structures such as dyson bubbles to start harnessing stellar energy, achieving Kardashev II, such a civilisation generates 80 times the energy of Humanity's biggest bomb, the Tsar Bomba, a second if hucked up to stars like our Sun (G-type, 1 solar mass). The energy released should be enough to power very advanced technology and synthesize materials impossible before, such as superheavy elements. Negative mass may also be achieved without limit, allowing for technologies beyond understanding or forseeable engineering for less advanced civilisations. Early hyperspatial technology (like transwarp) may become proto-typed. Wars may be fought over possession of the core for the lucky civilisation that is able to harness it will advance ten-fold.
Tier 4 civilisations, while lower-end seem to be bulk of science fiction. They have established a stable spacefaring civilisation but are still planetbound. In terms of size they may be limited by their local galactic neighborhood. Tier 4 and 3 civilisations grouped together can threaten higher scale civilisations. Power sources: Antimatter, "quantum singularities" (captured virtual radiation). Tier 4 civilisations are already very advanced (industry might include mass/energy conversion, like teleportation and replication for advanced material sciences). Large-scale geoengineering and terraforming is feasible in the lifespan of 1 or 2 generations. However, the number of higher-energy power sources probably decrease, meaning scale becomes more similar after tier 4. These civilisations use negative mass for FTL capability (warp, early hyperspace jump drives) as well as antigravity and subspace ambisils (most fantasically FTL may permit time travel). Other technologies might include quantum computing as well as widespread use of directed energy weapons and deflector shields.
Megastructural Revolution Median
- Grox Empire (Spore) - If we speculate they use the Galactic core as a source of power. They seem to have FTL propulsion unaffected by gravity wells, hinting of some unknown science.
- Cheela (Dragon's Egg) - Inhabit a neutron star, and advanced on more of a curved line due to the energy readily available to them, achieving technology comparable to other well established civilisations while remaining interplanetary until the end of the book.
- Stephen Hawking's imagined aliens - Bend starlight to create temporary wormholes. The Reckzo and Drodo of SporeWikiverse are equivalent.
- Classic single-system "Dyson Sphere Builders" (e.g. in Star Trek, and the Morlocks) - Very ancient Tier 3 civilisations might be able to construct Dyson Spheres. There are engineering problems with Dyson spheres, although it may be possible with materials a Tier 3 could manufacture. Even so, the cost and time may out-weigh the benefits, but still, there may be justifications.
- Tkon Empire (Star Trek) - They could move their star systems, perhaps using Shkadov thrusters.
- Ringworld Builders (Known Space)
- Earlier Foundation Empire (Foundation series) - Will evolve into a galactic consciousness (Galaxia) utilising every source of energy within.
- Iconian Servitor Races [except the Solonae, Undine and Heralds which are Tier 1 races, and some more primitive ones] (Star Trek Online) - The Servitor races benefit from having access to the Solonae Dyson spheres and subspace weaponry.
- Vaadwaur Supremacy - A cruel and ancient menace, defeated centuries before from orbital bombardment, The USS Voyager accidentally revived some, who escaped became Iconian servitors. The Vaadwaur came to possess lots of advanced hyperspatial weapons, their firepower is on-par with Voth and Borg fleets.
- Elachi - The Elachi are an otherwise tier 4 civilisation which is possibly in contact with the high tier Iconians. Thus, they have shielding and weapons that can take on whole fleets and have obvious hyperspatial technologies where they often set up base in subspace.
- Fek'Ihri Horde, Hur'q?
- Pierson's Puppeteers (Known Space) - The Puppeteers invented and traded the bulk of Tier 4 technology in the Known Space series such as hyperdrives, artificial gravity, stasis fields, and teleporters. But the Puppeteer's finest marvels are not what they traded: The Puppeteers are fleeing a galactic catastrophe millions of years yet to reach the Orion's Arm, and so they lifted their homeworlds into a Klemperer rosette and escaped at sublight (they fear hyperspace), using small artificial stars to heat them. Puppeteer cities are also hidden by advanced holography and connected by teleporters, so aren't built like human cities.
- Voth (Star Trek, STO) - The Voth are descended from a sentient race of dinosaurs that inhabited Earth, give that they are low Tier 3 at best it might be safe to assume they escaped on relativistic vessels or somehow emerged in the future, though possibly with hundreds of years to advance more than the Federation. The Voth live in city ships, some extremely large (in STO) and have firepower to threaten Federation vessels. They are not undefeatable however.
High end Tier 4 / Non-expansive Tier 3 - "Transwarp civilisations"
High end Tier 4 civilisations generally belong to universes where FTL is much easier and may have abilities of a classic Tier 3 civilisation, such as transwarp drives (some plot device between warp and hyperspace). They are similar to less expansive Tier 3 civilisations so are the same category.
- Humanity in Galactic Centre series (Gregory Benford) - Humanity is surrounded by vastly more powerful alien intelligence's, and are chased from the Sol System to the Galactic Center over a period of 35,000 years. While not quite matching their alien foes, Humanity are better survivors and live as "rats in the walls", hunter gathering advanced tech as they go. One race in the novels uses a cosmic string to destroy planets and spin vast megastructures out of the materials.
- Cephalodian Life Guardians (SporeWiki) - They have the ability to symbiotically grow their technology from life on their planet, which evolved from run-away nanotechnology on their planets prehistory. Their technology is sufficient enough to send them around the galaxy, and even enter the atmospheres of gas giants.
- Scions (Infinity The Quest for Earth) - Three cores of human civilisation in the galaxy, spread by hyperdrives and hyperspace jump-points. Possible terraforming. It is stated there will be no megastructures, except perhaps solar-energy statites.
- SporeWikiverse examples - Most of the Katar Sector races, the Four Races of the Kraw Galaxy and the KGGC, the Terditlians, Gablinus-Avis, BNSC, Defensive System's Block, Trucinex Imperium, Loron (Pre-UNO), Solonese Union; Natrian Empire (Pre-SporeWikiverse)
- Dominion (Star Trek) - A bit more advanced with military and industrial tech than the Federation, although lag behind at certain sciences such as replication. The Dominion is many times larger.
- United Federation of Planets, Romulan Star Empire, Klingon Empire, Breen Confederacy (Star Trek) - Some of the most advanced neighbours of the Federation, and possibly certain Delta Quadrant races rival the Federation in some areas. Romulans use 'quantum singularities' to power their warp drives. The Breen demonstrated superior shield draining abilities while the Federation appears to develop exotic particle fields. Each of these races have Mass/Energy conversion as replicators and have matter transporters, FTL signalling and sensor ranges, antimatter powered starships, and so on. In Star Trek Online the Federation appears to be reverse engineering alien technology (Borg, Breen, Tholian, Delta Quadrant, etc.) and getting hold of transwarp, subspace weapons and non-phasic shields. Even though the Federation lack a large military, the Federation and their neighbours can rally to defeat more powerful foes like the Borg or Dominion.
- Covenant (Halo) - The Covenant are advanced with powerful long-range weapons, and use quantum vacuum thrusters as impulse technology. However for the sake of argument, I believe they are less advanced than typical Star Trek races, much due to their reliance of nuclear fusion as opposed to antimatter. From what I can see, the Covenant's only technological advantage to say, the Federation is transwarp. Planetary glassing looks impressive, but looks slow and superficial to me. On the other hand, a small barrage of photon torpedoes by the Tal'Shiar and Obsidian Order was loaded with enough antimatter to annihilate 30% of the crust of the Founder's homeworld.
Early Interstellar Median
- Zentradi (Macross) - End Class 5 possibly Class 6 as industry, faster FTL technology.
- EVE Online - Wormholes would imply further advancement, although they are temporary and natural. There are also "stargates", but they could be hyperspace jump points (debatably a transwarp civilisation?). Other typical Tier 4 tech, and more industrial than Star Trek typically is, however factions are far less stable.
- UNSC (Halo) - Debatably higher, with overkill weapons, but overall technology in some cases is less advanced than Star Trek and the UNSC occupied a handful of systems.
- Minbari, Drakh (Babylon 5) - The Minbari seem to be above other B5 nations, e.g. antigravity plates, "shields", and weapons comparable to the best disruptors mounted on Romulan or Klingon ships. Similar case for the Drakh, who use some Shadow-technology.
- Tau (Warhammer 40k) - Warp drives and antigravity.
- Starship Troopers (FTL, antigravity, Moon ring construct, laser rifles, planetary destruction, no shields).
- The Bulk of science fiction, especially in movies and games. Possibly the Independance Day aliens, aliens in The Abyss, Day The Earth Stood Still, Close Encounters, Empire of Man (CoDominium), Prawns (District 9), Predator, X-files, Taken, Dune etc.
- Sentient xenosophonts (Orions Arm) - Often have very different biology (in alien environments) and psychology, this can reflect on their technological applications and goals. The Jacks for example, live on the metallic cores of Gas Giants, but enter 300 million year long hibernation's, with active intervals of 10,000 or so years.
- Tholians (Star Trek) - The Tholians have body temperatures in excess of 207 °C (404 °F), so have crystalline technology that can survive temperatures suited for their body heat. Tholians have mastery over directed energy tech, such as Tholian energy webs which sustain themselves. In Star Trek Online they have tetryon weapons (correlates with hyperspatial technology) and can make tiny warp jumps (they also targeted my vessel before I warped in!). The Tholians may even be higher tier, they have some kind of contact with parallel universes (this is because for some reason interuniversal rifts are weaker in Tholian space, meaning less energy needed?) and in the novels they actually have a mini-Dyson Sphere. Expanded Universe suggests Tier 3, but canon suggests advanced/alien Tier 4.
- WDC'ians (SporeWiki) - Life on a white dwarf star which learned how to colonise nearby stellar degenerates.
- Swarm races - "swarms" which scour the galaxy for whatever purpose (The Swarm, Star Trek) they evolved (Flood - Halo; Zerg - Starcraft; Tyranids - 40K; Arachnids - Starship Troopers) or were programmed to do, they may assimilate a large range of low and high technology and even become galactic-scale (Replicators - Stargate; Nanohorde - SporeWikiverse), or destroy/farm all sentient life (Dawn Hunters - Orion's Arm, Wraith - Stargate). They may assimilate all sorts of random technologies.
- Low-Energy civilisations - Development does not always involve a goal of attaining ever higher power sources. E.g. Cloudharvesters and Hiders (Orions Arm), "micro-sentiences" which shrink their body mass to be more efficient, or post-singularity societies that eliminate the need for expansion of more than a few colonies (mind uploading). Intelligent symbiotic species which travel "on the backs" of others could also be considered interstellar. Races in Forge of God (Greg Bear) are Hiders.
- Spaceborne creatures and space-based biospheres - In some fiction, spaceborne creatures are in fact runaway biotechnology like sentient bioships, such "wild" technology can even make complex spacefaring and energy harvesting biospheres, like the botworlds in Orions Arm. These may be regressive civilisations which were initially built of technology and intent but began to devolve mind while evolving biologically. The Logic Pool by Stephen Baxter is one example of a natural botworld bootstrapped by existing tech; nano/picotechnology which could grew as axiomatic trees of logic, which escaped the boundary of their world, eventually consuming an entire Moon, but solving truth/falsehoods using postulates.
- Romans and Mayans (Proxima/Ultima) - In two alternative histories, mysterious alien artifacts of immense power (and the ability to link up portals to other habitable planets) were discovered by the Romans and Mayans in their own time. They became anachronistic civilisations that built spaceships using only materials and tools available to either society despite having less scientific understanding. Baxter went to great detail how this was achieved, although the tech was logical it was inefficient. But the tenacious aspects of either culture pulled through. The Romans managed to explore nearby systems, while the Mayan civilisation deconstructed the Moon to build orbitals and space stations, while having no digital technology, advanced materials science or knowledge of physics.
Interplanetary (Tier 6) to Transtellar Revolution (Tier 5-4)
Usually STL, starting out using relativistic or generational spaceflight and then building warp drives, although FTL travel might be handed to them. Gravity is simulated by rotation, power source is usually nuclear fusion and solar power. As technology increases by development, reverse-engineering or trade can quickly shift a tier. Even at this point, a civilisation may have a "Theory of Everything" and might be able to engineer certain structures like space elevators not possible before. Power sources: Nuclear fusion, solar energy, planetary power sources.
Tech gifted/Transplanted Transtellar Revolution
- Most Babylon 5 powers - Babylon 5 fairs better than most television series at use of feasible technology, although FTL has been distributed by higher races.
- Naxridon and Arnodian Command (SporeWiki)
- Smaller NPC Spore empires - Very little technology in Spore is invented, FTL exists but is derived from reverse-egineered precursor tech that allows FTL.
- Twelve Colonies, Cylons (Battlestar Galactica) - Cylons are a bit more advanced.
- Mass Effect races - Excluding Reaper technology.
Median Transtellar revolution
- Humans in Alien series - Slowest FTL still requires cryogenic freezing. Artificial intelligence, cloning, phased plasma rifles and decades-long terraforming.
- Humans in Firefly series.
- The aliens in Battle: Los Angeles? - They may be Tier 5 or 4, though it seems an important power-source to them is water (fusion reactors?). Despite having armour and firepower not much better than ours, it seems they were able to establish a beachead and build vehicles and other constructs very quickly possibly derived from rubble. They may be quite advanced, yet lack resources. According to the main website, they have weapons which make humanity's nuclear weapons puny, advanced bio-engineering (weapon-enfusion) and technological telepathy.
- Humans in Avatar.
- Fithp (Footfall) - STL invaders who attack Earth with low-tech methods.
- Yotunian Ideom (SporeWiki) - Cold-adapted technologies, STL travel.
- Alphan civilization, Menzezium, Elucaphon, TAE (Asgord) (SporeWiki) - Weakest SporeWiki races perhaps.
- Red Dwarf
Most near-future and diamond-hard science fiction, cyberpunk and interplanetary stories included (e.g Sunshine or the Space Odyssey films).
- Nations in Anno 2205 - Goal is to reach a Type 1 Civilisation by beaming energy back to Earth from helium-3 reactors from the Moon. Space elevators, feasible quantum computing, nano-replicators and more unusually, anti-gravity technologies exist. Geonengineering and underwater cities exist as well.
- Humanity in GURPS Transhuman Space - The struggle from present day Humanity to a Posthuman state.
- Kerbal Space Program - Game with realistic physics and rocket science. Allows one to explore a solar system with modern technology but on a fictional world.
- Martians (War of the Worlds) - And many other sci-fi stories with sentients in the Sol System.
- Deisna - Technologically on-par with our world, but with emerging technologies today possibly already in commercialisation.
- 21st century Humanity (Real life) - Global Networking and communications, satellite navigation, digital media/computing, super/hypersonic flight, global commerce, nuclear fission, hydrogen power, geophysical manipulation, particle accelerators, human spaceflight, ion drives, laser technology, electromagnetic astronomy and gravity-wave (dev) sensing that can peer into the edge of the known universe. We may or may not be close to a "Theory of Everything" which simplifies the four forces to explain all baryonic matter. Temperatures cooled to just above Absolute Zero to create Bose-Einstein condensate.
- Emerging technologies: weather control, nuclear fusion, antimatter production, space and ocean colonisation, space elevators, space mining, solar sails, directed energy weapons, anti-lasers, materials that shrink when stretched, metamaterial cloaking, camouflage, plasma window shields, magnetricity, artificial intelligence, DNA computing, quantum computing, quantum teleportation, magnetic levitation, room-temperature superconductors, wireless energy transfer, nanotech of various fields, programmable matter, 3D printing, holography, immersive virtual reality, restoration of extinct animals. Big list here.
- Early 20th century Humanity in the Cthulhu Mythos (H.P. Lovecraft)
- Space Nazis (Iron Sky) - Some of their tech such as computers is more primitive than those living on Earth. Deiselpunk.
Communal (Tier 8) to Industrial Revolution (Tier 7-6)
- British Empire in The Difference Engine - An alternative reality where Charles Babbage succeeded in developing the Analytical Engine. Steam powered cars become the norm, and there are networks of punch-card computers analogous to the modern internet, with hackers and mechanical-pixel screens. Steam powered dreadnoughts even have their own analytic engines.
- His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) - The primary world in the Golden Compass/Northern Lights seems to be stylised on Victorian era-style steampunk.
- Koldenwelt (SporeWiki Fantasyverse) - Several cities and empires have steam power, battleships and so on.
- Dwemer (The Elder Scrolls) - It is often hard to distinguish magitech, especially when it is infused with physical technology, but it is clear that the Dwemer have mastered mechanical technology and steam, possibly electricity (or magic that behaves somewhat like it). They built automatons, powered underground cities and built models of Elder Scrolls cosmology.
- World of Warcraft tech
- Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
- Discworld (Terry Pratchett)
- Wizarding world (Harry Potter)
- The Edge Chronicles (Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell)
- Ioketa (SporeWikiverse) - Before being members of the UNO.
Archaic (Tier 10) to Demographic revolution (Tier 9)
Technology and the Theories of Everything
Application and theoretical physics
See Ghelæ/Tech and Ghelæ/Physics to view SporeWikiverse physics.
This is to address what technologies are possible in different models of physics, and how much science fiction and hypothetical technology is compatible under the same theories. Next I'll consider the steps (like resources and power generation, as well as the Fermi paradox) to apply it to the tier scale. Other things I'd like to do in the future is consider engineering components, a whole dimension of limits and successes. The theories provided will most likely be changed, and current human knowledge in these areas is limited, so any technologies belonging to undiscovered science and knowledge are obviously excluded.
- Only technologies that function purely on theoretical physics are listed, so not all future/sci-fi technologies are included (e.g. plasma weapons, cloaks, plasma shields or utility fog are all examples of emerging technology). It seems the technologies based on quantum field theories are on the most shaky ground of whether or not they will become reality.
- Sillytech, psuedoscience or mathematical oddities that defy current testable laws (e.g. shrink rays, long-term precognition, carnot engines, gravity shielding, torsion physics, Maxwell demons and zeno machines, though some forms of hypercomputer might work in physics.)
Format: Action - Theory required - Applications*(humanocentric of course!)
Technology to consider: Borg adaption technology, perfect absorbent, cold fusion (unlikely).
Physics to consider: Black Hole entanglement (new wormholes and wormhole firewalls), extremal and superextremal black hole electrons (stable quantum black holes?), noncomputational physics (AI, essence?), dark photons (dark matter applications?), applications for weyl curvature
Frameworks for gravitation and spacetime.
- Relativistic travel, time dilation - General Relativity, other Scale Tensor theories - Fast sublight propulsion, relativistic kill vehicles.
- Gravitoelectromagnetic current - General Relativity (solutions) - Gravitoelectromagnetic toroidal launchers, astro-engineering.
- Variable gravity (as opposed to constant) - Scale Tensor (Brans-Dicke theory relying on quantum inequalities) - Pitch and Bias drive, creation of black holes.
- Negative mass/energy - General Relativity (solutions), Shrodinger equation, classical field theory - Major component in Faster Than Light travel (Alcubierre warp drive, diametric drive, wormhole travel, krasnikov tube); time travel (Relativity of simultaneity); repulsive antigravity; optical warp shadows (Star Trek).
- Space warps without negative mass - Guass-Bonet gravity - Wormholes.
- PP-Wave - Scale Tensors: Brans-Dicke theory, Quantum field Theory: Kaluza-Klein theory, Superstring theory - Gridfire.
- Momentum interconversion - Violation of the conservation of linear and angular momentum - Energy and momentum both interact with the gravitational field, curving spacetime. The other stress-tensors can be converted into to one another and it may be possible to interconvert momentum. The angular momentum of just a few billion atoms could be used to deliver linear momentum to the macro-scale.
Frameworks for small-scale phenomena.
- A-entropic technology - Superconductor - Time crystals capable of surviving Heat Death of the universe. Computing not troubled by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Stasis fields.
- Bootstrap technology - Statistical mechanics - Great complexity can arise in systems given enough time, i.e. the Universe. A technology that could manipulate the statistics of a system could produce "magic", however naturally these processes would take many of orders of temporal magnitude to occur. One possibility might be to circumvent the passage of time, such as time dilating the system to the future and then transport it to the present.
- Particle physics, nuclear physics and optics
- Weaky Interacting Matter thermalisation - Collision of WIMP's can create heat - Photino Birds in the Xeelee Sequence "stellarformed" the entire universe. Ghostlight weapons in Orion's Arm.
- Perfect mirror - Millions of tiny mirrors angled in such a manner light is perfectly reflected, or altering the quantum vacuum (fine-structure constant) so the incidence of he speed of light is not equal to 1 - Reflects all electromagnetic and kinetic energy directly back at it's source. Wouldn't make a good standard mirror but could have important applications. Feedback pulse (STO).
- Black hole bombs - Hawking Radiation or superradiant instability.
- Stable strangelets - strange matter+black hole (only stable under high gravitational fields). - Weapons.
- Glasma weapon - Particle physics; quark-gluon plasma - Fires superheated plasma, emitting gamma-radiation, which can penetrate almost any shield (in a similar manner to a coloumb barrier) and has secondary effects such as nucleosynthesis and various types of plasma and particle weapons. High energy gamma radiation can be refined into antimatter too. Anything higher produces GUT forces (see Quantum Field Theories below).
- Degenerate matter - Fermi–Dirac statistics, + Charged microscopic black holes (Reissner-Nordström metric) - Powersource from decay of free neutrons. Charged black holes could stabilise super-dense "neutronium" and "quarkonium" for armour (pair production from EM) and engineering. Tiny amounts of degenerate matter may be used for artificial gravity. Ylem in Orion's Arm, "Black Angels" can convert electromagnetic waves into matter, which could be done via gamma ray pair production hitting degenerate matter.
- "Unobtanium elements" and hypernuclei - Islands of stability (magic numbers) obtained by neutron capture - Transuranic elements are predicted to have strange properties with implications on chemistry. Hypernuclei are exotic atoms with one or more hyperons adding a third dimension to the Periodic Table.
- Pico, Femtotechnology and quantum effects - Condensed Matter physics, quantum mechanical phenomena, condensates - Improved quantum computing substrates, nuclear chemistry, possibly machines; quantum levitation and differential sails (casimir effect), frictionless surfaces (quantum attraction/repulsion); strong magnetic fields can be used to warp or coagulate molecular bonds (Orions Arm); quantum optics/electronics, atomtronics, spintronics, magnetricity circuits; superchilled condensates, magnetized atomic bonding
- Teleportation, instantaneous communication, duplication/merging - Quantum non-locality+quantum computing storage without hidden variables - The No-communication theorem is thought to prevent signalling from entanglement (although recent paper suggests otherwise), and tachyons are rendered unstable by most theories. However, other theories involve nonlocality exist. One suggests the electron that are detected are not the real quantum object which actually travels at infinite speed, which might allow instant communication. Several methods of teleportation may exist (quantum entanglement and atom lasers). In the Xeelee Sequence, teleporters split the wavefunction of electrons. The half electrons are entangled and can leap from one bubble to another, which could explain quantum duplication, as well as being closer to true teleportation.
- Energy phasing, draining, dampening and dissipation - Bremsstrahlung (dampening field), condensed matter physics, teleportation or wormhole (draining power systems) - Star Trek staple in space combat.
- Force field technology - Electron plasma, quark-gluon plasma, using positrons to change charge, Delbrück Scattering - A staple in science fiction, most famously in Star Trek. Force fields can describe deflector shield technology and tractor/repulsor beams.
- Converting incoming energy into shield power - Induction - Useful Star Trek Online ability, armour in Spore. Kinetic energy from incoming particle weapons can keep a plasma shield warm.
- Heisenberg compensator - Open timelike curves - violations of certain aspects between entangled states and uncertainty.
Quantum field theories
Frameworks for a unified theory beyond the standard model. Some theories which are not really quantum gravity may be added for convenience.
- Plancktechnology and quantum gravity - Heisenberg uncertainty Principle - Plancktechnology concerns units of length, mass, energy etc. at or nearing the Planckscale. Maybe be related to hyperspatial technology if the existence of small extra dimensions exist, and metric engineering of the vacuum. Altering physical constants may occur near planck-energy.
- Morris-Thorne-Kuhfittig metric - Hyperspatial wormholes from quantum foam.
- Superstring theory, Kaluza-Klein theory, String Landscape (Compactified Extra dimensions) - Hyperdrive technology (transphasic devices and subspace sensors in Star Trek); Kaluza-Klein towers (Hypermatter in the SporeWikiverse or Star Wars, tetryon weapons from Star Trek, The Grid, Culture novels); metric engineering (implosion bomb, planckmachines e.g. Discontinuity Barrier in Orions Arm, Basement universes, false vacuum weapons).
- Braneworlds - M-theory and Large Extra Dimension/s, Randall-Sundrum model - Interdiction fields/subspace weapons/graviton spheres (subspace weapon for constraining FTL); vacuum energy weapons (quantum torpedoes and quantum field focus controllers, Star Trek). The Randall-Sundrum model could allow for quantum tunneling via open strings coupled between a pair of branes with asymmetric 'warp factors' (only fermions work leaving only FTL communication possible).
- Tachyon drive - Superstring theory; inflaton in inflationary cosmology*1 - SporeWikiverse tachyon drive heats something up to approaching planck-temperature, creating a warp bubble of expanding spacetime driven by the inflaton which loses energy and accelerates to infinity. *1May not be possible due to the difference between negative pressure in Cosmological Constant models and negative energy.
- Altering physical constants - Grand Unified Theory and electroweak symmetry breakdown, Dimensional transmutation (transfer of dimensionless numbers to dimensional ones) - High temperature breakdown of symmetries (most Silver Ghost tech), Mass/Higgs field manipulation, improved hypercomputing (e.g. Stephen Baxter story Planck Zero), strange materials (Xeelee Construction material based around breaking the Pauli-Exclusion Principle).
- High energy photons/Kugelblitz - Decay of hypermatter, black-body radiation of quark-gluon plasma, breakdown of GUT symmetries, Mass Inflation (rotating black holes), Hawking radiation from breakdown of microscopic black holes + parabolic reflector - A focal point of photons which such short wavelength they are approaching planck energy and are almost black holes. Used in the Xeelee Sequence as a tool to trap a quantum-transcended human's worldlines by the Qax. High energy photons could also be applied to metric engineering.
- Hawking Radiation - Can be collected using parabolic reflectors from black holes - Power source, black hole drives.
- Non-phasic shield - A bubble of negative mass producing repulsive gravitons. - Appears in Star Trek (Quantum Focused Bubble), Spore and the SporeWikiverse as a shield that can deflect all mass/energy weaker than the shield's mass. Main problem is that more negative mass is required to counteract the ship's positive mass.
- GUT's and Supersymmetry
- Exotic matter 1 (Monopole matter, leptoquarks) - Grand Unified Theory (some predictions), electroweak symmetry breaking - Inertial dampening, superstrong structures, proton decay, picomachines, astroengineering, baryogenesis and matter/antimatter conversion.
- Exotic matter 2 (Non-topological solitons, topological defects, holeum, possibly dark matter) - GUT & Supersymmetry breaking (some predictions) - Q-balls (stellar and or fusion engineering); cosmic strings (retrocausal time travel, gravitational technology for astroengineering and/or weapons, Closed Timelike Curve computing, power generation); micro-black hole clusters in "quantum chemistry"; if heavy photons exist, they could be used to speed up or slow down black hole rotation.
- Non-local variables in SUSY - Displacement weapons and drives.
- Dark energy manipulation - Quintessence theories, Dark Fluid
- Weapons - Chameleon particles - The Shatter Bomb in Orion's Arm creates a brief localised expansion of dark energy, moving atomic bonds, as they reconfigure, complex structures disintergrate. Main issue is that dark energy cannot be contained into a "bomb", though chameleon particles are coupled with photons so could be more akin to a "Shatterlaser".
- Dark energy drive - M-theory - Similar principle to the warp drive.
- Dark energy stars - Superfluid vacuum - The Junction in the SporeWikiverse inhabit these fortress stars which convert incoming energy into dark energy.
- Imaginary time - Wick Rotation of Quantum Field Theory - Ghost phasing in the SporeWikiverse, DCP ships transverse an extra spacetime coordinate and acts as a spectral shield to the rest of the universe.
- Inertia negation - ???? - Altering inertia would allow for complex manoeuvres and to negate the effects of shock.
- ? Unruh effect; dampening inertia would depend on whether the non-zero temperature observed by an accelerating reference frame acts like a constant or not.
- ? Stochastic electrodynamic drag force; relying on some kind of quantum inequality in an otherwise uniform zero-point field to manipulate local inertia (like a poynting vector).
- ? Machian shield; deny the quantum vacuum has any inertial effect, and find a way to shield your starship from gravitational fields (e.g. a gravastar or metric shield).
- ? Warp bubble; Inertia negation may well be provided by the warp bubble, with the vehicle within actually stationary.
Combinations of the above fields is everything from cosmology to geophysics.
- Universality machines
- Quantum Replicator/Universal Constructor - Heisenberg uncertainty Principle (virtual particles) and or extra dimensions (hypermatter)+Reversing chirality (Antimat production) or high energy gamma radiation + nucleosynthesis and other nuclear reactions. - Universal constructor embodies universality and could build anything. Limited only by knowledge of the user and limited to physical objects.
- Universal Explainer - Flexible computing medium - A universal computer could simulate all physical environments (and some logically possible). True AI are Universal Explainers (some researchers believe mind is beyond computing however). Barring any supernatural barriers of knowledge which probably don't exist anyway. But what about a universal translator? Mathematics may well be too diverse to be a truly universal language. But good problem solving probably is universal, so such a translator would be AI.
- Universal image generator - Capable of rendering all experiences of an outside environment (David Deutsch).
- Universal experience rendition - Capable of altering conscious experience. Capable of sharing all other individual's experiences.
- Orbital mechanics (simple gravitational manipulation) - General Relativity (Gravitoelectromagnetic current, movement of mass) - Moving large bodies of mass e.g. skhadov thrusters.
- Stellar engineering - Fusion manipulation using exotic matter, superconductors and nanotech shells or for more advanced civilisations; "grazer" wormholes/black holes - Stars could be used as power sources, or to create solar-system scale engines (imagine aliens moving their home star from a dangerous neighborhood). The output of a star could be manipulated to make more habitable (reflecting light away using clouds of mirrors of self-replicating nanotech), or perhaps by manipulating fusion itself using exotic matter (a q-ball). Material could be mined or manufactured from a star. Such devices could also become devastating weapons.
- Megascale-engineering - Monopole matter, degenerate matter maybe provide structural strength.
- Metric engineering - Plancktech (GUT, hypermatter, and/or negative mass) - "Godtech" devices which upon more advanced forms of technology which creates warp bubbles.
- Metric Shielding - Planck-energy photons - Acts as a sort of one-way mirror for incoming energy. Incoming particle weapons have their wordlines cut.
- Wormhole bomb - Gravitational collapse by feedback - Both in Orion's Arm and Doctor Who.
- Implosion weapon - warp bubble collapse - A device in Orion Arm that alters the dimensionality of space briefly.
- Non-orientable wormholes - Compactified Extra Dimensions, Chirality in particle physics - Matter/Antimatter conversion.
- Gravastar - General Relativity+Quantum Field Theory without black holes - A type of spacetime shield in Exultant, Stephen Baxter used to counteract FTL forewarning.
- Basement universe creation - Inflationary cosmology, gravastar (plancktech) - Pocket universes, dimensionally transcendent technology.
- Tipler Cylinder - Time travel.
- Kerr metric + black hole cosmology and/or inflationary cosmology; Malament–Hogarth spacetime, Hawking-Hartle theory - Interuniversal travel; hypercomputation; Kerr metrics and the Hawking-Hartle theory also allow time and space to swap roles, possibly creating Time Locks in Doctor Who.
- Graviton beams - Stress-energy tensor + holeum (laser medium) + resonator/launcher (string theory) - Tractor beams, weapons, tools.
- Graviton resonator - Reflecting gravity is a problem, however spacetime curvature it creates can also direct gravitons. This might eject the holeum however an alternative might be in string theory: closed loop strings (graviton) hits a p-brane, exciting it to emit more gravitons. Either absorbing/reflecting gravitons from branes or from the p-brane surface of black holes in the holeum, creating a P-brane oscillator.
Theoretical technology and realism
This is quite heavy, not for an introduction of the scale, so I shall state goals for those interested:
- A quantitative method for the tier scale.
- To look out how speculative sci-fi technology is with comparison to the scales of energy requires to harness exotic physics.
Introduction, what is Tier 2?
Tier 2 civilisations are the ones who are leaping beyond the stellar revolution. They rate more than just Kardashev II, because they have the power to use energy of this range efficiently to easily begin projects involving extreme physical conditions. What is meant by these projects? Scale, of course. Its possible that lower tech societies could indeed probe these ranges tentatively, and even from the modern human vantage point, possibly understand at some basic level what to expect (such as our best predictions for Grand Unification Theory). But a tier 2 civilisation is built up of such a scale. In the SporeWikiverse, various civilisations are a long some path on the "hyperspatial revolution", using wormhole technologies for hyperspatial travel and early metric engineering. Some, like the DCP, DI and others can already network "grids" of stellar engines and can tap into such energies about anywhere they want, not just limited to a convenient star.
Limits to growth
Tier 2 and its revolution marks the point between what we know is possible, or even speculative, to beyond our imagination completely. If such civilisations really exists, their knowledge of the universe (while arguably knowable to us should they teach us) is far beyond anything we can expect. Now to understand why this is so, one must look at Spreng's Triangle, made by the physicist, Daniel Spreng. It depicts the interplay of time, energy and information (or complexity). Technology depends on the interplay of the three points in order to complete a task, each point we make is interdependent with two others (think of symbiosis). Perhaps the corners ultimate limits: for time, the quantum limit for making a clock; for energy, the maximum available/usable source; and for information, the maximum limits of computation, storage and compression.
The corners aren't all that important to the triangle, the interplay is. Societies very close to I=0 have very little information stored, and so take energy over a long time (even generations) to afford very small changes in their way of life. Much human history has sat in such stagnation (of change). E=0 in perspective, has very little energy but can trade it for time and information, one might imagine the so-called Slow Sentience imagined by science fiction authors living in cold environments thinking over long time-scales, or "hider habitats" using similar tactics (arguably, anything your desktop can do can also be done with pen and paper). Each energy revolution creeps towards t=0, energy and information becoming almost indistinguishable further up the scale.
My guess is that a tier 2 civilisation has reached the "clock limit", the fastest possible transformations. At this point, the hint of complexity obvious, because we use clocks to synchronise and understand complex interactions. The physicist John D.Barrow points out (in his book, Impossibility) that machines require coordination by reading clocks repeatedly, which is limited by the Uncertainty Principle in quantum mechanics. A tier 2 civilisation's technology would run faster, on greater extremes of energy (small and large scales), and would have information arranged in unpredictable ways through levels of emergence. However, it would be alarming if what they could do is diminished.
Unfortunately, what Spreng's triangle can't show, is the detail of complex machines, and future knowledge. Indeed, while information may be limited, it seems complexity itself isn't conserved, even if we lose prediction. Could the clock limit even be surpassed? If a lower tier hadn't already passed it, it wouldn't surprise me that a Tier 2 could figure out a way (there is already doubt to absolute standards, and David Deutsch's quantum computation may, I need to look into this).
FTL would play an important role here. If it is impossible, it would take a sublight civilisation far longer to reach a stellar revolution, or to expand.
So for time, energy, information processing and storage, it is possible to get some idea what each revolution might allow for. Complexity and knowledge can't be standardised or predicted, but both are important outsiders to the triangle. That still leaves the possibility for Tier 6, Tier 5, Tier 4 and Tier 3 innovations and lifestyles to surprise us with complexity, especially for alien powers! A limit of our knowledge might go like this: we probe an artefact for information processing, for signs of energy, and we might be limited by our preconceptions. It is even possible that the way hard/speculative science fiction authors, despite their best efforts, only reflect an extrapolation our age. SETI looking for giant "stellar industry" I argue, could be 21st century pie in the sky.
The original of "Tier Unknown", was to reflect this. But the new tier scale was able to incorporate the different types of alien society into categories. If you look at Tier 4, it is quite varied. Variation doesn't occur again until Tier 1 (might be our imaginations). Tier 2 however, is the point beyond our knowledge, thus most Tier 2 tech or higher imagined by sci-fi authors operates on Clarke's Third Law.
And... Onto technology
- EI: Energy/Information, >t=0 - Upwards of energy and time.
- C: Complexity, >t=0 or E=0 (maybe) - Complexity, another direction for technology as argued.
I have paired the tech with the best sci-fi grading around. Eventually I would like to find out the minimum energy ranges and resources required to pull off these technologies on a large scale.
Clarke's Third Law
I'd expect more and more of these technologies would appear more and more often between Tier 2 and Tier 1, and beyond, though some apply to lower tiers. Generally falls into Firm Science Fiction. Such technologies are posited to work beyond human knowledge, seem to defy laws of physics or require a radical rethink of mainstream theories.
- Tachyonic technology (e.g. tachyonic drives, tachyonic ansibles) - Would require violations of Lorentz covariance. It is thought that tachyons condensate as an instability, preserving causality, rather than actually exceed c.
- Faster Than Light without time travel - Soft to Firm Science Fiction
- Supersymmetry Drive - EC - Firm Science Fiction The SUSYdrive from the Xeelee Sequence transforms fermions and bosons into supersymmetric twins, and vise versa, with the fermions ending up in a different place to "leap frog" across a SUSY-universe. It would require a non-local Hidden Variable Theory and would at best achieve a random walk.
- Xeelee Construction Material - EC - Firm to Plausibly Hard Science Fiction - Violates the Pauli Exclusion Principle by allowing two fermions to share the same quantum state. Like many Xeelee (and non-Xeelee) technologies in the Xeelee Sequence, the technology is Clarke's Third Law. However, these violations are at least explained well unlike technobabble.
- Graviton beams - EC - Plausibly Hard SF - It is unclear to me how you would focus gravitons into beam. First you need a medium, possibly quantumscale black holes or stable gravitationally bound states (holeum), which hypothetical. But how to resonate gravitons and do it without ejecting the medium? In my research, I've come across the concept of P-brane oscillators in String theory, where closed string loops like gravitons can cause other branes to emit more gravitons, reflecting them back (however, the presence of conditions that allow hawking radiation negates holeum, it needs high density and GUT temperatures). If this could work (I'm not saying it does, in fact, the last brackets imply it doesn't), it would still require tremendous energy to pinch branes and pluck gravitons, and indeed, engineering bound states of gravitational chemistry would require resources and energy for large scale GUT technology. Note that, this is not necessarily a problem for making tractor or repulsor beams, which might work better on different physical processes.
Technologies dreamed by speculative science fiction authors, futurists and some physicists, only possible if their ideas survive scientific criticism and become good explanations.
- Church–Turing–Deutsch principle-type quantum computer - EI+C - Plausibly Hard SF - Now, as a scientific realist, I find David Deutsch has a very strong argument for the modern version of Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics to be the most rational one. It would a shame for it not to be, because as I shall show, Deutsch's quantum computer is probably the most exciting on this list and deserves an EI+C rating (as multiple universes might even play a role in complex trans-universal processes like evolution, read his book). His quantum computers operate on quantum interference between other versions of itself in other universes, an advantage over the intractable. The Universal Quantum Computer is perhaps the ultimate transformer that is physically possible, able to simulate entire universes and create new knowledge forever. However, I am not a quantum physicist, I would not be able to backup the idea in any categories below and it is a consensus that Many Worlds is an interpretation. Hopefully, if quantum computers work as Deutsch argues, a multi-universe operating computer would be testable.
Implied technologies, appear to exist in theory, but may be ruled out by refinements or a better theory and/or solution.
Exact solutions and frameworks
- Warp bubbles (e.g. Alcubierre drive, some metric tech?) - EI - Plausibly Hard SF - Note that it is still not clear if these are feasible as an engineering options, even if they were shown to be features of the world.
- Wormholes: Morris-Thorne metric, Kerr metric (metric engineering and weapons, hyperspace?) - EI - Plausibly Hard SF - If apparent FTL is possible, it would necessarily permit time travel. The nature of temporal travel however, is Hypothetical still.
- Quantum Replicator/Universal Constructor - EI+C - Plausibly Hard SF - What is the difference between a universal simulator and constructor, really? I guess a multiverse-spanning one is just a better version of the same thing, though quantum machines dare I say may not need Many Worlds Interpretation at least work minimally. Anyway, the replicator in the form which Ghelae thought up operates on known laws, except for the explanation of hypermatter, that being Kaluza-Klein theory. But its very close to Survived Theories.
- Hypermatter - EI - Plausibly Hard SF - May require one or more of the following: Kaluza-Klein theory, String or M Theory, Supersymmetry.
- Nuclear chemistry (of femtotechnology) - EI - Plausibly Hard SF
The realm of exploratory engineering. Physically possible technology, unknown how to reach through more human problems, e.g. engineering, error, economy.
- Negative energy?
- Strong AI - C, E=0, I=0 - Very Hard SF - It is unknown still how to approach the hard problem of consciousness, and how real creativity evolved.
- Black hole mining/living - EI, E=0 - Very/Diamond Hard SF - No, not living in a black hole. Energy could be extracted from the black hole's rotation and indeed its ergosphere via the Penrose Process.
- Relativistic travel - EI - Diamond Hard SF
- Picotechnology - EI - Very Hard SF
- Nano-molecular machinery (of, nanotechnology) - EI - Very Hard SF - One of those blurred boundary areas, are we in development yet?
Technologies being built today, maybe abandoned by better technologies as theories above are abandoned by better ones. Progress may lead to one or more new avenues not thought of before, or even new understanding.
Application and feasibility
Okay, so if we take such technologies as possible, how quickly or likely will they be made?
Example: Warp drive feasibility
In order for a warp drive to be even theoretically possible, the following configuration is required: A solution in Einstein's Field Equations (or modification e.g. Brans-Dicke) that allows for negative mass. Or an alternative: Gauss-Bonet modification. SporeWikiverse seems to also require a GUT & SUSY compatible with String theory or Kaluza-Klein theory.
But to be instantiated, what is negative energy, how is it manipulated? Quantum inequalities in spacetime must be contained.
Some interpretations suggest it would take as much as the mass-energy of the universe to power a warp drive to cross the Milky Way. If this is true, the warp drive becomes unfeasible unless there is an undiscovered solution. However, physicist Serguei Krasnikov has reduced the amount to a few milligrams using a new metric.
But how much time and energy is needed to produce or contain a few milligrams? A planck mass is one 2x10-5 of a gram, while a milligram is an 1000th of a gram. While this is a big number, I am optimistic, because the more energy is supplied into the system, the more negative energy might be available. Better still physicist Harold White has suggested reducing a warp bubble to a doughnut drastically reduces the mass required.
So for a warp drive, the following physics is required: General Relativity solution for negative mass (quantum irregularity)+ Van den Broeck metric.
What I need is a calculation of the energy requirements for 1 milligram of negative mass, along with the appropriate power source. Obviously I would think that the power source to make negative mass needs to be a power source that is available before negative mass is even generated.
- Antimatter - How much antimatter would be required?
- Harnessing stellar energy - Same as above.
- Making a prediction on the earliest level FTL could be achieved if all production was based on development, ignoring economic constrains.
It would seem a warp drive it at least limited to a Type II civilisation on the kardashev scale. If this is the only way to make a warp drive, any civilisation which develops it must be a Type II civilisation. They may or may not be interstellar. We do not need to travel to the stars first through difficult sublight, we might be able to harness our own Sun. Under current concept, a huge laser-powered particle accelerator (or a giant superconductor) powered by the Sun might be all that is needed. A laser would reduce the materials required thus cut the cost of resources.
This is another section for my personal enjoyment. I do however, keep an open mind about the UFO phenomenon, but I wouldn't consider myself a believer of the alien hypothesis.
Regarding this subpage is about technology, these 'sky beasts' are thought of as technological, which only leaves a few viable hypotheses, that they are: genuine alien spacecraft; 'runaway' self-replicating probes (this is my idea), which have possibly evolved (after setting off millions or perhaps billions of years ago), becoming biological 'sky beasts'; or they are crypoterrestrial. This would suggest that either UFO's are modern secret technology (which seems in fact the most unlikely, given the abilities appear to defy currently testable physics), or technology reverse-engineered from an ancient precursor civilisation (vimanas have been interpreted by some as like modern UFO reports).
Other non-technological theories involve geo-electromagnetic phenomena, hoax/misindentification, spiritual or psychosocial mass hallucination explanations, or something beyond comprehension. However none of these explanations alone account for all UFO reports which are often conflicting, some are a mystery and that is undeniable. It is psuedoskepticsm to disregard them as mysteries, but blind belief to blame it all on aliens. The 'sky beasts' I'm afraid to exist, but what they truly are (and probably many things account for them), will not be found by blunt belief, or blunt doubt.
It would be best to list features that commonly appear across cases of UFO encounters. Unlike with fictional universes with rubber science, it is harder to compare theoretical physics to the UFO phenomenon. Some alleged abilities will support or disprove certain explanations.
- Morphing/Shape-shifting - One distinctive feature in many UFO cases is the ability to change shape and even size. Some UFO's do not even appear solid, although this does not mean they are changing shape when it could be visual trickery.
- Propulsion technology
- Inertia negation - UFO's commonly accelerate/decelerate at tremendous velocities and can "buzz" aircraft as if G forces do not exist.
- Geometric shapes - Aside from a few reports, most UFO's are spheroid, cylindrical or wedge shaped. They seem to ignore aerodynamics or at least have enough energy to ignore it.
- Travelling through different media - Oceans, Atmosphere, Space.
- Effects on surroundings - These effects may not be deliberate, suggesting UFO's are non-intelligent (e.g. space creature), or at least doesn't value disruption.
- Radar bogie - UFO's either seem to ignore radar or cloak.
- Technology jamming/electrical disruption - There are alleged cases in the Cold War of UFO's jamming missile bases and intercepting aircraft. Many abductee cases report vehicles stopping. Unlike a modern EMP weapon, the technology often works again after the UFO stops influencing it.
- Heat damage and radiation burns
- Indentations - Suggest that at least when UFO's land, they are solid.
- Altered states of consciousness - Missing time, paralysis, hallucinations (is abduction a hallucination induced by neurological disruption?). Could missing time relate more physically to the UFO's propulsion?
Interesting, but isolated cases.
- UFO propulsion
- Materialisation - Rarely observed being in two places at once, vanishing and re-appearing.
- But are some UFO's fragile? - There are alleged cases of military encounters with UFO's that disintegrate when fired upon, although this does not mean they were destroyed.
- Pseudodisintegration - The Voronezh case tells of young person who vanished (re-appearing later) after being shot by a larger version of the Pen device.
- Bigger on the inside - Small UFO's with lots of occupants are sometimes reported. The occupants could however be analogous to holograms or hallucinations induced by the UFO.
- Defense Shield - Footage and eye-witness accounts of the "Battle of Los Angeles" show anti-aircraft weapons bouncing and exploding around the unidentified object as if the weapons were not touching.
Abduction/contact cases. This is separate because alien hypothesis =/= UFO phenomenon, and also because psychosocial explanations often debunk these cases.
- The pen - A pencil-sized device capable of stunning a human in one to two shots.
- Suction device - Often placed on the chest.
- Invisible walls and fake environments - Technological or hallucinations induced by the technology?
- Faster Than Light travel - A few abductees report being taken to local stars, or shown star maps such as Zeta Reticuli or Sirius.
- Robots and Synthetic humans - Some UFO's also seem unmanned.
- Advanced medical effects - Some abductees report illnesses such as cancers cured by the entities who abducted them. This is the opposite of reports that radiation sickness and cancer has been induced by a UFO.
- Transporters - Certain Nordic races are said to come and go as beams of light.
As one can see, there is a wide-range of UFO reports, many of them suggest a tangle of different explanations. For example, there are cases where abductees/observers are harmed by the UFO, and cases where their illnesses are cured. One can interpret two things from this: That there is more than one species of visitors, or that cases where people are harmed are caused by mistakes with human technology, which is what the Cash-Landrum incident suggests, a UFO that caused burns and sickness to all three witnesses (and later was attributed to cancer) that was being escorted by military helicopters.
Xenotechnology: How the intelligent species makes leaps in technology
If we take in Truly Alien life into account (basically anything unlike carbon-based life on Earth), the locations for life to exist in the universe rapidally expands beyond what we know of the Goldilocks zone. For a long time, scientists within SETI have speculated that manipulative-type sentients (this is not taking other types of adaptive xenopsychology into account) can only create technology on the surface of planets with atmospheric chemistries that are remarkably unreactive; for example, if free-oxygen was present on Titan, fire, one of the most important sources of energy for early man, but be an impossibly dangerous exploit). Chlorine-dominant atmospheres would also be unsuitable for smelting iron and copper (leading whatever manipulative-type sentient to either find another metal). In more recent times, hard science fiction writers and some astrobiologists have speculated that Aquatic civilisations, Atmospheric civilisations, stellar-based and many other very alien intelligences and so on can exist. They may all manipulate their environment for different uses to Earth-civilisation, but all share one thing in common, and that is energy.
In the "Star Maker", a world is mentioned who's sentient lifeforms are Swarm Intelligences. These were composite beings who lived on a world swepped by dramatic ocean tides, making flight important, however, its natives coudn't achieve lift with brains as big as human's. This, each flock of birds was a composite conciousness, they created a mental unity based on manipulation of strong electromagnetic fields, this was ultimatly biological, and comparable to the monkey paws of human beings which is the basis of technology for manipulative-sentients. Through this they were able to develop agriculture, and eventually wind-turbine power generation and archictecture based on their own manipulation of the atmosphere. Radio waves, not nuclear power, were the Weapons of Mass Destruction on their world, eventually only two flocks were left dominant, having absorbed the others. A great war occurred with the two flock-civilisation attemping to absorb the other using radio-wave bombardment.
So indeed, not all technological civilisations are the same. This is the basis of the Tier U on the previous scale, although now I feel like all a civilisation needs to do to reach higher tiers of technology is to find ever greater sources of energy and resources to use it; perhaps a star-civilisation exists out there, perhaps it can find ingenious ways to manipulate its environment, but without solid material, it cannot leave its home star, if this civilisation is spread right across it would rate Kardashev-II, yet at the same time, it could not (and probably would not want or need to) create solid objects let alone starships and the other usual tropes of science fiction.
Such limited Tier U Xeno-technolofical civilisations probably fit in the lower-left to lower right boxes for a long time.
Solving the issues with technology
Me and some other users think that the new tier scale should be vague about technology. Technology is an abstract thing, it can be classified by how it works, by energy/mass, by its infinite applications varying in advancement (which as we've seen above also varies) and so on. Some alien technology and hypertechnology is not easy to add to a scale.
- To expand or not to expand: Generally, civilisations expand, societies which cannot expand due to physical, technical or motivational reasons stay in the lower-right box. Human (abd generally in fiction, many species) civilisations do expand, and the more energy sources it can harness, the more the universe is opened up, perhaps to levels beyond current human understanding nearing the tip of the scale, especially if information-processing rate increases (see transhumanism, abd the sentience quotient). The Kardeshev scale deals with this quite well, and is the basis for the original Tier scale and the Class scale which this is attempting to bridge the gap.
- Hypertechnology: However, this scale will have to be vague, for several reasons, some of these make the "Tier U" intelligences impossible to put on a kardeshev scale accuratly. Like with the sentience quotient, if an artifact from a superior intelligence fell on Earth, if humans even recorgnise such a device distinct from the natural world or in our perceptions (perhaps a monolith created for our image) we might project our own beliefs ono it. As Stephen Baxter mentioned in one interview, we may try to measure information processing and energy readings, not finding its true purpose, just as the apemen in 2001: Space Odyssey may have tried to procreate with the artifacts.
- Civilisations that don't fit (Tier U): The Nox in Stargate are one of the Four Great Races, refer to humans as young and all that, but for most of the episode appeared as stone-age people. Yet, it turned out they had an invisible civilisation, that was all around that Sg1 didn't notice until shown. In fact the Nox could build better Statgates than the Ancients, they had no unstable vortex for example. Wormhole-technology, yet no visible energy source. The technology was either hidden or simply beyond understanding. Some sci-fi civilisations have advanced technology but are not very large empires, perhaps most having left, or became extinct. Others swarm, taking resources and never really advancing much, becoming technologically stagnant. Many fictional civilisations never develop their own technology, simply raiding off others like thieves or parasites. The Cephalodians in the SporeWikiverse evolved from runaway bionanobots, and never build technology, instead symbiotically "instructing" or "programming" other life (also descended from bionanotechnology) into whatever living form they desire.
- Conclusion: Because of all this, instead this scale isn't about technology itself but the advance of a civilisation and likelyhood of what those technologies are applied to.
Nowpunk - How close are we to living in a cyberpunk world?
Obviously, our world will never be an exact mirror of a cyberpunk world. Forecasting future technology and society is almost as hard as predicting long-term weather. However, I think at the very least, the Post-Cyberpunk world is much closer to reality of what already exists than any other predictions in science fiction, like the Jetsons.
- The Cyberpunk: A common argument used against people suggesting we are moving into a cyberpunk future is the blur between man and machine. I could of course cite the various devices being developed through medical engineering: organ templates, artificial vision, prosthetics etc., but that would be beside the point. Humans create technology to extend their capabilities, and that does not necessarily mean that the blur between man and machine requires surgical body mods.
- I have a feeling that the traditional cyborg is already an outdated concept. We now have devices that can read nerve signals and subtle electrical flows on our skin. In fact, it is even possible to get functional circuit boards painted or tattooed on your skin. The cyborg of today requires no invasive implants (which in my opinion will only ever find their use as medical aides), but have devices that do the same: powered exoskeletons, constant connection to the world wide web and augmented reality. This moves me onto my next topic.
- VR: True immerse virtual reality never really took off. Sure, most people play games these days, but as far as daily life goes, as soon you get a job or have a family, the mainstream simply have no time for virtual worlds. Of course, there have been unfortunate cases of babies neglected by parents who spend too long on MMO's.
- In the last few years, augmented and mixed reality have begun to take the scene. Rather than forgetting about the real world altogether, most people with smartphone devices and tablets enjoy using apps, crowd sourcing, and even gaming reality.
- AI: The traditional super-intelligent android in my opinion, has never taken off, or ever will do. We barely understand how our own consciousness works, and some physicists argue the algorithmic methods of AI research are flawed. But I argue that androids will never be cheap, it is much simpler to build swarms of robots that do only a few simple taks, but network together. Such devices being developed as I write this.
- Consciousness and intelligence, if it does arise in AI, will not be like human intelligence. If it evolved on the internet, the web would be it's "bottle universe". It will not perceive our world or think like human beings, having developed in an alien environment, though it might eventually deduce the existence of our world, just as we have deduced the existence of hidden unseen physical phenomena, like nuclear reactions, curved spacetime and quantum mechanics.
- An interesting article I read on Newscientist suggests the internet is already exhibiting intelligent characteristics involving predictions with Big Data. This supports my opinion that machine intelligence will be quite different to our expectations, it will be interesting to see how man and machine will interact and learn of each other through the explanatory wall between realities. "The street finds its own uses for things" in William Gibson's Burning Chrome might already be true.
- Aesthetics: Obviously, the biggest difference between traditional cyberpunk and our world is the increasing reliance on wireless technology. Messy wires and circuitry are a big theme in Cyberpunk. But I can still imagine wires existing for another 50 years, especially in poorer communities or countries.
- DIY: There has been a trend in the last decade or so to buy houses without much need for decoration or fixing, indeed people like their things fully packaged. But I think there are plenty of geeks out there who like to customise their gadgets, software, computers, radios etc.
- There are plenty of people custom-building laser guns and taser swords. I expect 3D printers to enter the market soon, and people will find elaborate ways of using them. We are also seeing more people going off the main powergrid.
- The Grid in in fact quite vunerable and inefficient. We may see it getting targetted by terrorism or even threatened by solar storms in the near-future as it gets ever more complicated. It is quite possible that the Grid will be broken up smaller, neighborhood grids in the not too distant future. How much power will that give to the DIY punks? We will see.
Society and subculture
- Hacking: Cyberhacking has existed since the 80's. In Douglas Rushkoff's book, Cyberia, the author interviews one such early hacker, who described himself as a prankster/gamer. He did not really have any criminal motive, it was a kind of game. These early hackers eventually found themselves being employed secretly by big corporations, and if were not careful, would find themselves involved with criminal organisations.
- Megacorporations and the punks: The 90's saw the culture of rave and technoshamanism, though it seems that they have retreated back to the end-of-night music at festivals. However, as we've seen in the late 2000's and 2010's, real revolutions have been fueled with the use of smart devices. The reaction by governments is mixed, sometimes these uses are praised, and in others, painted as a potential terrorist tool. Both reactions were given by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who praised the use of blackberries during the Arab Spring, but wanted action to shut the networks during the England Riots.
- The England riots were a reminder to me that there is a gap between the rich and the poor in even wealthy countries. I don't condone the acts of the riots destroying businesses, but I see it as part of the problem.
- On the other hand, it could be argued that in the UK at least, the Working Class exists only as a culture. There is indeed a Low Class and Middle Class, but as a function it no longer exists. There are no longer mining communities for example, and colleges are filled with students from all types of backgrounds.
- Of course, the internet is also being used to spy on people. The internet is a very powerful piece of technology, it be used against people just as much as they can use it for themselves. Example.
There are elements are Cyberpunk dystopia, though our world is certainly not as gritty or pessimistic. In most cyberpunk stories, the middle class has dissolved, you are either nothing or everything. But our world is more flexible and adaptable. The middle class would in fact adapt, we have seen people going off the grid or making their own gardens in the cellar or on rooftops.
I know a real life Cyberpunk
I know someone (who I will not name, as he is paranoid of the intenet's power) who was almost killed in a road accident, while a car pulled out on him. He had to have metal rods and straps based in his legs so he could walk again, and needs metal harness to take strain off his legs while he walks. He decided to take on the style of Cyberpunk and Hell-Raiser, by customizing his harness and clothes with scrap metal he had shaped himself (once worked with trains so knows this sort of stuff). His small house looks cyberpunk from the inside.
Not only has he taken on the DIY-punk ethic, he is a punk, and describes himself as a sort of old-model cyborg.
So finally we can imagine somewhere in the world, possibly even today (in principle) behind the neon twilight in some city underworld, there is a battle raging between criminals (or revolutionaries depending on the side) who are using custom-built weapons built with a 3D printer, chased by masked police suited with powered armour, both using smart devices to track each other, all being filmed and uploaded to the Dark Web to be watched by thousands. Neither of them has surgical implants, there are no Terminator robots running about and everything is wireless, but none-the-less, high tech and gritty.
Which should we go for?
- Axis 1 - Matter manifestations
- Axis 2 - Mass-Energy / Metric manifestation
- Axis 3 - Statistical / Information / Abstraction manifestation
- Relativistic mechanics
- Quantum mechanics
- Quantum field theories
- Transportation & Storage
- Power sources
- Particle scale
- Material scale
- Metric scale
- Biotechnology; genetic modification
- Cybernetic systems; technology interface
- Climate; geo-engineering, terraforming
- Condensed matter systems
- Construction; e.g. megastructural, infrastructure
- Energy, storage, propulsion, etc.
- Information systems; e.g. computation, complex systems and IT, statistics and chaos
- Materials science; and chemistry, nanoscale, picoscale, low temperature
- Matter conversion
- Metric; gravity modifications, negative energy
- Quantum technologies
- Solid state, e.g. Electronics, spintronics, etc.
- Alien or other - Unexpected discoveries, truly alien and/or godtech.
By gameplay of the tier scale
- Infrastructure; construction, power output etc.