The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization's level of technological advancement, based on the amount of energy a civilization is able to utilize and is currently used by the Interstellar Coalition to determine the technological level of a civilization.
The scale has five designated categories and was first proposed in 1964 by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev.
Five Levels of Civilization
A civilization that extracts its energy, information, raw-materials from crude organic-based sources (i.e. food/wood/fossil fuel/books/oral tradition); pressures via natural disaster, selection, and societal collapse creates extreme (99.9%) risk of extinction. In several cases societies that fail to improve social, environmental and medical understanding concurrently with other advancements, frequently accelerated their own extinction.
These civilizations are psychologically and socially unprepared for dealing with even fellow tiers of Type-0 civilizations, generally suffering social rioting, collapse or attempts at war. Contact between a Type-0 civilization and any other higher tier of civilization usually results in the eventual assimiliation and/or destruciton of the lower civilizations culture.
The Interstellar Coalition forbids all contact of Type-0 civilizations where possible, for fear of culture containmentation and/or destruction.
A civilization that extracts its energy, information, raw-materials from fusion power, hydrogen, and other "high-density" renewable-resources. It is capable of mega-scale engineering, orbital space-flight and colonization, medical and technological singularity, planetary engineering, trade and defence, and star system-scale influence; but are still vulnerable to extinction.
The Interstellar Coalition allows limited contact of Type-I civilizations, but are highly restrictive for fear of culture containmentation and/or destruction.
These civilizations are psychologically and socially prepared for dealing with other civilization tiers and normally can avoid cultural assimiliation/destruction by higher tier civilizations.
An example of a civilization at this level would be the Royal Kingdom of Betazed, prior to its contact and abrupt conquest with the New Xindus Cooperative in the Xindi Conflict.
A civilization that extracts fusion energy, information, and raw-materials from multiple solar systems; its capable of FTL space-flight, interplanetary communication, stellar engineering, and star cluster-scale influence; the resulting proliferation and diversification would theoretically eliminate the probability of extinction.
The Interstellar Coalition allows full contact of Type-II civilizations.
A civilization that extracts fusion energy, information, and raw-materials from all possible pshyical avenues; it's capable of interstellar travel, interstellar communication, galactic engineering and galaxy-scale influence.
The Interstellar Coalition allows cordial contact of Type-III civilizations.
An example of a civilization at this level would be the Reapers and Precursors.
A civilization that extracts energy, information, and raw-materials from all possible levels of existence; it is capable of intergalactic travel, intergalactic communication, and universal-scale influence; in theory, these civilization may be perceived as omnipresence/omnipotent.
Commonly civilizations of this level will only interact with fellow Type-IV civilizations and their culture, language and technology is considered too complex for comprehension by lower civilization tiers.
The Interstellar Coalition encourages benign but tentative contact of Type-III civilizations.
Such hypothetical civilizations have either transcended their universe of origin or arose to other higher-orders of existence, and are capable of universe-scale manipulation.
No Type-V has ever been encountered.
The Interstellar Coalition accepts there are exceptions to the Kardashev Scale for lower level civilization tiers but is highly critical when allowing such situations. In all cases contact between the Interstellar Coalition (Type-II) and a lower tier are to be avoided and if necessary, limited but never isolatist.
In its broadest sense, these exceptions are to protect life with the expectation that the less advance civilization will one day advanced to a higher tier and cordial if not friendly relations should always be maintained.
These include but are not limited to:
- If a species has had previous contact with a higher tier race previously.
- If it requires either protection, rehabilitation or recovery that is beyond their means due to influence of a higher-tier civilization.
- In situations where extinction of a species can be prevented, but when possible outside intervention must be concealed.
- If a species is descended/derived from a more advanced tier of civilization, such as a colony that has voluntarily regressed to a lower technological level or has suffered a catostroph that has reduced its infrastructure, such as a dark age. In both cases the civilization must still have knowledge of its previous level of advancement, if lost this exception is nullified.
- If a species gains access to a higher technology or object that is deemed too dangerous and requires outside intervention and removal. In this case the reasoning for its removal must be explained and compensation provided, to prevent tensions or aggression if the species advances to a matching tier in the future. (ex. removing a weapon of planetary destruction, but offering medical technology in its place).
- If a object from a higher-tier civilization is adopted for cultural worship or historical preservation, as long as the device is still not deemed a danger and if possible, its lethality to be neutered but its physical being remained intact. (ex. primitives worship a radioactive fuselage).
- If the species has achieved the ability to travel or communicate at FTL-speeds, but without the vice versa to accompany.
- If the species prompts contact with a higher tier, contact is premissable but to be limited.