Is there a limit to technological progress? - Clément Vidal
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The Kardashev scale was proposed back in 1964, and it doesn’t look a day older. Energy is necessary for everything we do, and we do consume more and more of it. However, exponential energy use is hard to sustain! Energy specialists have argued that we are on the verge of a solar, or heliocultural revolution. Energy has been central in previous human revolutions, such as the industrial revolution. Historically, such energy revolutions go in concert with other revolutions: in human consciousness, science, technology, economy and society. What will these be in the case of the solar revolution? It is our role today to think about and to shape this transition.
Barrow’s scale was introduced in 1998, balancing the idea that only more energy matters for progress. Richard Feynman popularized the fact that small scales hold a great potential for future technologies, by giving a lecture entitled “there’s plenty of room at the bottom.”
Quitting the boundary of the Earth, Dyson has proposed to extract stellar energy with solar panels, and educator Clément Vidal has argued that active energy extraction from stars may also be an option. For more details about his work in this area, see his website, his book, and a video about the big future.
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