Energy Needed to Power Civilization

The numerical results of my calculations show that the quantities of energy required for permanent survival and communication are surprisingly modest. For a society with the same complexity as the present human society on Earth, starting from the present time and continuing forever, the total reserve of energy required is about equal to the energy now radiated by the Sun in eight hours. The total energy reserve contained in the Sun would be sufficient to support forever a society with a complexity 10 trillion times greater than our own. The energy required to keep open forever a high-speed intergalactic communication system is only about 1 gigawatt-year per channel, an extremely small quantity of energy by astronomical standards. The energy reserve contained in the Sun would be sufficient to keep open forever as many communication channels as would be needed to keep us talking with every star in the visible part of the universe. These statements are based on rough numerical estimates which may easily be wrong by a factor often or a hundred. Nevertheless, they give strong support to an optimistic view of the potentialities of life. They imply that the world of physics and astronomy is inexhaustible. No matter how far we go into the future, there will always be new things happening, new information coming in, new worlds to explore, a constantly expanding domain of life, consciousness and memory.


There is an overabundance of energy in the universe.

Folksonomies: civilization thermodynamics energy

/society (0.362451)
/business and industrial/energy/electricity (0.329284)
/business and industrial/energy/renewable energy (0.298862)

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eight hours:Quantity (0.010000 (neutral:0.000000)), 1 gigawatt:Quantity (0.010000 (neutral:0.000000))

Time (0.949631): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Future (0.614988): dbpedia | freebase
Physics (0.600716): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Universe (0.557509): dbpedia | freebase
Earth (0.550289): dbpedia | freebase
Present (0.523186): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Energy (0.474983): dbpedia | freebase
Sun (0.472995): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Infinite in All Directions
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dyson , Freeman J. (2004-07-22), Infinite in All Directions, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2012-04-25
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  • Folksonomies: religion