The Kardashev scale is a way of measuring a hypothetical civilization's ability to harness energy.

This scale has always made me think about the movie Independence Day (1996), my favorite example of a villainous alien civilization. Dr. Okun claims their technology is far more advanced than ours, and the evidence bears that out. From what I can tell, the aliens own significant advances in weaponry and transportation, to name just a few areas (yet were somehow completely undone by a few lines of code and a lowly nuke? But I digress...)

Anyways, given what we know about this species and their technology, is there in-universe evidence to suggest if this species might be categorized as Type II or Type III (or higher?) on the Kardashev scale?

  • Pretty sure the Harvesters are on a Type I level - able to harness the energy of planets (and smaller bodies). I believe one of the novels (I've only read the first one, but seen quotes from the others) goes more into detail, about how they're literally able to grow their ships from the process of harvesting a planet.
    – user25730
    May 12, 2021 at 3:43
  • 1
    probably not even a type 1 (all energy on a planetary scale) - can't remember if there was any FTL in the original movie
    – mgh42
    May 12, 2021 at 3:43
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because This question belongs on another site in the Stack Exchange network
    – Vishwa
    May 14, 2021 at 4:29
  • 1
    @Vishwa You are quite wrong. Only on Sci-fi & Fantasy it could be more on topic then here.
    – Mithoron
    May 16, 2021 at 17:36
  • 2
    @Vishwa This is on-topic for this SE site and should not be closed since it asks about "analysis of content or theme" of a movie. See movies.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. May 17, 2021 at 6:24

1 Answer 1


The harvesters are probably a Type 1 civilization

from the scene where the president interacts with the captured alien:

  He wanted me to understand.  He
  communicated with me.
      (turning to Grey)
  They're like locusts.  They travel
  from planet to planet, their whole
  civilization.  After they've
  consumed every natural resource
  they move on.  And we're next.

From this description of their behavior they must have reached the level of type 1

A Type I civilization, also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy available on its planet.

There is no evidence of them attempting to harness the energy output of the sun, instead they find another planet to consume.

With no way to know the energy output required for their shields or interstellar travel we can't really judge how far along they are in type 1

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