In 1963, the Russian astrophysicist Nikolai S. Kardashev came up with a hypothetical way to understand just where exactly we fit in. He created what’s come to be known as the Kardashev Scale, a method of measuring how advanced a civilization’s technological achievements are based on the amount of energy it can harness.
A Type 1 civilization (also known as the planetary civilization) has the capacity to harness all the energy of its home planet, utilizing all the energy that reaches the planet (like solar) and all the energy it can produce (thermal, hydro, wind, etc). Kardashev described it as having a “technological level close to the level presently attained on the Earth”.
Once we get to Type 1, what’s next? We are likely to leave Earth, looking to draw energy from other planets. If we can become an interplanetary civilization that can make use of the total energy potential of a star, we’d become a type 2 civilization.
A type 3 civilization is of another order of evolution altogether, from our present technology probably taking 100,000 years or longer to get there. Kardashev saw it as “a civilization in possession of energy on the scale of its own galaxy”.
What’s next after such an advancement? Kardashev didn’t see a need to hypothesize any further civilizations, but prognosticators since then have proposed that a type 4 world would be able to harness the energy of an entire universe, while a type 5 can do the same in a multiverse, drawing power from multiple universes.