Technological Epoch

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A Technological Epoch or Tech Epoch is a sequence of tech levels to which a sophont people attach some cultural importance. For instance, much of humaniti groups tech levels in threes, with Tech Epochs marked at TL 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, and so on.

Library Data Referral Tree[edit]

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:

Charted Space Technological Spectrum:

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Tech Epochs are one method used by sophontologists to analyze a civilization.

  • Environmental mastery leads to urbanization and the development of more and more sophisticated devices and vehicles. As the environment is mastered, and scientific knowledge is fostered, more capable communication and energy management technologies are developed.
  • For example, human mastery of the Three Prime Technologies leads to an interstellar society with time. However, other sophont societies may learn technology at different speeds, and may never leave the first stage of development. Any tech level can be a technological ceiling for a civilization.
  • It seems that reaching TL-9 is no guarantee for developing the jump drive. An advanced TL-9 society theoretically can grow into an interstellar society, but in reality it does not appear to happen at all, except in the cases of the Major Races.


Some sophonts measure tech epochs by an ending event: a technological revolution that upsets the status quo. Additional events like this might occur at the end of each tech epoch, creating even more significant paradigmatic change.

IISS Chronological Periodization[edit]

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

In the highly diverse section of the galaxy known as Charted Space, a very wide variety of technological civilizations exist and often coexist, which means that metrics and protocols had to be developed not only for surveyors and scouts, but also for merchant princes, explorers, and sophontologists... among others. Rough guidelines exist for every TL, but alien civilizations have a way of exceeding or defying benchmarks, so the much rougher Technological Epoch designation was invented by the IISS. It encompasses three TLs spanning a very wide period of development making classification much easier, especially after a first contact scenario when little might be known about a new sophont society.

So, for instance, a very early technology civilization containing technological benchmarks from TL-1, TL-2, and TL-3 capabilities, would be known as a TL:1-3 society. The epochs are grouped into batches of three and when a society contains a higher benchmark than a set grouping, the higher tech epoch is defaulted to. For instance a society that might intitially be judged as a TL:1-3 society is observed to have TL-4 technologies, so it would then be reclassified as a TL:4-6 society, or simply a TL-4 society if higher technologies (...TL-5 or TL-6) were not judged to be present.

It is a flexible and inexact measure of technological development.

Standard Polity Growth Sequence[edit]



Civilization Stages[edit]

  1. Pre-existence
  2. Creature Existence
  3. Proto-civilization
  4. Sophontic Civilization
  5. Ascendant Civilization
  6. Transcendent Civilization
  7. Singularity
Civilization Stages
# Stage TL Society Remarks
1. Pre-existence TL-Negative A-life Not much is known about the origin of life, which is conjectured to be abiogenesis, or life arising from where there was none. In this environment, no conventional life is theorized to have existed, but A-life, or pseudo life, is thought to have pre-existed conventional life.
2. Creature Existence TL-Negative Primordial Soup The first life is thought to have been exceedingly simple, probably acellular, pre-DNA, and almost unnoticeable. But it was conventional life, and later life built upon it. More sophisticated life evolved from these humble origins into sophisticated multicellular creatures. However, these creatures lack higher intelligence, civilization, and technology.
3. Proto-civilization TL-0 Proto-Society The very first creatures to evolve multiple hallmarks of sophonce become known as Proto-sophonts, and they develop Proto-civilizations, recognizable by later sophonts as early societies with basic but fundamental technology. Proto-sophonts are classified as: TL–0.
4. Sophontic Civilization TL:1-27 Band SocietyTribal Society or ChiefdomCity-StateNation-StateWorld-StatePocket EmpireInterstellar StateIntergalactic State Sophonts are sophisticated, highly intelligent technology-using species. They develop advanced technologies, cultures, societies, and civilizations. They actively seek to master themselves and their environment. They use a variety of technologies: (TL-1 to 27).
5. Transcendent Civilization TL:28-30 Final State Transcendents have begun the transition to the Singularity. They control advanced technologies (TL-28 to 30) and have cultures and societies paradigmatically different from less advanced sophonts. Many such societies begin to explore alternate dimensions and pocket universes.
6. Ascendant Civilization TL:31-33 Final State Ascendants are working towards an active transition to the Singularity. They control the most sophisticated technologies imagined by sophontdom (TL-31 to 33). In nearly every practical way but not in every effect, they have achieved omnipotence. The key technologies defining transcendents are temporal technology, reality manipulation, chronotaxis (time travel), and manipulation of time itself. Their powers are near limitless. Some lesser sophont species call them "space gods." They have goals and motivations near incomprehensible to less advanced beings.
7. Singularity TL:34+ Post-Technological Period (PTP) Singularity The Singularity is a very nebulous term for both black holes and a hypothetical condition of life beyond technology, civilization, and life itself as confusing as that may sound. Some call it the afterlife while others call it the Post-Technological Period. Some even think that it is a future stage of life when sophont and machine merge. There is scant evidence for it, but many thinkers hypothesize that it exists.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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