The universe is so old there have to be far-advanced civilizations out there, billions of years more evolved than us. They have to be doing super-human engineering feats that are recognizable across intergalactic space. “Super-human” might also mean that the most advanced life-forms could very likely be post-biological. They have evolved far beyond being creatures of flesh and blood, as described in Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001:A Space Odyssey.”
What defines a super-civilization? In 1964, Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev proposed a scheme for classifying technologically advanced alien societies. A Type I civilization uses energy resources on a planet-wide scale, like us. A Type II civilization would have 10 billion times more energy available by trapping the total output of its central star — perhaps by building a shell around it called a Dyson sphere. A Type III civilization would tap the energy resources of an entire galaxy — only God knows how! This would give a further increase to power available by at least a factor of 10 billion.