In about 10 years, guns will seem like child’s play. As of now, they are a timely, gimmicky exercise, but the extensive offerings of 3D (additive) printing and its inevitable evolution will be astounding and culturally revolutionizing. 3D printing represents the next wild hairpin turn in the high-speed road of sociotechnological development, a long-lasting deflection in the trajectory of present societal evolution that will propel the world to exotic locales unknown, but the earnestness of the matter tells us that it will assuredly take us somewhere confounding and life-altering. This we can be sure of.
This is how confident I am in the promises/threats/offerings/forebodings of 3D printing.
Computing’s lengthy and shadowy ostensible aim is the complete
What is technology’s nature other than to provide a substitute for human input? Technology evolves exponentially as it compounds upon previous technology. Advanced technology is the platform against which tomorrow’s technology can feed off. This is the mathematical equation for exponential!
3D printing is the next “step” in computing’s mission to mimic life. It is that step in which computational power is translated directly to tangible reality forms we can perceive through our grounded senses. All previous computational-based life-imitating forms have been confined to the screen or paper, or at the most, ethereal three-dimensional displays of projected images lacking true substance. The description “3D printing” is a bit askew in that it can even be called “real life printing.” The primitive state of 3D printing today is that it is not generated, from the schematic/design/digital realm, to anything remotely close to a molecular level. 3D printing, circa 2013, is rudimentary digital prefabrication, at most. 3D printing can design parts, constituent pieces that need to be re-assembled once they are “printed.” The essential building blocks of 3D printers now are plastics, metals and a morass of other malleable materials.
It’s not too outrageous to presume that as processor power grows steadily, digital 3D design will one day be capable of handling the enormous, mind-boggling mass of computations required to assemble masses of molecular assemblages. This is very likely and inevitable. The primary limiting factors of 3D printing appear to be computational power and printer capabilities but there is little doubt that future sophistication levels of these factors will increase incrementally leading to a state of technological evolution in which we can digitally design a human body, down to the level of DNA and reassemble the design through an incomprehensibly complex printer. I would presume that by the time this state of advancement is attained, “printers” will no longer be known by that archaic name. Any device capable of printing molecular-level designs and product will be aptly named something we can’t even fathom.
The revolution spawned by 3D printing will reshape life and alter existence in that our moribund reality will no longer be measured by the immutable foundations of building blocks that once eluded our meddling; the alter-reality of imagination and mind will meld with the terrestrial environment we know today as “reality.”
When this happens, will reality become less real than digital reality, or will digital reality become more real than reality? Will there be a convergence and “bland-ization” of society, a featureless landscape of monotony in this world of prefabricated existence, and will the momentum of humanity’s soul follow suit, ala The Giver?
This is what I loathe and expect, given the course of human social evolution which has been most discernible since the Industrial Revolution.