This is my foretelling of what is coming down the pike in the next five to ten years.
As I’ve endlessly proclaimed, technological growth is exponential. Its growth is not linear. For heaven’s sake, the innate nature of technology dictates that its advancement is anything but linear. Parcel of time a, in the context of technology, is a fraction of a+1. In fact, there is no formula we can apply, and if in fact the next progression is a+1, then surely the next after this would be a+6, followed by a+23. This is technological growth. It clamors and jumps in leaps and bounds and the nature of technology is such that it nourishes further progression with its own awesome unique contribution which in turn also represented a rapid progression from previous levels of scientific knowledge. The more you invent, the more your inventions will outwit you.
This is technology, bitch.
Almost a year ago, I used this venue to explore what I believe is one of the most important elements in the next stage of technological evolution: 3D printing. Since I posted that article, 3D printing has in fact grown in copious leaps of cultural assimilation. I went further and attempted to expound upon not only the technological innovations that would accompany 3D printing, but the social evolution as well. All technology propels social evolution. Ask the internet or Marky Z.
But it has occurred to me that the next stage of radical advancement is not simply relishing the “wonders of 3D” printing as they begin to seep into the enabled hands (and wallets) of the general public. No, 3D printing will marry another rapidly advancing technological path, and in effect, we’ll have the perfect storm of technological progress kick-starting our civilization in the next decade.
3D printing, in union with robotics, will transform this world in ways digital computing technology only dreamed of. Actually, 3D Robotics will owe a historical debt of gratitude to digital and computing technology, for it would have been impossible without those forerunners. Which goes back to the exponential growth factor of technology I speak of.
3D printing which has established itself as a new tech toy for the masses, will accelerate the development and profitability of robotics which has generally been a slow mover in the realm of consumer electronics. I foresee a day, which might be here quicker than you think, in which you may purchase a set of schematics, download them, perhaps directly into your 3D printer, and voila, out come a series of interlocking “A to B” prefabricated robot parts that can be assembled just as you would an IKEA television stand.
It’s IKEA, bitch.
Initially, robots will be assembled for specific tasks, but because people tend to be people, robots of one modular piece will grow to accomplish all tasks (but none of them stellar grade). Your smart phone…sound familiar? Jack of all trades, master of none.
One step at a time, however.
Be on the look out. 3D printers and robotics will slowly meld into the product of the masses. Ultimately, there will be few jobs left as they are known today, for all jobs of antiquity will be usurped by our self-designed technologies.
Life as we know it has changed beyond recognition and by tomorrow, it will be alien to us. Tomorrow, literally.
The boss/worker, owner/worker paradigm will give way to a more fluid and ethereal coexistence in which dominance is measured obliquely.