3D Printers will destroy us all!

A 3D printer plotting the destruction of humanity.I’ve been doing a little more thinking about the possibilities of three dimensional printers. I think the ramifications of these devices are staggering.

To clarify, these “printers” are really more like little miniature factories that fit in your home. Using computer files as schematics, 3D printers can use liquid plastics or metals to create layers of an object that can then be bound together. (Here’s a wiki on 3d printing.) So, users can create any object that they can get a schematic for (and that can be reasonably “printed” by their printer.)

I think it’s reasonable to presume that a lot of schematics for patented designs will make their way to the web, in the same manner that pirated music and movies have thrived on the web. And it strikes me that many industries could be disrupted by 3D printing in the same way that the music industry has been disrupted by mp3s. Let’s take the game of Scrabble. Right now, if I want to play a board game I have go to the store and buy a physical copy. But what if I could download a schematic for Scrabble and use my 3D printer to print out the board and tiles? Why, then, buy the real thing like a sucker?

But what does that mean? That game makers go out of business? That their employees become jobless and starve in the streets, forced into a life of prostitution? Maybe… probably.

Let’s take another object, a car. Could a 3D printer print a car? Not now, obviously; cars are too big. But maybe we’ll have “printers” in 20 years that can print huge objects. Cars are, of course, complex objects with a lot of connecting parts, more than one person could assemble. But what if we have printers that can not only print out the parts of an object but assemble them? Why not print out a car then?

And then what? Does Detroit go out of business? Will the streets be overcome with destitute, jobless Americans hungry for human flesh? There is no doubt that this is the future.

1 Response to “3D Printers will destroy us all!”

  1. John Saleeby

    Haven’t you been following the News? Detroit HAS gone out of Business.

    I’m not exactly sure what you”re talking about here, but I’ll tell you one thing – Everybody says that “Some Girls” is the last good Stones album but “Black And Blue”, the album the Stones made right before “Some Girls”, is a BILLION times better! I just felt like telling everybody that because I once pitched an Acid Logic article about that to Forbis and he grabbed a plate of cold scrambled eggs and threw it at me! What an Editor!

    Dig the new pictures on my Facebook page – Pretty gloomy stuff. It’s an anti war starement, or something . . .