Monday, August 5, 2013

Mindwrap: The Gutenberg Future

This is a thought experiment on the future of 3D printing and its impact. I would have classified it as AltHist, but it concerned more of our immediate and long term future.

This is the world of the Gutenberg Future.

The method of 3D printing, once the economical and technological hurdles will be overcome, represents the greatest potential of revolution for years to come. From Gutenberg, we have the printing press and the power of words... and thus with the portable, cheap 3D printer, we have the power of creating objects.

The most obvious impact will be on the economy. Stores will become increasingly useless as consumers learn to simply print whatever object they want to acquire. Plastic objects are the most prolific, but printing of metals, food material, etc. appear as science advances. The 3D printers become cheaper, more portable,  and more complex, along with computational power as with Moore's law, allowing for more complicated 3D objects. Common and mainstream brand names become less important, while specialty brand names do.

More classes will be devoted to 3D modeling and printing. It may start in existing art classes of schools and integrated in the curriculum of technical schools, then every school will soon have a specialized course or class dedicated to 3D modeling and printing.

The printing of food will start in gourmet kitchens and specialty chefs. If personal gardening (and even meat creation) is not made easy enough with the genetic and bio tech advancements, farms and markets for fresh produce and meats will still exist.

Those who don't have 3D printing technology are at a great disadvantage, however, a sub-culture rises, somewhat reminiscing the hipster movement of the early 21st century that harkens back into antiquated styles.

Those who expert modelers in 3D programs will become more commonplace, and their skills are important in the jobs market. Craftsmanship of the hands will still exists. Wood and stone creations will still enjoy popularity as art, symbolizing hard work and toil, especially for the rich. Clothes will still be manufactured by factories unless their is a technological leap in creating soft fibers. Once 3D printing or nanotechnology replicates wood and stone, those are seen as inferior.

The rise of the corporation and their scholarly offspring, the mathematician numecrats ("those that rule with numbers", also, numerati, as coined by Stephen Baker) create new government paradigms: the corpocracy and numecracy. There are more independent local regions.

Beyond Gutenberg:
Nanotechnology may be utilized and create Star Trek-like replicators. However, resources are still needed; there needs be some raw material and energy for nanobots to work on.

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