The Thin Line Between Science, Science Fiction, and 3D Printing

As some of you know, I am about to publish the first ebook from Schatt Research. The topic is 3D printing. Remember Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation? Frequently he uses his replicator to order a fresh cup of tea. In some episodes the replicator produces various alien dishes.

What if there really were something like a replicator? Imagine the impact on various industries. Why would we need as many transportation companies if we can produce goods where we need them? Why would we need as many warehouse companies? Why would we need as many retailers if people could produce the goods they need at home?

Imagine, also, the impact on the world’s economic order. China has built up a huge trade surplus because of its cheap labor. What if 3D printing and additive manufacturing eliminated that advantage and pushed that advantage back to the U.S?

Eventually we’ll reach a level of sophistication where 3D printers will be able to mix various chemicals and produce foods or even fulfill prescriptions. I’m not talking centuries here but only a few decades. Of course disruptive technology never happens as quickly as people would like it to take place. The PC revolution took two decades to develop to the point where people at multiple PCs in their homes and considered the device to be as necessary as an oven. The Internet took a few years as well. Not too long ago people were arguing whether to pronounce it “period com” or “dot com.”

That’s what makes science fiction so fascinating. The Circle is an example. The book could very easily be describing what will happen in a few years if we let the evil people at Facebook/Google take over our daily lives and our politics.

I’ll have more to say about 3D printing and its impact on our daily lives when the first Schatt Research volume is published in May.

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