I’d like to post more about rapid-prototyping and desktop manufacturing, but the truth is there’s not much being said out there that I haven’t already discussed here. The concept and potential may still be seeping into the mainstream, but I’m watching the science and engineering now, and on those fronts things take time to develop… which is why in the meantime I spend so much time following topics I think are relevant and related.
I do, however, still find it interesting to see the Big Idea moving out into the mass consciousness. It’s not the same as with non-physical content: music, movies, etc. Watching mp3’s go from yielding maybe 10 hits on a websearch to Napster was like watching a crowd gather round a wrecked armored car hemorrhaging money. It’s been a frenzy. Understandably so. A song doesn’t have a physical presence, so downloading it off the internet doesn’t feel like theft to most people. I don’t believe the same will be true for digital files people can easily fabricate and hold in their hands. For that reason I’m especially interested in observing how the digital rights/piracy issue plays out when regular people realize their whole world is becoming replicable (*reBang*). What will they think when they finally realize their blue collar manufacturing job isn’t just in danger of the technology, but of the casual attitudes of people all around them? Suddenly, they all have a stake in the piracy issue (which of course was the point of my old “rocket launcher” post).
That said, via an entry over on WorldChanging.com (link), comes word of a short article on Salon called “Desktop Manufacturing” (link, registration or ad viewing required). Not much there, to be honest. More interesting are the comments of Jamais Cascio and assorted commentators. Be sure to read that one.