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Fragments from Floyd

To Boldly Go

When I hear about 3D printers fashioning a T-bone steak, an automatic weapon or a work of sculpture from sand, I can’t help hearing that tinkling-magical sound from the Star Trek transporter room.

There was nothing. Now appearing before our eyes, is something. Or someone.

And at the same time, I hear the sound of the Borg Warship approaching–a sound that made you just a little uncomfortable until the edge was dulled by the next commercial. Besides, you always knew Captain Kirk or Picard would bring things together for good in the end.

In the case of 3D printing, I’m not sure we can have that assurance, nor that we have given this technology’s possibilities for good or evil much thought at all.

And yet it is likely to be transformative, and also to experience synergies with other emerging technologies–in memory stored in DNA, and gene engineering, in robotization and nano-technology.

What the human mind can conceive, it will ultimately create.

Be careful, little hands, what you build.

What if the home owner some day can create from free or vanishingly cheap molecules or particles (water, cellulose, proteins, specific cell types mass produced in tissue culture, carbon molecules or nanoballs or tubes) objects of any level of complexity or size. What will we make of that, do you think?

How about a 3D steak? a bowl printed from sand? Read especially about “wiki-Weapons” and the issues this new technology will add to our already complex menu of ethical double-binds.


1 thought on “To Boldly Go”

  1. What a brain-breaker subject this is, Fred. Makes my head hurt. Of course we won’t have any laws or regs in place ahead of time. That will all play catch up.

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