Sociological Impact of 3D Printing

Is an open-source file and 3D printing free-for-all ahead?

I have a fascination with technology, particularly nano technology and the growth of 3D printing.  I am especially intrigued from a sociological standpoint. What impact will these new technologies have on our future societies? And will we have the leadership necessary to deal with the rapid changes?

I admit, I’m terrified for my children and my children’s children.

Printing of firearms is just the beginning

I wrote two earlier blog posts, 3D Printers Will Change The World As We Know It and 3D Printers and Foreseeable Misuse. The first was  essentially about the current and projected use of 3D printers in the product and medical fields and the difficulty in enforcing patents and intellectual property. The second was about Cody Wilson‘s effort to share blueprints for making a gun using a 3D printer.  When I wrote the blog about Cody Wilson I wasn’t sure of his motives in providing the blueprints.

Well, Wilson has since made his intentions known.

He’s promoting DEFCAD as a means of civil protest. DEFCAD is an open-source search engine for all 3D printable files. And I do mean ALL printable files. He protests copyright, intellectual property and regulation abuses by big businesses and governments that want to control everything by creating an artificial scarcity of products, such as guns and medicine.

DEFCAD wants to provide access to everything from guns to cars to pharmaceuticals. The sky is the limit. To date, DEFCAD files have been downloaded more than 400,000 times.  Their goal is to have a blueprint for every part in existence.

How will government and big business respond?

The sociological implications of open access to the blueprints of all products and medicines are mind blowing.  Governments governing differently and business conducting business differently. In 200 years, technology advances could mean a balanced society where people do not feel threatened by not having the essentials for living comfortably.

However, it is the years of adjustment to this technological revolution that scare me. Governments and big business will not react kindly to loss of revenue and control.  The world as we know it has changed with DEFCAD.

The reactions to DEFCAD and the attempts to control it are going to be fascinating. What are your thoughts?

Image: Digitas Photos

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