NOTE: I have to add that I have really struggled with this article more than any other article on this site. This file to this article has sat on my desktop, mocking me, asking when I would finish. This article may not seem like much, but was pieced together over the period of the last month as my hectic schedule allowed.
I talk a lot of revolution on this blog, on how things are going to change, and I have hope, for the better. It seems, sometimes, when I get talking about a subject the ball seems to roll in that direction for me. Stories will pop up about the subject I was writing about and new thoughts will come to mind. When I set down my thoughts on a CNN article, more articles about said subject came up. This trend did not change when I wrote about 3D Printing. Shortly after an article about the bigger implications, this new technology would have on the world.
Every time new technology comes along that streamlines work, there are certain people who resist because of job securities…and yet, how many construction workers today would be willing to work without power tools or vehicles? If the goal were to employ more people, why not just take these things away? Technology always comes…and this is exciting technology indeed.
Home building ‘will come back’. This is a wonderful idea, 100% agree however, as the video states, this ONE machine takes away at least 10 specialized professions if not more, eventually this wonderful technology will result in ONE THING (surplus population). What to do with the MASSIVE inequallity that would/will result. Everyone can’t be a ‘programmer’ or ‘business owner’ – wouldn’t ppl have 2 DIE eventually? Does basic things like FOOD become free or something? Ppl need Jobs dont they?
Hmm… Great idea but not convinced that replacing construction workers with a single machine is really the way to help a local community. “Give someone a fish and they’ll feed themselves for a day. Give someone a net and teach them how to fish and they’ll feed their family for a lifetime.” Rapid prototyping on an epic scale is interesting though.
Where is humanity in that? We can genetically modify almost everything, we can even Google babies (blue eyes, blond, athletically built). Is this where we end, A Robot? You can’t CNC/3D print Happiness of a craftsman. The pleasure of making that joy that liveliness of being human using our hands our heart and brain. Why don’t we just jack ourselves to a machine and have our surrogates do the living.
Why don’t we look for the cause of poverty and try to attack the roots of this problem.
It seems we have this when any disruption comes to life. Throughout history, the things that improve life are met with resistance because it will mean a negative for someone. We have all the “Safety First” and “For the kids” type scream and scream for change, but when change is made that they want, impacts that are negatives for those who yell “For the children” all of a sudden becomes secondary. Blind leading the blind, may sound cliché, but the truth is stranger than fiction. We live in a world where people will demand something without ever thinking of what that change will means in cost. Moreover, by cost I just do not mean monetarily, I mean the affects that change will truly bring in terms of community and the bigger picture of humanity.
I saw this first hand driving a truck. Even though a few short years ago, I was caught in the crossfire of driving a big thing of environmental destruction. This led to laws that limited the times I could run the engine, because every minute the engine runs that is a minute the earth’s protection layer (ozone) is depleted. Never mind the data that had been collected and provided that says letting a diesel engine run is better for the environment, then constantly stopping and starting it. Now that could be debated, as it was, what always got me was the argument of safety. It was deemed over many years of arguing that a driver needed set hours, because tired drivers were killing people. Yet in certain states and certain cities, I was not allowed to run my engine to supply myself heat during the hours I was required to rest. This included nights when it was 40 degrees out, when lack of sleep is the cost of freezing temperatures.
That period of my working career taught me one thing; sometimes little thought of consequence goes into things that are supposed to help us. Good or bad, it seems change comes without much thought towards what the outcome will be. As long as someone’s complaint is satisfied, as long as the squeaky wheel is silenced then the change is justified. This kind of recklessness de-legitimizes real complaints and shows little thought goes into the process.
Yes, it is harsh to say that but history bares this to be true. Technology and innovation always disrupt first. Technology in many forms is invented to solve problems, but some will not like the problems they solve because it always encompasses more. We always have calls for safer work environments, shorter workdays; what is coming will bring that reality. However, because we think short term the change will be met with apprehension and possibly violence. If a machine can simply print a building, layer by layer in less time then labor, less cost and with near 100% safety the effects on humanity are immeasurable. Overnight the world changes…
But of course who foots the bill?
And that is always the question someone always asks. A decade ago that question would have been more legitimate. But now we are heading towards a reality where scarcity is becoming solely artificial. In the world of entertainment (Books, TV, Music, etc.) this reality is shown, there is no longer a need for a physical format that limits those realities. I can simply transfer a file to someone and never lose the original. The entertainment industries are in freefall because the walls they setup to create scarcity no longer exist. Moreover, there lies the ultimate question; What happens when you remove those constraints on the necessities of life. What happens when food and shelter is no longer a commodity that is tangible and controllable? What happens when energy is abundant and not constrained by the realities we place on it now? What happens when cars drive themselves? What happens when education is not bound by a building and teachers in the sense we know it to be?
Every day I am confronted by stories of new breakthroughs. One day it is printing organs, the next its printing food. Whether we like what is about to come or not, change is unavoidable. Where as in the past people may have huddled together to make sure the benefit was mutual, we are entering a time where the disruptive have no alliances and no cares towards others. They want to disrupt and they want to change the world. And I would dare venture that this rare breed, does not care about monetary gain or power but instead freedom. They want a freedom that allows them to play with their toys and discover new things without the hindrances of the past.
But what confronts me over and over again is the naysayers, the “Chicken Littles” who deride change as not their kind of change. We always hear about the “good old days,” from age, but how many of us ever think about what those days were truly like? Yes, my grandfather walked 200 miles to school and fought a grizzly bear for his notebook, both of which will mean some unborn child will never know the value of the strong man balancing the moon on his pinky.
On a side note: I think He-Man is the greatest cartoon ever because I grew up with it.
I do not write this to say that change is automatically good, but change should be weighed and balanced with careful thought. What we cannot outrun, or escape, is that disruptive change is coming. It is going to force us to answer questions we rather not answer. It is going to cause knee-jerk reactions. Many of the ways we think about day-to-day life will be forever changed. Change is not new, but the kind of rapid-fire change we are seeing now is not going to allow for breathing room. That lack of oxygen is going to be gasoline for many to remain the status quo.
As they say change never comes easy…
Look up to the sky, tis a falling sky I see said one poultry to the other…