A shot heard around the world…


Last year I spoke occasionally about trends worth keeping an eye on.  I became particularly excited about the potential which may arise from the convergence of bottom-of-pyramid design, demographic decline post 2050, and 3D/additive printing – – it’s exciting trust me.

I fell in love with 3D and whole-heartedly supported the www.3d4dchallenge.org and several initiatives like it.

I believe in it so much that just a few weeks ago I bet a beer against it – and I don’t take bets I don’t think I can win (random side note, you can book something 20 years out with google calendar… try it.  Then book your table at the restaurant at the end of the universe just for fun).

But all joking aside.  It’s been a hard day.  Today my love for 3D took a blow.  A seriously blow.

Today, a shot rang out from the first 3D printed gun. And while, per the title of this post, it might be a bit of a stretch to call it revolutionary, it has certainly begun an insurrection against my crush on additive tech, which is now fading into reality faster than that sad moment when you first encounter a new love’s questionable toothpaste tube technique.

And it’s not just that we are talking about manufacturing death at the drop of a CAD file.  That in and of itself is, indeed, horrific.  Worse, this is a radical and disturbing departure from what has become an evolutionary trait in technology — almost every worthy mass consumer technology of our lifetime has been driven by sex.  Home video.  The internet. Wikipedia (look it up).  Facebook.  Most Mac products (totally sexy).

Consumer technology is all about making love, not war.  So where is the time out chair for these (potentially homicidal) 6 year-old boys to sit in and think about growing up?  Making your own guns that really shoot?  Seriously?  I’d consider a Techie call to arms (the hugging kind) but regulating this kind of thing is rather futile and has ramifications well beyond the intended purpose anyway (SOPA-PIPA/ACTA cough cough).

On the other hand, maybe I am wrong.  Maybe this is all about sex. Now the home-3D-printer-toting, gun-enthusiast niche will be ready to shoot the guy who’s custom sex toys would have rightly relegated them to some dusty and forgotten corner of human genetics.


Footnote: seriously, 3D, demographics and bottom-of-pyramid is super exciting.  I put this here so you would keep reading (I have a tendency to get excited and ramble on a bit but to geek out for a second), it is a combination that will, I believe, radically democratize the way we manufacture markets and rewrite the economy of consumption that drives our consumer capitalism paradigm.  Think about it – emergent billions able to access goods in cost and environmentally effective ways where and when they need them, no supply chains, fewer people consuming more but through tech that is 90% more efficient… I can keep going… but better that you we get back to our respective days…


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