Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Self replicating machines

The BBC World Service Technology programme, Digital Planet, ran an item on 3D printing, featuring

This is not simulating 3D like an image, but using lasers to actually 'sculpt' an object. One of the particularly intriguing applications was using the 3D printer to print the parts to make another 3D printer. Currently they can only make it print 50% of the parts as electric motors and circuit boards are beyond their reach.

I also liked the idea of shoes that can be put back into the machine, with bit of waste plastic, and then "reprinted" in the same design but a larger size. Brilliant for children.

It appears that freedom of creation want to spread these machines around quickly, which is good. In a resource based economy, technological breakthroughs would always be shared, so that their advantages can quickly accrue to as many people as possible, and so that improvements and refinements can start. There would be no secrecy to safeguard monetary profits - the only profit would be to humanity, thorough improving our lot sustainably and reducing the need to work.

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