Thursday, July 14, 2011

On 3D Printers

Apparently, these things are becoming a real phenomenon now. They can essentially create duplicates of objects, such as household tools. It got me thinking:

In the Twilight Zone fourth season episode "Valley of the Shadow", a reporter finds himself basically held hostage in a remoter-than-remote town where such technology and beyond exists. The town can't let knowledge of the technology escape to the outside world where it will certainly be used for evil.

The reporter tries to escape. He does this at one point by "printing" up an object — a gun.

....Even after being told the reason that the technology can't be let loose on the world.

So, the question I want to ask about this 3D printer thing is: Which will it be used for first: printing up food (à la Star Trek) for the poor, or printing up weapons to eliminate competition for food (and other things; clean water, perhaps)?

Place your bets, folks.

(And yes, I did see the xkcd strip about this. There'll be plenty of that, too.)

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