New Article in Pragati Magazine: The Re-industrial Revolution

I have a new piece up at Pragati Magazine  this morning, which focuses on a book review of Makers by Chris Anderson:

The Re-industrial Revolution 

….If anything, Anderson has managed to understate the velocity with which the technology is advancing and the creative uses to which users are putting their machines. Since the publication ofMakers, a succession of news stories have revealed everything from Formlabs’ slickly designed Form 1 machine to users printing functional (if fragile) assault rifles, car bodies and biomedical surgical replacements for missing pieces of the human skull. One gets the sense that the genie is out of the bottle.

Anderson is not merely making a technologically oriented argument , but a profoundly cultural one. In his view, the existence of the Maker movement, operating on the collaborative, “open-source” ethos is an iterative, accelerative driver of economic change that complements the technology. Anderson writes: “…In short, the Maker Movement shares three characteristics, all of which are transformative:

Read the rest here.

Crossposted from

5 thoughts on “New Article in Pragati Magazine: The Re-industrial Revolution”

  1. }}} and was named one of TIME magazine’s Top 100 thinkers

    Well, I liked what I heard until that. It’s a major insult if *Time* thinks you have promise… LOLOLOLOLOLllllll…

  2. }}} They will be fast, silent, and able to print a wide range of materials, from plastics to wood pulp and even food. They will have multiple color cartridges, just like your inkjet, and be able to print in as many color combinations.

    Ummm. Which is it? If you have different cartridges for plastic, wood, food particles (whatever that is), the color cartridges seem either redundant or odd — why color and not still more materials?

    I’m not against the notion, I just don’t see it coming in the manner described. There’s a step there that’s ill-defined and represents a problem in the ease-of-use before you can make the thing you describe — Star Trek’s Replicators, which (I believe) actually work atom-by-atom using an outgrowth of transporter technology.

    I can see all the various things being DONE, I just don’t quite see them being available at the home level for a bit longer because you really do have to start tossing around actual atoms and make them do what you want.

    Which also means manufacturing weapons on-site (Not just the receiver for an AR-15 but an actual rocket launcher with rocket). Humans do not appear to be a stable enough species for that kind of power just yet. I’m not worried about you or me, I’m worried about the nutjob in the Texas Tower or the Connecticut Elementary School… or in the mosque halfway around the world. Our internal, Western-civ processes for taming such are remarkably effective, but they are not yet ubiquitous enough that they’ll shut down the likes of 9/11 pilots.

    So, the tech we’re talking about is not just transformative but also disruptive to its own self-creation. Kind of like the way Larry Niven argues that any universe that invents a time travel machine also excises that device’s creation from itself.

    So I see two problems —
    1) actually putting stuff together on the atomic level with that kind of precision, and
    2) Having the bins to hold 40, 60, or 90 different atoms (i.e., each of the elements) for the printer, while having those atoms in sufficient quantity that the machine isn’t the size of the car. Clearly you don’t need cesium, radium, or rutherfordium in the typical home machine, but you’ll certainly need big mofo bins of iron, carbon, silicon, oxygen, hydrogen…

    And that brings the storage bin into question… how are you storing these atoms and making them available on demand? You don’t want to have monatomic hydrogen and oxygen (much less fluorine and chlorine) even if it’s in a tiny little tank the size of a fist) lying around.

    Sorta Q.E.D.: most things will be specialty machines moving about types of molecules — different forms of organic wood matter, for example. Or that needed to make printed circuits. Or food. We’re still talking small, business style factories but it’ll be like a more local and fragmented service industry as we have now on a much more limited scale, where these “cottage factories” around the corner print things on demand, and either deliver them to your door or are set aside for pickup at your convenience.

    THAT I can see in the near future. I don’t see home ST Replicators for 50 or 60 years or so.

  3. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still going to be amazing and cool, it’s just not going to work as suggested for much, if not all, of the lifetime of anyone able to read this and comprehend it at the moment.

  4. “I can see all the various things being DONE, I just don’t quite see them being available at the home level for a bit longer because you really do have to start tossing around actual atoms and make them do what you want.”

    This is why I am eager to read the Drexler book

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