When you look back in time, think about the things that were “game changers”; things that forever impacted everything we knew or did; things that impacted our economy like climate change on our ecosystem.
Let’s consider the Industrial Revolution: It was a fundamental change in the way goods were produced, and altered the way people lived. It was a major turning point in world history. Factories came to life; farms started to disappear and corporations emerged. The assembly line was born, making for faster creation, faster repairs, and cheaper prices. This benefited the consumers, the corporations and the individual workers. People moved to cities, the middle class was established, and nothing was ever the same.
Just as the Industrial Revolution took the U.S. from an agricultural nation to one rich with manufacturing, the 20th Century took us from a robust industrialized nation to a High Tech Powerhouse with the advent of the Internet. Information was suddenly at our fingertips. Over the years, the World Wide Web replaced, or at least diminished, many other forms of communication such as newspapers, radio/TV broadcasts and even good old-fashioned conversations! The huge bound Britannica Encyclopedia set in our 1970’s living rooms became an artifact as more and more information became accessible on demand through our (rather large) desktop computers. The rapid innovation of the 80’s and 90’s, which included rudimentary video games, PCs and mobile phones further changed the way we worked, played and lived on a day-to-day basis.
So, enter in the 2000s and what do we have? The Internet on speed. Hyper connected to everything and everyone, making digital communication the preferred and most widely accepted form of communication out there. It affects the postal system (no more writing letters or sending checks to creditors.) And though advertisers shifted their focus to the web instead of print, NOW they have to contend with dwindling attention spans and advertising on mobile devices; devices which are rapidly evolving and might one day make the traditional Desktop or laptop obsolete! It’s like we’re on a race that can’t be won -- Cyber schools, social media, Google Glass, iPhone 6…
As a Gen Xer who came into this wonderful world before cable, touch-tone phones and the tech burst (I think “Pong” is the only “high-tech” thing I had in the 1970’s), it is mind blowing to realize how much we’ve had to adapt, both as a consumers and as corporations, to the ever changing rules of engagement.
Now, a technology that has been around for a few decades, but is finally gaining traction, promises (threatens?) to change life as we know it. AGAIN. So, what is it?
3D Printing. Also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping, 3D printing vows to change EVERYTHING – our entire manufacturing system could turn on a dime if this technology gets tweaked and can produce what it claims it can produce. 3D printing is set to revolutionize manufacturing. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a way to make three-dimensional objects from digital models. While 3D printers have been around for 30 years, it’s only been in the last year or two that they have become efficient, accessible, and even commonplace.
Production of toys, jewelry, cars, plane/ship parts, casts and even functioning human organs could be (and some already can be!) produced using the right mix of software and materials. No more tracking down and ordering parts. No more waiting for that organ to be donated. No more manufacturing plants? Uh oh, what happens to the middle class worker? See? It changes EVERYTHING.
Sound crazy? Even impossible? Click below to see examples of this fascinating process:
This IS coming. In fact, it is already here. What's going to take it from where it is now to where is promises to be? Technology. Software. YOU. We will see the software that is the brains and power behind this technology evolve exponentially over the next few years. Learn how to code. Be a part of the change.