Research Nugget #5

Scholarly Article

APA Citation: Johnston, P. (2011). 3-D Printing: The Future Comes Round Again. Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technologies, 11(19), 5-9.

Live Link to Article: 3-D Printing: The Future Comes Round Again

This article does not necessarily comprise of information regarding 3D printing in the medical field but its information is applicable to the overall concept. Peter Johnston at the start states that 3D printing is a technology emerging with the potential to be considerably more disruptive to more people than desktop publishing ever though about being. He continues his article to state the breakdown and history of 3D printing.

Johnston’s biggest statement of the article is the fact of 3D printing ruining many industries. Being able to printing virtually anything will give rise to counterfeiting and for digital data to be stolen. Johnston states instances in the past where problems like this came about along with a new technology such as movies being recorded, Hermes and Gucci bags being counterfeited, and songs being illegally downloaded. It could create issues like the ones listed above or change the manufacturing industry. Johnston then closes with the statement that there are, as noted, more questions than answers in the longer term potential of 3D imaging but is certain to grow.

“One utterly predictable result of the spread and improvement of 3-D printing will be a fevered surge of activity on the part of thieves and intellectual property lawyers. Copying a physical object is difficult. It can be done—witness the hordes of people selling counterfeit Hermes and Gucci bags and twenty-dollar Rolexes on any street corner in midtown Manhattan—but it requires a newsletter_identity_theftcertain amount of skill and is fairly easy to detect.

Copying a digital product, as the movie and music industries have learned to their sorrow, is a snap. Once an object—the latest smart phone, for example—can be described in a digital file and played out on a 3-D printer—it becomes much, much easier to steal. In time, probably not a long time, pirated files for all sorts of currently secure products will be available on the Internet.”

Along with the advancement of 3D printing comes the problem a lot of areas have suffered from like name brand manufacturers, movie companies, and the music industry. They suffer from the crime of theft. I am sure in some instances some of you have downloaded a song or watched a movie for free. This is one of upcoming problems 3D printing might face. Unlike Hampson, Johnston presents a problem that makes money not a factor. Since 3D printing starts digitally on a computer or other forms of digital capability it is possible to be copied.

I related this to the fact that 3D printing in the medical field might suffer from similar repercussions. Identical to the fact that drugs are stolen and abused, 3D printing could undergo the same process. I am not stating that it is a bad thing that others could possibly print their own prosthetic body parts or organs but it would ruin the industry and possibly cause more problems when mistreated.

“What is considerably less predictable is the macro effect of one-at-a-time manufacturing. Over the past couple of decades, the People’s Republic of China has enjoyed a huge, in some ways unprecedented, increase in prosperity. The mainspring of this prosperity has been China’s ability to provide quick-turnaround, high-quality manufacturing capability cheaper than any other country in the world. There are some deeply unattractive things about this success story, but there is no question the success is real and spectacular.

At first glance, nothing about desktop manufacturing appears to be in- compatible with the Chinese model. If it is more effective, one can easily imagine them clearing out their assembly lines and replacing them with vast halls full of 3-D printers, all chugging away in the dark, making flashlights, hearing aids, or whatever. But, the question this technology raises is not where factories should be located, but whether factories should exist at all. Factories are a relatively recent phenomenon; in their modern form they began proliferating about 200 years ago to make the most of the possibilities of the Industrial Revolution.”

On a bigger scale 3D printing’s ability to be a desktop manufacturing device might change the way things are made similar to China’s efficient ability to manufacture products cheaper than any other country. Yes it would be great if people could have their own 3D printer inside their homes and print whatever they needed to but it would ruin the circulation of money. Could these micro and macro effects potentially ruin the economy of our country or possibly the world? If products are easily counterfeited, data able to be stolen, technology abused, and 3D printers able to replace workers the world could suffer from another Industrial Revolution?

third-industrial-revolutionOverall this article made me look at 3D printing on an economic stand point. Oddly enough it could possibly flourish companies making these machines but ruin a substantial amount of other companies and industries as a whole.

4 thoughts on “Research Nugget #5

  1. I mean with any new technology that has the ability to create something that can be cheaper and so on will be an issue for any company. I feel that the best way to solve the issue is that when 3D printing, the printer leaves symbol of some sort that shows that the item was created on a 3D printer

  2. Really interesting topic, the first time I saw a video of a 3-D printer a couple years ago I was blown away by what we can do today. It is funny to think that there will be such a gap between the prescribed uses of such a sophisticated machine, like printing organs, and the actual uses, it won’t be too long before there’s a modern equivalent to Xeroxing copies of your butt and passing them around the office.

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