Now Entering the Diamond Age

The Next Web links to a blogger who claims to have created a gun with the help of a 3D printer:

As of this writing, the blogger, HaveBlue, can’t be accessed. I’m guessing that his blog has been flooded. However, The Next Web reports:

Before you go about locking yourself in your closet, you should know that the only printed part of the gun was the lower receiver. But, according to the American Gun Control Act, the receiver is what counts as the firearm.

HaveBlue reportedly used a Stratasys 3D printer to craft the part, assembled it as a .22 pistol and fired more than 200 rounds with it.

In light of current events, I find this both impressive and chilling.

Our culture is still trying to deal with the internet’s ability to transmit large amounts of information quickly. It’s turned products that can be reduced to information – music, programs, movies, books – into black markets goods that can be obtained without leaving the chair. Many companies are struggling to deal with the fact that their products can be stolen millions of times a minute via a torrent site.

What happens when hard goods can be broken down into information, transmitted around the world and then reconstructed? Obviously the current tech is limited, but there’s no reason to assume that it will always be so. What happens to gun laws when many people can print their own guns? What will it do to art? copyright laws?

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  • Len

    How about printing people?

    • Azel

      Let’s hope we won’t arrive to that…or if we do, that we’ll have a long and careful discussion as a society about the moral consequences before printing humans become possible (hell, before printing living beings become possible would be best). And I think we’ll hear about that from the religious before long: usurping God’s role and all that jazz.
      However that might permit us to save endangered species, so I am for the time being against printing people (if only because I don’t have enough information) and ambivalent about printing living beings.

  • Mogg

    I’m just thinking about those annoying ads on legally purchased movies that make you instantly want to become a major data pirate – “You wouldn’t download a car…” Yes I would, in the Diamond Age.

    • trj

      Whenever I’m forced to watch those ads I think “Why the hell do you pester customers who legally bought your movie?” It makes me want to download movies illegally just out of spite – and to get rid of the stupid ads which won’t be in the pirated version.

      • The Other Weirdo

        I’ve seen that shit in movie theatres where I and the entire audience has paid good money to be told that we’re all just criminals in want of opportunity.

  • Kathie Wilson

    We can ‘print’ dolls already, but I don’t see a printer imbuing life. How would that work?

    • Elemenope

      [pokes self]

      There’s gotta be an ‘on’ button round here somewhere….

  • vasaroti

    Artists have been dealing with the multiples issue for a long time. A certain number of artist-controlled prints or copies will be authorized, and any others will be worthless. Other goods may be sold the way e-books are sold. We probably will have to vet people before selling them or allowing them access to this technology, just like we license so many other things.

    “Stratasys now has an even lower-priced printer brand, the uPrint SE line, which offers professional-grade printers as low as $14,900.” Reproducing items this way costs a lot, but when your other choices are flying a load into Afghanistan or driving them through Pakistan, there might be a real savings. Uses for the Navy, the aerospace program, Antarctica, or anyplace else hard to supply seem obvious.

    Does anyone know anything about the environmental impact of the plastics involved? If this device would lower the carbon footprint of transporting goods, I’m all for it. It might create jobs, too.

  • Revyloution

    If we can abandon money, then the diamond age might be the utopia that Gene Roddenberry imagined. What happens to art? People who love to make art, will make it. People who love to have it, will have it. What happens to copyright law? When money is gone, you no longer need it.

    When money is gone, and people can have anything, I feel that is when we will finally end this race to own and have as much as possible.

  • The Other Weirdo

    So, a pre-Federation matter replicator?

  • SundogA

    Putting the power to make what you want in the hands of the general populace…I like the sound of that.