autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Update: 3D Printing

Remember when I said that 3D printing is going to radically change retail, medicine, and a good many things otherwise? Here’s an update via TED.

You see, this is not JUST going to alter the world of supply chain, manufacturing, and retail; this is going to fundamentally and radically change our own understanding of what “personalized” means.

This new world is one in which the concept of “brand” will be utterly shattered; I find myself wondering if any existing brand really grasps what this means. I also wonder if consumers truly understand just how much choice is on the horizon.

We are not very far from concepts that will sound ludicrous when I write them in the next paragraph. Quite literally, the ability to generate not only products, but highly specialized, personally targeted offerings.

The leap from 3D printing using base materials to 3D manufacturing using chemistry is much less an abyssal one than it was even a year ago. Imagine personalized medicine in which the prescription you take is not only specific to your condition, but also to your personal biology. Imagine a food generator that can replicate both base perishables as well as fully fabricated meals… all of which contain less of the unhealthy elements and more of the nourishing or required ones.

The future household’s supply consumption may well be chemicals rather than products… components from which personalized products that target individual needs are self-generated.  “Off the rack” will, I think, fall well out of fashion… imagine a world in which today’s largesse is the new “discount” wares and the mid-range to high end consumption is more interested in how well a “brand” supports individualized construction, be that clothing, housewares, transportation, or medicine, prosthetics, and nutrition.

We stand on a threshold not unlike the one our turn of the century ancestors did, and we are very likely to witness a greater leap of industrial and technological progression and capability than they did as well.

Interesting times.