Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Maker Revolution

A blogger, a professor and a labor statistician walk into a bar - no, this is not the opening to the worst joke in the world - and ponder what is going on in the economy.

When the fever sweat of politics is wiped away and the rheumy eyes are cleared, serious people have known for some time that something serious is going on with our economy. And the scary thing is  very smart people aren't sure why.

That chart up there is all the recessions since 1948. There is an undeniable trend of slower and slower recovery. 

The two big economic booms of the past 150 years, manufacturing and the internet, seem to be petering out and we face the frightening question of, what's next?

These large questions occasionally filters down to the street where those three guys in that terrible joke opener sit on a Saturday, drinking a beer, wondering exactly what's going to fix this.

Chris Anderson of The Guardian may have the answer to how we avoid the possibility of becoming a "nation of bankers, burger flippers and tour guides".
And then there is the first generation of 3D printers. These take "geometries" on screen (3D objects that are created with the same sorts of tools that Hollywood uses to make computer generated movies and turn them into objects that you can pick up and use.
Anderson's column is much broader than the wonderment of things that act like the replicators on Star Trek. His thesis is innovations which powered the internet revolution (and in many ways fueled the service economy explosion) have reached the stage where they can be applied to manufacturing. And the possibility of putting manufacturing directly in the hands of entrepreneurs allowing them to not only dream, but actually create, is truly exciting and it is not too strong to say, could ultimately save the entire economy.

We've had an Industrial Revolution and an Internet Revolution. Get ready for the Maker Revolution.


Unknown said...

I am very excited about this technology. Some of my customers are already using it. As the Internet democratized information, 3D printing can democratize manufacturing.

nas said...

When your title and first two paragraphs first popped up in my Reader last week I thought this was going to be another "Makers vs. Takers" post about the 47% comments last week. Going from there to replicator technology was, well, unexpected.