Futurist James Cascio recently examined the effects of "Desktop Manufacturing" in Fast Company, and we tend to agree with all of his key points:
- Manufacturing is likely to undergo the same kind of "creative destruction" that the printing and media industries have gone through
- Desktop manufacturing will spur more local production, especially for esoteric objects that don't warrant shipping volumes to smaller centers of consumption (this also jives with current "eat local food" initiatives)
- The presence of distributed manufacturing capability might be combined with an iTunes app store-like infrastructure to unleash a lot of creativity
- Watch out for upcoming "Design Piracy"
Cascio concludes with:
This doesn't mean that Wal-Mart will go away any time soon, but it does mean a pretty big shift in the relationship between individuals and their material world. Most notably, it would open up the possibility that the kinds of personalized products now available to those with the right money and know-how may soon be available to everyday people. Thinking of this simply as traditional manufacturing moved from the factory to the neighborhood (or the home office) misses the larger revolution. This isn't just desktop production (figuratively or literally), it's democratized production.
It's a vast vision. And now it's one read by all the mainstream Fast Company readers.
Via Fast Company