Possessions are Over!

Possessions are Over!

Writer Bruce Sterling fantasizes a new flat near Old Street Station in London. Apparently he’s a bit short on facilities right now:
As yet, I possess no stove, no toilet, no bathtub and and no bed. In fact, there are no physical objects in my flat whatsoever, except for my two roll-aboard suitcases, this Taiwanese netbook, and one metric tonne of natural ABS plastic on a giant wooden cable reel. The cable reel doubles as the coffee table on which I write this informative blogpost. 
This apparent lack of household items does not seem to concern Sterling even slightly. He’s undergone a transformation of understanding of objects: 
But the key insight is – they’re not possessions. Possessions are over. They are data! Data which sometimes manifests itself as my possessions. 
 
This is the essence of the 3D printing paradigm: the data is of value. Objects are mere transitory instances that can be used, or not. 
But what’s Sterling up to here? That ABS plastic isn’t simply for use as an eccentric table. He’s received an “Eclair numerically-controlled home fabricator”, and intends to merely print out anything required for the flat, thus making the “possessions are over” paradigm literally true. We’ve never heard of the “Eclair”, but it sounds perfectly yummy!
 
He ends the tale with phrases we might all be using in the future: 
But now I do have to stop. I simply must. I must put away the Red Bull cans, and stop clicking and typing. I have to stop, so I can print my bed.
 
I have to print my bed, so that I can lie in it. 
 
Via iconeye (Hat tip to Justin)

 


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6 Responses

  1. Bruce may have been inspired by the RepRap, but I think "Eclair" is a reference to Bre Petis’ "Cupcake" CNC over at Makerbot.com

    Given Sterling’s unconventional relationship to objects, it took me a minute to realize this was a work of fiction.

    -S

  2. Bruce may have been inspired by the RepRap, but I think "Eclair" is a reference to Bre Petis’ "Cupcake" CNC over at Makerbot.com

    Given Sterling’s unconventional relationship to objects, it took me a minute to realize this was a work of fiction.

    -S

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