My Dreams, My Day
It Only Works If They Do Something

We, The Makers

View more presentations from John V Willshire.

Over the break I read Cory Doctorow's new novel Makers

Set, as his books usually are, in the almost-now-just-around-the-corner awesomeness of the near future, it charts the tale of a world where people can make stuff. 

It begins at point of inflection, the collapse of an economic system, the birth of another - NEW WORK - and its subsequent tribulations, and features exciting co-created theme park rides, an evil Empire [DisneyWorldThemeParks -the fallen star of his first book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom] and cute goth kids and robots and everything.

But the stars of the book are the fabbers - 3D printers. 

I've geeked out about these before - because they change everything, once they work properly, which is one of the key struggles in the book - printers that can print components of themselves, and thus create more printers. 

Or indeed, anything else. Like products and that. 

Which is very much the theme of Willsh's excellent presentation above.

See - so far the social revolution has mostly restricted itself to media because the tools of content production are easier to democratize, and because of the free distribution platform the web provides. 

The radical dentralization of the economics of cultural production have not yet really impacted industrial production much. 

Of course there are lots of steps towards co-creation of products - but in essence this is the practice of making the industrial production line flexible enough to mass personalize products and let everyone choose the colours they want - which are then sent through the industrial machine to get made - or the crowdsourcing of ideas for products, which are likewise fed into the machine.

But as Wilsh points out, we are moving towards the technologies necessary for social production. 

As I said in my first post about fabbers, when you print your own products in a home nanofactory, you might still be buying branded CAD files, or something like that, which is what happens in Makers, as the IP players like Disney license their IP across yet another platform.

But anything that exists digitally can be copied and distributed at zero cost, and once everyone has a fabber, a new type of industrial revolution seems inevitable.