I believe it is now clear that the rate of most change is exponential and this certainly includes how technology is almost always on dual exponential curves of decreasing price and increasing performance. We can therefore often see the future quite literally by looking towards the high end of the market where new products and technology are typically introduced. Think for example of how much sooner we could have seen, admittedly when illuminated by the brilliance of hindsight, the coming of telephones, personal computers, mobile phones and most other innovations by looking at the first versions when they were introduced as very high priced products, with limited functionality and for limited markets.
As the rate of change continues to increase exponentially we need to become better and better at not just seeing these as innovative technologies or products but to begin to imagine the impact, both positive and negative, on our lives, our behaviors, our learning and our society by getting better at imagining the impossible. This is why I continue to wonder and ponder about WITII? “What if the impossible isn’t?”
It is in this light that I recommend you read the Singularity Hub blog for stories such as “Z Corp – The Lamborghini of 3D Color Printing and Scanning (Videos)” Here is the lead in to the article:
While Z Corporation products are out of the price range for most individual users, they represent amazing technology that is commercially available to anyone. I doubt the average person even knows that 3D printing technology can produce color models in just hours. Likewise, 3D scanning an object is probably outside of the everyday citizen’s concerns. These products are still in the early generation paradigm: expensive and used almost exclusively in industry. But they won’t stay there. Technology gets cheaper and more democratic as it is improved, so we should look forward to a time when the kind of 3D printing and scanning we see in these videos would fit in anyone’s budget.
As this technology becomes more widespread and powerful, the ways we purchase and exchange goods are going to be different. When you shop online for a coffee mug, the vendor could just send you the CAD file, allowing you to print the mug rather than have it shipped. Free information (like open source design specs) will translate to free objects.
Even more than reading the article I would strongly encourage you to watch all the the videos embedded within (see but one example below) as they will truly open your eyes as to what is already possible and available to commercial business in the form of 3D printers and 3D scanners for use in the office and the field. It will only be a matter of months before these levels of accuracy, color and materials are available at prices for the rest of us. The question is will YOU be ready? How will these types of capabilities affect you? How will you take advantage of them? How will these enablers help us all to find and release the promise within ourselves?
Just keep asking and imagining “What if the impossible isn’t?”