A Dangerous Future
I often find myself thinking about what the future will bring, especially with regard to technology. And I have written about my vision of the future a number of times: houses built with their own custom-made computer systems that control everything from climate to grocery shopping; vehicles that operate themselves and have the capability to travel in any situation, including underwater and through the air; and home appliances that manipulate molecules to create any product or food imaginable, to name a few.
These ideas are not unique, of course. They are merely my “take” on things that already exist—like Microsoft’s model home of the future, which has kitchen counters that tell you what dishes can be made from the items sitting on it—or are currently in development—like the Ford Prius and Lexus RX automobiles being transformed into self-driving cars by Google.
Hell, I even read an article about 3D printers using cellulose-based materials to create foodstuffs out of thin air. Just type in what you want—a delicious cheeseburger or a juicy slice of watermelon—hit “start” and sit back while the machine delivers the tastiest version possible, essentially the ideal programmed version of whatever you order.
Yes, the future will likely be an amazing place. And I certainly hope that I live to see all the technological advances currently housed in the far reaches of my imagination. But you better believe that not all these advances will be designed to help human beings; some will be used to wreak havoc and destruction upon the world, and innocent people will undoubtedly suffer—and even die—as a result.
Take the recent evolution of the 3D printer—and I don’t mean the one that may someday satisfy your nutritional needs, either.
In May, an anarchist-led nonprofit group from Texas—Defense Distributed—manufactured a plastic handgun using a 3D printer and posted a video online of it being fired successfully. DD member Cody Wilson also posted instructions about how to create the gun on the group’s website, but it was eventually removed and the site was shut down by the U.S. State Department.
As if the thought of someone creating their own functioning weapon at home and using it to kill people wasn’t disturbing enough, it now appears that another Texas company has “upped the ante,” so to speak.
Solid Concepts, a specialty manufacturing company out of Austin, recently created another working pistol using a 3D printer, only this one was not made of plastic; it was made of metal (with the exception of its handgrips, which were carved from carbon-fiber using a laser). And yes, it functions like any other pistol. More than 50 shots were fired from the prototype at 30 yards, several of which hit the bull’s eye.
Fortunately, this metal pistol was manufactured using an industrial 3D printer, one that cost upwards of $100,000—and this doesn’t even include the materials needed to actually build the thing, just the machinery itself.
Some may find this comforting since it will be years or even decades before “normal” people have access to such advanced technology, but not me. I see it more as a harbinger of the bad things to come. Call me pessimistic or paranoid if you must, but we all know the evil that dwells within some of our brethren—evil that will certainly be unleashed once the delivery method becomes so streamlined and accessible.
I hope that I’m wrong, of course. I just don’t think that I am. Only time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, I plan to keep a very close eye on developing technologies, at least those revealed to the public. Of course, it’s the secret technology hidden deep inside some government bunker—like Area 51—that concerns me the most.
Who the hell knows what kind of crazy shit they have down there!
Posted on November 9, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged 3D printing, commentary, current-events, future, Google, human evolution, Manufacturing, Microsoft, news, perspectives, Science and Technology, technology. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.