Thursday, October 4, 2012
by Tony Cartalucci
October 4, 2012 - Recently, the Wall Street-London corporate-financier Lowy Institute's "Interpreter" posted an article titled, "Printing a drone" that conveyed the following concerns:
3D printers are both accessible and affordable in Australia. Effectively, this means that an individual or group has the ability – with minimal investment – to avoid the cumbersome task of purchasing expensive overseas technology and instead print their weapon. A 3D printed drone is legal and possible; weaponising it would be a matter of accessing ammunition, something that is currently safeguarded by laws which regulate the sale, possession and use of firearms and munitions in Australia. But what happens when the first 3D printed bullets become available?
Although owning a 3D printer and a domestic drone is not illegal, the combination represents a privacy issue and a security threat both in the domestic domain and in international conflict. I am not advocating for the prohibition of civilian drone use or 3D printing. What I am encouraging is security frameworks that can recognise and respond to the threat resulting from the merging of these two technologies.These concerns were prompted by the author's discovery of a drone produced by a 3D printer - a printer that prints out actual objects instead of images as traditional printers do. The author was also alarmed by the fact that 3D printers have also been used to print out a "working gun."
Video: A 3D printed drone has the global elite clamoring over the dangers of allowing the masses to possess technical capabilities that have long been monopolized by large multinationals.
Image: Parts of this working gun have been "printed" in 3D. What was once the exclusive realm of the military-industrial complex, tilting the balance of power in their favor, may soon become a distributed balance of power that eliminates them all together. Other 3D printed gun stories have been making it into the news recently as well.
The fact is that 3D printing has played an increasing role in prototyping and precision manufacturing over the years, and coupled with other forms of computer-controlled manufacturing, form the foundation of modern weapons manufacturing, the aerospace industry, shipbuilding, as well as medical and information technology. As these systems improve and are more widely used, their size, cost, complexity, as well as barriers to accessing them are reduced. Tools that were once exclusively found only in the realm of large multinational corporations can now be found in use amongst increasingly smaller operations, and now, in the hands of individual hobbyists and garage tinkerers.
In reality, Lowy and its impressionable readers' concerns are absurd. In a world where everyone has access to 3D printers, online designs to create virtually anything, including drones, Kalashnikovs, and cruise missiles, and increasingly versatile and abundant materials to manufacture items out of, everyone will also have the means to present to their neighbors a reasonable deterrence against abusing such technology.
It would be a world where everyone was just as capable of defending themselves as they would be at menacing one another - essentially an unprecedented, distributed balance of power that would form the foundation of a lasting, and realistic peace by pragmatic design, not by laws and ideals. And in this world, where the means of manufacturing virtually anything was in the hands of the masses, the sort of disparity that exists today that inevitably leads to conflicts, exploitation, and abuse of imbalances of power would be reduced if not eliminated.
The real fear that Lowy and the global elite that drive its agenda harbor, is that "the powers that be" today, will be "the powers that were" in a world where an East African was just as capable of building a cruise missile as Raytheon was, and the disparity that grants the global elite of today absolute impunity to roll over the world's population will have been stripped permanently from them.
Post-Scarcity and The World of Tomorrow
But if one can print a gun, one can also print other forms of technology previously only possible for large, precision manufacturing operations. This includes medical instrumentation and devices, systems for power production, transportation, and laboratory equipment of every shape and variety to put the means of research and development into the hands of local communities and individuals.
In a world like this, where the only limitation to solving your problems is your imagination and your will to solve them, where the means to actually produce, tangible, technical solutions are at your very fingertips, would people spend their time producing vast amounts of weapons to menace their neighbors with?
This question is answered by examining just why people menace each other with weapons in the first place. Armed conflict is driven by disparity - either armed resistance by those exploited at the losing end of socioeconomic disparity, or armed oppression carried out by those benefiting from disparity, seeking to perpetuate or expand their disproportionate advantages. In a world where this disparity is reduced by emerging manufacturing technology and material sciences, so too will be the desire and ability for people to engage in conflict.
The cost of this technology is decreasing in both terms of money and resources, as well as accessibility for average people. The costs will continue to decrease as more people become involved and as the capabilities of these 3D printers and other forms of computer-controlled manufacturing improve.
Likewise, the cost and accessibility of material used to manufacture goods with these systems is also dropping. As more people gain access to this technology, more people will begin developing with them better means of recycling spent material and processing new material from a variety of alternative, and more abundant sources.
Rising in tandem with the 3D printing revolution is the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Biology movement, or simply DIYbio. Again, the means of genetically modifying organisms was once in the sole realm of large multinational corporations - corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, and Bayer.
There lies a real risk that the monopoly these large corporations hold over the ability to genetically manipulate life on a global scale can be (and is) abused. While shifting this technology into the hands of the people means that anyone could create and release a deadly biological attack - it also means that anyone (and most) would work together to defend against such abuses. It also strips large multinational corporations of the impunity and intellectual monopoly they now possess over genetic engineering.
It is the dropping costs of lab equipment and increased access to educational resources online that have made the DIYbio revolution possible. Personal manufacturing has also played a role in developing equipment like the OpenPCR and the 3D printed "Dremelfuge," giving us a glimpse into just how profound the impact will be of the personal manufacturing revolution. In turn, DIYbio may yield genetically engineered organisms that turn out materials used for fabrication or fuel sources for powering home generators - illustrating the interchangeable synergies that will increasingly accelerate the pace of this shifting paradigm.Read more>> Land Destroyer: 3D Printed Drones & Guns: Post Scarcity & The World of Tomorrow