I explained in my last article why 3D printers were technologically wonderful and benefited mankind with life changing innovative abilities. But as history has taught us, good technology can spawn lethal inventions and cause death and destruction besides innovation and advancement.
History of good turning to bad
We have had many technological advancements that have led to amazing humanitarian benefits. Without getting into a “10 interesting things about….” nonsense article, let’s discuss the ultimate discovery that unleashed massive amounts of death and destruction and still today is a threat that can one day lead to an Extinction Level Event and wipe out mankind forever. Yes, I am talking about the “splitting of the atom.”
Splitting the atom
Mankind’s greatest accomplishment and most dangerous has been the ability to split the atom. When mankind labored to find a way to harness the power of the universe. It was with clean hands an innocent mind and the motivation was to find a cleaner, more efficient power supply. Clean, affordable energy was the goal, not Nuclear weapons that could annihilate cities and kill millions of innocent people. That was the bad coming from the good. So today, we have Nuclear Power plants all over the world creating energy.
Simple explanation of a Nuclear power plant
A Nuclear power plant is a simple design by nature. Uranium is used to cause a chain reaction, thus producing energy which is turned to steam and thus runs turbines that make electricity. Extremely simple procedure getting usable clean energy. Problem is that using it to kill is just a easy. No one planned to use this technology to murder people. There is always someone that will see an alternate evil use of a good thing, you can rest assured that statement is true to many things.
Be real…How can printing be dangerous?
Before we get into 3D or three dimensional printing let’s look at how 2D or two dimensional printing has been used for bad things. Pedophiles copy and print pictures on the internet and disseminate them to like minded perverts. Without the ability to print those pictures, less acts of child molestation would occur. The 2D printer can print propaganda, it can print phony contracts, and it can print counterfeit money devaluing and destabilizing a country’s economy. Now let’s talk about a really dangerous technology, 3D printing that can actually bring destruction to mankind and start the chain of events leading to an E.L.E., Extinction Level Event.
3D Printers are a serious help to mankind
I didn’t really think of the bad side after I hear of scientists using organic material to develop artificial human organs that could one day be used for actual transplant and relieve the suffering of many people and extend their lives. That to me is awesome. But then I read about one invention that got me thinking and it’s not the ability to 3D print firearms which it can do, which makes a gun virtually undetectable since it is printed from thermoplastics and can thus be printed by anyone with a $600 machine and $10 worth of thermoplastics per gun printed. There is a much bigger threat.
The Goliath of all threats
The 3D printer can replicate itself. Let that sink in, I’ll say it again. The 3D printer can replicate itself. It CAN reproduce.! There is the issue. Think about the ramifications if some evil axis country like North Korea with their slave workforce and despotic leader and just one 3D printer. That’s a recipe for danger and disaster.
Cost of one 3D printer which can replicate itself.
Currently it costs $600 to buy 1 RepRap 3D printer that is able to replicate itself. It costs $20 in polymer plastic materials and $150 of electronic parts. That’s a grand total of $770 to print out the first replication, after the first one the cost drops to $170 per replication.
How quick can they reproduce?
It requires 60 hours to do one replication. There are 168 hours in a week, you can replicate almost 3 per week per machine. That isn’t counting how fast new technology makes the job quicker just like a laser jet prints faster than an inkjet printer as technology advances. Anyone starting to get the picture here? If one crazy guy in a warehouse starts with one machine, inside of a week he will have 6. Now think about a lunatic who has the funds to start with 1,000 machines, has the factories to mass assembly the parts and you have a person who has an immense amount of power. If the machine could build a car and a gun, it can build a tank. It would take less than 1 month starting with 1 machine to have 1 million 3D printers. The 3D printers would replicate exponentially: 1 prints out first one in 60 hrs and then in the next 60 hrs, two print out two more to make 4, then in another 60 hrs, 4 make 8, etc. Think about rabbits.
Restraint and legislation
There needs to be a discussion started by the leaders of the world on how this technology can be limited and it’s use monitored. This is dangerous stuff whenever technology can enable mass production of organic and inorganic objects. I understand and get the argument that so much good can come from it imagine if someone is able to outfit a 3D printer/self replicator with a computer chip. Put it on an island with another robot that could assemble the parts, what would that population look like if both machines had a 30 year lithium battery source, This stuff is straight out of the sci-fi movies, but you would return to an island of millions of 3D printers and robots cause it would figure out that more robots make more 3D printers.
Birth of H.A.L.
Thus H.A.L. Is born. And soon Singularity will occur and mankind cannot compete with artificial intelligence that can reproduce as Vernor Vinge, Professor at the Department of Mathematical Sciences at San Diego State University wrote in his 1993 thesis, “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era..” End of mankind as we know it. One day man will be slave to the machine it developed. It is a path that can’t be denied.
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