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Op-Ed: 3-D printing — The greatest thing since the Internet

By Alexander Baron     May 6, 2013 in Technology
A Texas man has produced a plastic gun using a 3-D printer, and says he will put his brainchild into the public domain. Anti-gun campaigners are alarmed, but..
This morning, the BBC featured an interview with Texas law student Cody Wilson. He purchased a 3-D printer on Ebay, and used it to print a plastic gun that works.
He paid $8,000 for the printer, which is still beyond most people's pockets for what might be regarded as an expensive toy, but...this is a developing technology, and prices will surely tumble. Check out this article to see how the price of computing has fallen since the 1950s, and how computing power has increased exponentially. Bear in mind too that the mobile phone is only 40 years old this year; for a long time such were an expensive novelty, today even homeless people walk around with them in their pockets.
Although law enforcement authorities worldwide view this latest development with unease, 3-D printing is about far, far more than manufacturing cheap firearms, legitimate or otherwise. It can be used to print household objects: cups, saucers, would you like to print a car or boat using this technology?
This though is only the beginning, because coupled with other technologies, 3-D printing could be used to print human body parts? Science fiction, fantasy? Check this out. This could mean the end of transplant surgery as we know it, imagine printing a human kidney or heart, no more problems with rejection, patients would not have to take special drugs for the rest of their lives. Hey, maybe we could even print new brains for those cranks who believe the Boston Marathon bombing was a false flag?
Seriously though, the British Government has recently created hundreds of billions through the Bank of England's Quantitative Easing programme. The American Government has done likewise, and what is there to show for it? This money has been given to the banks to play games with.
If instead governments worldwide were to develop this and similar technologies, we could scale down many industries, reduce transport costs and eliminate many costs altogether. Think what a boon this would be to remote communities.
The FBI and police worldwide should stop worrying about rogue gun printing operations and think about how this new technology can be exploited to reduce crime. For one thing, if it results in the prices of consumer and even luxury goods dropping exponentially, most criminals would think twice before carrying out the dastardly deed. Why mug a woman for her mobile phone and risk a heavy prison sentence when you can drop into your local print shop and make one yourself for ten dollars, or even for ten cents?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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