The Jetsons. American animated sitcom (1962). Instant replicated food - out of this world!

The Jetsons. (1962). American animated sitcom.  Instant replicated food – out of this world!

Scanning in  2-D has bridged the physical, analogue world to the digital realm. A 3-D scanner crosses the border of the screen. It is only the ink of composite materials that acts as final parameter before the two worlds are ultimately blurred. In the final chapter of Fabricated, Lipson and Kurman (2013) suggest this first episode of control over shape and fabrication of any material has already been achieved. The second is composition of internal structure and the third is control over behaviour of meta-materials.

“…printing integrated, active systems that can sense and react, compute and behave.” (p.266)

The infancy of the technology revisits the former frontier freedom of the internet in its earliest days, when the ideals of open source and web 2.0 technologies promised an egalitarian digital world. Digital information has developed its own political economy. Freedom to share information will challenge not only intellectual property law but also the long tail of manufacturing. Policy makers need to consider the legality and ethical ramifications of instantly accessible drugs, weapons and custom body parts. A recent example is the online posting of the blueprints to manufacture a fully working gun, The Liberator.

If machines are ultimately to recreate themselves, then where does this leave us? A recurring theme in this Digital CIties blog, is the investigation of a significant opportunity for policy makers to consider how technology can improve the future lives for all citizens. With a focus on macro socio-political initiative the potential is to radically transform society, reduce poverty and improve peoples lives. However, if technology companies are obliged to compete in a market, then a more divisive and proprietorial future will further exacerbate inequality and social injustice.


LIPSON, H. & KURMAN, M., (2013). Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing, Indianapolis: John Wiley.

Söderberg, J., & Daoud, A. (2012). Atoms Want to Be Free Too! Expanding the Critique of Intellectual Property to Physical Goods.Triplec (Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation): Open Access Journal For A Global Sustainable Information Society10(1), 66-76.






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