.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

Name:

The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Jobs, China and the Robots of Doom... -- AI, AL, CPS, Plan, Soc, Tech, $$$

*
A common concern these days relates to manufacturing jobs going to China. Strangely enough, not many people have been paying attention to a potentially larger trend in the development of basic robotics. No, I'm not talking about traditional assembly line robots, though those are important. Nor am I talking about the recent explosion in service robots.

No, instead I'm thinking about "Fab Labs" and rapid prototyping machines. These are machines capable of taking a wide variety of designs and producing the machines they detail -- or at least all the parts. (Some assembly required.)

The Fab Lab is described in this article in The Economist.

The article notes, "The 'fab lab', as Dr Gershenfeld has nicknamed his invention, is a collection of commercially available machines that, while not yet able to put things together from their component atoms, can, according to its inventor, be used to make just about anything with features bigger than those of a computer chip."

Just think about what that means. If one machine can do that now, how much longer are we going to need our "plastic stuff" and cheap appliances assembled in other countries? Why not use a simple design, with a few parts to snap together at the end, and have most of your consumer items manufactured in your own home town? Especially if future Fab Labs could churn out parts for items in heavy demand in a region (say, Greater Chicago, or the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle) while dedicated robotic assembly lines put them together.

The article continues, "Among other tools it includes a laser cutter that makes two-dimensional and three-dimensional structures, a device that uses a computer-controlled knife to carve antennas and flexible electrical connections, a miniature milling machine that manoeuvres a cutting tool in three dimensions to make circuit boards and other precision parts, a set of software for programming cheap computer chips known as microcontrollers, and a jigsaw (a narrow-bladed cutting device, not a picture puzzle). Together, these can machine objects with a precision of a millionth of a metre. The fab lab's purpose is to endow inventors—particularly those in poor countries who lack a formal education and the resources to implement their ideas—with a set of tools that can translate back-of-the-envelope designs into working prototypes.

"And it works. In Pabal, an Indian village with a population of 5,000, a dairy farmer's income is tied to the fat content of his cow's milk. Students at the nearby Vigyan Ashram science school are using a fab lab to build a sensor that will give Pabal's farmers a precise measure of that fat content. In Takoradi, Ghana, people have used the labs to produce a cassava grinder, jewellery, car parts, agricultural tools and communication equipment such as radio antennas. Solar-powered items to harness the relentless local sunlight are in the works. In Norway, Sami animal herders—who are among Europe's last nomads—are using fab labs to make radio collars and wireless networks to track their charges. And in Boston (admittedly not part of the developing world, but conveniently near MIT), the residents of a mixed-income housing complex are using one of Dr Gershenfeld's labs to create a wireless communication network."

I should explain at this point that Dr. Win Wenger, whose techniques have been frequently discussed on this blog, has an exercise for quickly developing novel inventions. I haven't used this one myself... in part because I've found using his precursor technique for increasing intelligence, Image Streaming, leads me to spontaneously develop new inventions in my spare time all by itself.

But imagine if you had a group of people who could easily generate new inventions and rough, amateurish designs, and then turn those designs into working prototypes. Imagine the explosion in technological innovation and small business innovation that would be possible. Forget "a Fab Lab in every home." Imagine "a Fab Lab in every town" or "every neighborhood."

Of course, any such development plan would need to be able to teach people how to be effective entrepreneurs -- either selling their inventions or building their own businesses around them. But it's an intriguing notion. And both the inventor's workshop and the business incubator would be worthwhile additions to any community, even on their own.

Also on the subject of automated manufacturing, another article from Betterhumans.Com goes into the Rapid Prototyping Machine -- of which there are many versions. They're all still expensive...

"But Adrian Bowyer of the University of Bath has come up with an idea for dropping their price: put them to work making copies of themselves." Dr. Bowyer plans to get their price down to a few hundred dollars by having them reproduce. The idea being that our products could eventually cost no more than their raw materials and the energy used to create them.

I'd throw in the additional idea that plastics could conceivably be derived from biological (agricultural) products, and that both plastics and metals with low melting points can be recycled -- and might well be recycled by a more advanced version of this machine. So raw materials might not be much of a cost either. Throw in some really cheap alternative energy and the cost of living really goes down.

But in the meantime, it raises the question -- is the jobs problem going to be seen as foreign competition in ten years, or robots doing more and more of the manual labor? Are we going to have to train everybody to handle jobs far more challenging than those our machines handle now? Could the key be valuing people for their full potential? Perhaps putting them to work developing new technologies and innovations? And other new "intellectual properties" such as art, literature and music?


Future Imperative

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site » »

February 07, 2007 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have an outstanding good and well structured site. I enjoyed browsing through it »

February 20, 2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Toll Free said...

Now days Toll Free numbers come packed with a lot of features. You can basically customize your tollfree number to fit your business needs. When you see the features, you will know how your current phone system is not good enough. I have been using toll free numbers from Telcan. With this toll free number, I can customize the welcome greeting, route calls to multiple numbers, even program what phone number to call at what time, have a professional voicemail, get my voicemail emailed and the list goes on. It is very easy to set up using wizard. Check out Best Toll Free Numbers

October 08, 2011 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Sahadra Reed said...

I have been using Callture toll free numbers for over 5 years without any problem You may want to give them a try. I personally think that they provide the Toll Free Numbers.They have this on their website "will beat any price by 10%. Over 50 Features. 12 years in Business. Rated “A” by BBB (Better Business bureau)" .

December 14, 2011 3:46 PM  
Blogger Toll Free Numbers said...

I believe all small business should have toll free numbers. If you are one or two employee company or in business where all your staff is on the road, then you don't really need a business line. Just get a Toll Free number and it will work on top of your staff personal cell phones. When they receive a call, it will indicate that it is a business call on their call display so they can answer it professionally. All your staff can have their own professional voicemail system. You can monitor how many calls are answered and missed. I have been using toll free numbers from Callture. Check them out at: Check out Check out Toll Free

April 20, 2012 4:18 AM  
Blogger 1800 Freenumbers said...

Hosted business phone system is an ideal solution for business now. You don't have to worry about installing any software or hardware. However, can have access to all the features large business have. The best part is the price is very affordable. It starts from about $10/month. With this system you don't need a separate business phone line. You can use your personal cell phone or home phone. You will sound as professional as fortune 500 companies. I have been using toll free numbers from Callture. I believe they provide the Toll Free Numbers at the best price. They even gurantee to beat any lower price by 10%.

May 26, 2012 6:44 AM  
Blogger besttollfreenumbers said...

Nowadays Toll Free numbers come packed with a lot of features. You can basically customize your tollfree number to fit your business needs. When you see the features, you will know how your current phone system is not good enough. I have been using toll free numbers from besttollfreenumbers. With this toll free number, I can customize the welcome greeting, route calls to multiple numbers, even program what phone number to call at what time, have a professional voicemail, get my voicemail emailed and the list goes on. It is very easy to set up using wizard. Check out Toll Free Numbers

May 29, 2012 3:09 AM  
Blogger besttollfreenumbers said...

I believe all small business should have toll free numbers. If you are one or two employee company or in business where all your staff is on the road, then you don't really need a business line. Just get a Toll Free number and it will work on top of your staff personal cell phones. When they receive a call, it will indicate that it is a business call on their call display so they can answer it professionally. All your staff can have their own professional voicemail system. You can monitor how many calls are answered and missed. I have been using toll free numbers from freetrialtollfreenumber. Check them out at: Check out Check out Toll Free

May 29, 2012 3:09 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, burberry, longchamp, oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, ugg boots, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, prada outlet, nike free, replica watches, tory burch outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, chanel handbags, ugg boots, ugg boots, uggs on sale, louboutin, polo ralph lauren outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors, louboutin outlet, prada handbags, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes, gucci outlet, ray ban sunglasses, jordan shoes, replica watches

October 14, 2015 1:57 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike free run uk, nike blazer, abercrombie and fitch, lacoste pas cher, hollister, north face, ralph lauren pas cher, nike roshe run, burberry, mulberry, coach factory outlet, nike air max, nike roshe, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, coach outlet, hollister pas cher, new balance pas cher, michael kors, michael kors, michael kors, sac guess, ray ban uk, lululemon, oakley pas cher, tn pas cher, hogan, air jordan pas cher, vans pas cher, true religion jeans, vanessa bruno, louboutin pas cher, air max, hermes, true religion jeans, ray ban pas cher, longchamp pas cher, coach purses, nike free, coach outlet, timberland, north face, nike air max, true religion outlet, sac longchamp, converse pas cher, air force, kate spade handbags, true religion jeans, nike air max

October 14, 2015 1:59 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

mcm handbags, vans, nike trainers, nfl jerseys, converse, ray ban, north face outlet, ghd, longchamp, timberland boots, celine handbags, wedding dresses, vans shoes, mac cosmetics, herve leger, babyliss, ferragamo shoes, abercrombie and fitch, beats by dre, north face outlet, nike air max, mont blanc, baseball bats, bottega veneta, reebok shoes, gucci, valentino shoes, jimmy choo shoes, birkin bag, nike air max, ralph lauren, nike huarache, soccer jerseys, louboutin, oakley, converse outlet, instyler, giuseppe zanotti, iphone 6 cases, new balance, lululemon, hollister, p90x workout, hollister, soccer shoes, chi flat iron, insanity workout, nike roshe, hollister, asics running shoes

October 14, 2015 2:00 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

replica watches, bottes ugg, coach outlet, toms shoes, swarovski, montre pas cher, hollister, doke gabbana outlet, moncler, moncler, juicy couture outlet, canada goose outlet, wedding dresses, michael kors handbags, moncler, canada goose outlet, pandora charms, pandora jewelry, moncler, pandora jewelry, ugg boots uk, canada goose, supra shoes, thomas sabo, louis vuitton, pandora charms, moncler outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, barbour jackets, doudoune canada goose, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, canada goose, lancel, michael kors outlet online, sac louis vuitton pas cher, marc jacobs, barbour, moncler, karen millen, links of london, ugg pas cher, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, swarovski crystal, moncler, michael kors outlet, canada goose uk, moncler, canada goose, louis vuitton, canada goose

October 14, 2015 2:01 AM  
Blogger mmjiaxin said...

fitflops outlet sale
thomas sabo outlet
tods shoes
louis vuitton,borse louis vuitton,louis vuitton sito ufficiale,louis vuitton outlet
polo ralph lauren
michael kors factory online
nike air max
beats headphones
nike roshe
coach outlet store
tiffany outlet
black friday 2015
uggs outlet
louis vuitton outlet
true religion jeans
lululemon uk
moncler jackets
designer handbags,handbags outlet,cheap handbags,purses and handbags,wholesale handbags,designer bags,bags outlet,handbags wholesale,cheap purses,discount handbags,handbags sale,wholesale purses,handbags and purses,designer purses
ugg outlet online
ferragamo shoes sale
mm1214

December 13, 2015 7:53 PM  
Blogger 柯云 said...

2016-06-02keyun
louis vuitton outlet stores
true religion outlet
coach outlet online
oakley outlet
nike store uk
cheap air jordans
ray ban sunglasses outlet
nike roshe run mens
adidas originals store
ray ban outlet
michael kors outlet online
louis vuitton bags
ray bans
nike air huarache
coach outlet
tiffany rings
ray ban sunglasses outlet
cheap toms
coach outlet
nike sb janoski
ray bans
ladies cartier watches
coach outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet online
toms shoes
replica rolex watches
ray ban outlet
coach outlet online
louis vuitton outlet stores
toms outlet
air jordan shoes
fitflop shoes
michael kors handbags
louis vuitton outlet online
hollister clothing
polo ralph lauren
louis vuitton handbags

June 02, 2016 4:34 AM  
Blogger aaa kitty20101122 said...

kobe basketball shoes
retro jordans
pandora jewelry
yeezy boost 350 v2
adidas outlet
air jordans
adidas nmd
curry 3 shoes
air force 1
prada glasses

July 22, 2017 5:04 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home