Thursday, August 9, 2012

Technology and poverty,what will the future hold?

Man as a species has broken the bonds suffered by all other life forms that exist on this world.The ability to manipulate our surroundings have given mankind a life of comfort and prosperity that is truly unique in the reality in which we exist.Medical advances are increasing life span and quality of life and breakthroughs in science and industry are revolutionary.
While caught up in the buzz of discovery and innovation mankind has possibly overlooked some important issues with technological development.Although it my seem unlikely,many new advances in tech could very possibly create a regression in prosperity and quality of life for the entire human species. This regression will start at the poverty level first and creep it's way all the way to the super rich if not put into check.
One such dangerous technological break through is additive manufacturing or "3d printing".While this type of creation or manufacturing is largely unheard of it has already started changing they way corporations view manufacturing.3d printing reduces the amount of material,time,and manpower needed to produce virtually ANY item imaginable. Entire production and assembly lines have been and will be replaced by a handful of 3d printers.This technology will and has begun to eliminate millions of jobs within the middle class and on down through the poor. At present many 3d printers are capable of using multiple types of material without the limits conventional manufacturing,combination printers can for example ,produce an automotive alternator with only the push of a button and when completed all moving parts and electronics are totally functional.A cad drawing or blue print will be loaded into a regular pc and then a real world product will be constructed by applying layers until the desired item is totally complete.Totally functional when removed from the printing device.This technology will end the existence of foundries,machine shops,steel mills,plastics manufacturers,even glass and ceramic producers.
Today manufacturing companies are tooling up 3d printers to create more advanced 3d printers and many sectors of the science and technology world are even very close to completing 3d printers that will replicate autonomous drone worker robots for mining the asteroid belt.The inherent danger in this type of technology seems like something from a bad science fiction novel but the fact is that it isn't fiction.
Adding to this change in the global workforce will be the autonomous vehicle.Many people are not aware that Google has created the first totally autonomous automobile and now many states have created new laws allowing these robotic vehicles to acquire learner's driving permits.This in it's self is an issue that no one can really accurately predict because no one can be sure what may happen.Though cars learning to drive themselves seems bad enough the real threat of this advancement comes from the vast numbers of truck drivers,taxi drivers,and other delivery service drivers.Imagine if every large and small commercial truck seen on the interstates were being piloted by an onboard computer.A human driver that has to stop for food and rest and other bodily demands cannot compete with a machine that feels no fatigue or attachment to family,making robotic drivers more economically viable than human drivers.All the while doing whatever they are instructed to do with out error.With the new technological boundaries lifted by 3d printing,new and unusual robotics will be possible and soon autonomous vehicles will have their very own support robots for loading ,unloading,and roadside emergencies.The lack of removable or accessible parts due to 3d printing along with robotic mechanics will weaken the demand for auto repair specialist and general mechanics.
Technology is growing a incredible rates and the world and way we live will soon change so profoundly that many people will be totally unable to keep up with the rate of change,creating more and deeper divisions within society and quite possibly a break down of society as we know it today.
Nothing is for certain but the fact that we cannot begin to predict what dangers lie ahead for the citizens of the world.

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