Originally published January 19 2015
3D printers will revolutionize war, foreign policy and the entire global economy
by Jennifer Lilley
(NaturalNews) Society is about to experience a change of historic proportions, one so significant that it may revolutionize the global economy as well as war and foreign policy. The technology that's driving the changes? It's one that's increasingly gaining strides in people's overall awareness: 3D printers.
While some people are hesitant about the technology, chalking up their ability to make plastic gadgets as fleeting hype, the printers are proving to be capable of much more.
For example, mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor set out to use a 3D printer to print food for astronauts who are facing long missions. Although in the early stages, he was successful in building a prototype that printed a pizza.(1)
Then there's computer scientist Yuichiro Takeuchi. Through the use of 3D printers, he developed a way to print yarn into garden beds of any shape. He's doing his part not only to liven up bare city rooftops but to become involved in a way to maintain an important element of Japanese culture. "Here in Japan we love fireflies (they have a special cultural significance), but as they can only thrive in pristine environments we don't see them in dense, built-up Tokyo," Takeuchi said. "I'm hoping that by installing a number of printed gardens on rooftops and walls throughout Tokyo, I can someday bring back fireflies to my neighborhood."(2)
If pizza for astronauts and rooftop gardens still sound like hype, know that that's just the beginning. Society's on the cusp of experiencing much more due to the printers' enormous potential, even beyond ones that Contractor and Takeuchi have created.
3D printers will help soldiersAlex Chausovsky, an analyst at IHS Technology, says that the US military has invested in 3D printing efforts that are poised to print everything from food to uniforms and even synthetic skin. The synthetic skin may be able to help soldiers tend to battle wounds, which will not only aid in faster healing but allow them to return to their duties quicker. In more extreme cases, it may ensure their safety until an injury can be more closely examined.(3)
Overseas, other military ideas involving the printing technology are also extraordinarily impressive. BAE Systems, a British defense firm, has already installed the first printed metal part in a Tornado jet fighter. Their success spurred future-thinking ideas by the firm involving a plane actually printing another plane from inside itself, which could ultimately be launched from the undercarriage.
How 3D printers could bring changes to foreign policyPeter W. Singer, an expert in future warfare at the New America Foundation, says that such technology has the potential to even change foreign policy.(3)
He explains that, although changes in the amount of, or even need for, private defense companies may result due to 3D printing technology, the end result would be worth it. "Defence contractors want to sell you an item but also want to own the supply chain for 50 years," he said. "But now you'll have soldiers in an austere outpost in somewhere like Afghanistan who can pull down the software for a spare part, tweak the design and print it out."(3)
Singer also says that foreign policy may change, most notably when it comes to sanctions. "The US has sanctioned everything from fighter jet spare parts to oil equipment," he said. "3D printing could turn sanctions -- which have been a crucial part of foreign policy for a generation or more -- into an antiquated notion."(3)
Overall economy may change with help of 3D printersIt's no secret that much of the economy operates on a fast-paced manufacturing system that produces cheaply made products created by low-paid laborers.
Enter 3D printers.
"If you want to know where the big threat of 3D printing is, think about how reliant China is on its low-cost merchandising sector," said Chausovsky.(3)
He explains that, as 3D printers grow in popularity and prove themselves fully functional, then anyone will have the ability to print retail items. As a results, areas that rely on cheap factory labor will likely find their economies in a tailspin, changing the global course of retail supply and demand.
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