Posts Tagged ‘ academic ’

Desktop Fabrication: Blurring the Distinction Between the Physical and the Virtual

I wrote this essay for a computer ethics class. The main focus of the class was the need for computer ethics. The primary argument for this thesis was the newness of action inherent in the information age. After thinking about this for quite some time I realized that 3D printing could move some of this newness from the strictly virtual world to the physical reality we know.

The information age has greatly changed the way we interact with the world around us, but its greatest effects have so far been relegated to a virtual world. The separation of the digital from the physical is being bridged more everyday. We can already witness some of this change in the abstracted idea of monetary wealth and its benefits finding a thriving ecosystem in the digital landscapes. The mass produced consumer goods we see in a store are replicated to a precision that would not be possible without the existence of computer technology. As the ability to fabricate goods becomes cheaper and the skill level needed to use the technology becomes increasingly lower there will be a shift of the centralized power over the means of production to a more diffused power. With the power in the hands of the many the ability to make and share goods will create a physical equivalent to the digital piracy we see today, but it will have a much greater impact on how westerners view property. As the digital creations begin to acquire physical counterparts so to may the artificial intelligences of today. Like the personal computer desktop fabrication will change the way humanity interacts, and it will call into question many of the long term beliefs that westerners have as to what exactly a physical object is.

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