Fifty years ago, Americans dreamed of flying cars. Instead they got smart phones, beer drones, and working handguns that can be pressed from plastic in one’s own living room. Fair trade?
Jazz wrote about this on Saturday but the video wasn’t available yet. Now it is. There are still barriers to the technology — 3-D printers remain expensive-ish, the range and accuracy of the gun is unclear at the moment, and the first test using larger ammo resulted in an explosion — but that will change, as it always does. Congressional Democrats are already vowing to ban the weapons; if you’re familiar with torrent sites, you know how likely that is to succeed. I’m curious to see how professional gun manufacturers handle it. Do they start working on their own printable designs or wait to see if freelancers can come up with something that’s accurate and durable enough to give the pros real competition? I assume they’ll hold off, just because they won’t want to mainstream this option as an alternative to buying from them.
The criminal potential here is obvious, but I’m imagining a re-run of Iran’s Green Revolution in 2009 in an alternate universe where 3-D printers were ubiquitous. Different outcome? With stuff like this on the horizon, regimes like theirs may have to pull the plug entirely on civilian telecommunications during moments of tumult.