As a lifetime Physicist, I’ve was reading up on the progress in 3-d printing and related technologies tonight. Interestingly, you can buy a CNC Mill (computer numerical control) milling machine for 1500 dollars, capable of making things like an AR-15 weapon (see the Ghost Gunner 2 CNC mill, for example). As technology progresses, the average person will be able to make fairly sophisticated parts and machines, and I can envision construction of complex molecules—essentially allowing people to make chemical compounds—in the not-too-distant future. People are already “printing” organic tissue and organs in labs. And of course cheap FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) technology has been around a long time, and it provides the tool for making complex electronics, simply by “programming” circuits. These FPGA’s are quite sophisticated, you can probably program (create) a fairly powerful computer using them, along with some simple power handling auxiliary components on a PC board. The concept of societal “control” of knowledge, and manufacturing is quickly slipping away (or has slipped away), just as control of secure data is already a myth—proving, once again, that the concept of such absolute control is an illusion.
Just as we’re seeing an increase in people and organizations hostile to our society, we’re also seeing the democratization of many of the tools that bring advanced technology to the individual troublemaker or small group of troublemakers. Even the machines to make machines can be built. The greatest, most powerful weapon in existence is the human brain.
This technology revolution also inspired the ideas used in The Balance back in 2011, when I wrote the first draft of that book.
—Things I think about at 3:00 in the morning when I should be sleeping and don’t feel like writing.