I strongly feel that in more ways than one, humanity had been trained for over three decades in the art of the sandbox — designing their own little worlds in the confines of video games and editing tools on the computer. Call it divine preparation. Call it some sort of premonition of things to come. Even call it an accident. Whatever it may be, it is apparent that man will always long to expand the realm of his imagination into something more and more tangible.
So take for instance video games such as Little Big Planet, Minecraft, The Sims and The Incredible Machine that all allow you to create your own little worlds. From the virtual dollhouses of The Sims to the virtual cities of SIM City. From the text-based storytelling of Sierra to scripted cinematics found in the Half-Life series. This is man punching a hole through the roof to see the cosmos of progress.
In the near future, every home will have a large format 3D printer. It will print tools. It will print furniture. It will even print your car. Every home will need to stock on a supply of raw material, resin perhaps for most but there will be a number of compounds (in powdered form) which homes can utilize for the creation of their little sandbox reality.
This eco-friendly car was printed using a 3D printer. At least most of it.
“Goodbye hardware store. I can print all my tools.”
In the same way that the Internet and social media gave rise to new jobs we’ve never heard of before, the large format 3D printing industry will give rise to new jobs in the creative sphere. Where before, creativity was mostly limited to the expression of art, this creativity found in the depths of Minecraft level designers and gaming engine moders can be directly applied to the real world. In printed form.
I see an economic shift as hardware stores may actually become a thing of the past and we will in some way go back to medieval times and have our wrench made from “Steve” three blocks away because he developed a really amazing schematic which he shares online. And he gets a cut whenever the schematic is downloaded.
They are our modern day blacksmiths, working not with their hands but with the machinations that occur in their minds. And the world will once again give rise to craftsmen and artisans.