May 13, 2012 | Ronda Jambe

Quadruple bottom line but only three D printing

Did you also drop your jaw, stunned, when you first heard about 3D printing?

How can that be? Surely this is something way down the track…

But having seen how sci fi influenced real science on the show Prophets of Science Fiction, I understand these things are often closer than we think.

And many of the products we are already using have been made with ‘additive manufacturing’.

It brings together digitisation, new carbon fibre materials, and business concepts such as just in time, mass customisation, the long tail, and probably others.

It links to the ‘Maker Community’, that sees anything as makable, and they collaborate to assist each other.

I want it. My byword for using digital photography to iterate, modify, and improve collages and drawings has always been: Once you digitise, all is forgiven.

And once you digitise, say, a key shape as a 3D design, you can (almost) never lose your key, because you can just go to a kiosk, put your thumb drive in, and print another, perhaps in a different colour. That much is just around the corner. And there goes the job of key-cutter in the local mall. But other jobs will come into existence.

More exciting will be the way this leap forward will transform manufacturing, in both the developed and less developed world. The Economist, my faithful informer, called it the third industrial revolution in a cover feature, and goes into some detail about the impacts. Manufacturing will become smaller, more flexible, and much more dependent on highly skilled sets of minds. And much less dependent on labour – the factory concept will fade away.

This much is comprehensible, very exciting and optimistic. What a clever bunch we are! or rather you, somewhere out there, as this is all godlike in my estimation.

My deeper interest is in the environmental, ethical and spiritual dimension of these changes. Can we do well by doing smart, kind, and please, beautiful?

And governance, accountability, the full quadruple bottom line. Where are we going? How fast? and what do we need to do to change the direction of spaceship earth?

Very bad, very fast are the answers to the first two questions. All the indicators for climate change are in the ‘worst case ‘ area. Please correct me if I overstate the problem.

And last week, Liberal House of Assembly member Brendan Smith in the ACT called the bluff on the accountability of the ACT Greens: He simply pointed out that after four years of holding the balance of power in the ACT, the most recent State of the Environment report for Canberra reported declining environmental indicators in many areas.

Those who voted for the Greens, he points out, have not received vindication. No return on that democratic investment, as Canberra veers ever closer to a massive housing glut with inadequate public transport.

A friend commutes from Canberra to Queanbeyan, which has ridiculous traffic at many times of the day. She sensibly suggested that we make use of the train line between neighboring Queanbeyan and Kingston. Kingston is near the Parliamentary Triangle and the entertainment areas in Manuka, in a sensible world commuters would pull their bikes into an open carriage, and ride the short distance at the other end.

But no policy docs I found included this part in the proposals for light rail, not even the Greens. Too holistic to think across jurisdictions? To me, Canberra is becoming ugly in patches, and that is part of my quadruple bottom line. Now I’m going to water the corriander.






Posted by Ronda Jambe at 9:55 am | Comments Off on Quadruple bottom line but only three D printing |
Filed under: Economics

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