Will 3D Printing and Crowdsourcing Bring the Industrial Revolution Home?

In Europe and the United States, unemployment rates that do not improve are typically given more attention than ever before (other than what Kate Middleton is wearing, of course). Aside from the depressing jobless figures, new trends may be altering labour markets and the economy as a whole.

Crowdsourcing was a popular term in 2011, but its potential has yet to be fully realized. 3D printing appears to be on the verge of digitizing manufacturing. Old people – many of whom are now able to turn on computers – may not be able to retire as soon as we had anticipated. These converging trends have the potential to improve our working lives – if handled correctly.

When the factory leaves, it comes home again.

The concept of a job hasn’t undergone significant changes since the industrial revolution. Most people spend weeks looking for a new employer, then forty years avoiding him (usually he’s still him). The assembly line was invented and then abandoned so that it might travel the globe, taking manufacturing work with it. Robots haven’t completely taken over businesses as we expected they would, but technology has made them more efficient (and fun to slouch off on company time). Most of our coworkers, on the other hand, are still annoyingly human.

However, the notion of a job is rapidly evolving. Millions of individuals don’t have to deal with a boss or coworkers any longer thanks to sites like Freelancer. Retirees and stay-at-home parents may work from the comfort of their own homes.

Although this may be true, but it will take a long time for us to have the ability to 3D print most of what we need locally. Companies like Ponoko will allow us to download its design and print it at home rather than sending it away to China for a replacement part. Overseas factories will continue to exist where they are more efficient, but as the founder of Ponoko, Dave ten Have stated, “we’re going to see a rebalancing – a considered shift away from mass centralization that we’ve seen in the previous 30 years.” Products will have greater cultural relevance and intimacy.

The power of the people.

The potential of crowdsourcing is similar to that of 3D printing. Every day, new uses for it are discovered, from making ringtones to eliminating HIV.

Currently, there are a lot of these gadgets that are more gimmicky than useful. If you clicked on the ringtone supplied above (and didn’t smash your computer trying to make it shut up), you’ll understand what I’m talking about. However, the sector is still in its early stages. As it matures, we should anticipate the cooperation and efficiency it promotes to create increasingly noteworthy outcomes.

For those of us in the crowdsourcing sector, 3D printing’s rapid expansion is especially exciting because it gives individuals even more power. This opens the door for new sorts of crowdsource (particularly in manufacturing), which is expected to be a fast-growing sector. Adding crowdfunding to the equation may surprisingly turn any product that appeals to a niche into a reality.

Like any major paradigm shift, these changes will produce winners and losers. Like any other industry, 3D printing and crowdsourcing will need appropriate regulation. We don’t want people printing money from home with guns. Those countries that embrace innovation and growth in these sectors will be most likely to profit from them. They may soon transform into uplifting success stories after their discussions about dismal local unemployment rates.

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