Rabu, 09 Juli 2014

MindBullets: News from the Future

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published by FutureWorld.org
Free energy spawns hordes of wetbots and kills off big brands
Dateline: 13 July 2033
"We're closing up shop. Wetbots made us broke." The production chief of iRobot consumer products grins ruefully. "Luckily we've still got our military contracts!"
Since open source, peer production of printed solar panels has made electric power almost zero cost, robots have taken over agriculture, mining and most manufacturing. With no jobs but plenty of creative spirit, the 'maker' movement has spawned millions of backyard factories, churning out low volume, low cost 3D printed products for anyone and everyone.
Hipster geeks have, quite disparagingly, called these one-man factories "wetbots" - humans doing the work of a robot.
Multifabbers for the home or garage, capable of printing in plastics, metals and electronics, all at the same time, completely revolutionized the manufacturing process, even replicating themselves. Bioprinters have done the same for food and organic goods like leather. The Internet of Things made us massively more productive, in every business.
But the ultimate leveller was energy, because all these machines need power. Cheap solar substrates and the sharing of surplus energy - called the "energy internet" - sealed the deal for networks of individuals to produce whatever they need, at almost zero cost, other than their spare time.
Now even robot companies like iRobot are at risk in this new paradigm. Profits from innovation evaporate in the face of competition from the wetbot network. Brands lose their value. Is this the end of capitalism as we know it?
Published 10 July 2014
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Links to related stories
1. The Zero Marginal Cost Society - Jeremy Rifkin
2. Beyond zero marginal cost - FuturesForum, 7 May 2014
3. Jeremy Rifkin on the Energy Internet - Big Think, 20 May 2014
4. MindBullet: TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT MEANS NO WORK BUT BASIC PAY (Dateline 3 February 2024, Published 15 May 2014)
5. MindBullet: THE FUTURE OF MANUFACTURING IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR (Dateline 18 September 2023, Published 6 June 2013)
6. MindBullet: LET G-DROIDS DO THE DIRTY WORK (Dateline 17 July 2018, Published 27 February 2014)
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Despite appearances to the contrary, FutureWorld cannot and does not predict the future. Our MindBullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright FutureWorld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. Public domain image.
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