3D printing and the role of this technology in the future: expert opinion from IBM

    The problem of copyright is often discussed on Habré, sometimes also in connection with the rapid development of 3D printing technologies. Last year, an article was even published that discussed both of these topics. This year, Paul Brody, head of IBM's global consulting practice, expressed an interesting view on the distribution of 3D printers and their impact on the manufacturing process / copyright.

    In general, Brody considered not only the problem of the relationship between 3D printing and copyright, so to speak, the expert also touched on a number of other problems. But first, let's see what an IBM representative thinks about the impact of 3D printing on copyrights and how some areas of production will evolve.

    So, the coexistence of copyright and 3D printing is really a very big problem (first of all, for copyright holders, it goes without saying). Firstly, no one has yet regulated 3D printing, although in the future all this may result in a kind of “piracy” when an ordinary user buys a regular printer and prints some brand-name item, the design rights of which belong to any company. Brody believes that this is not so much a problem as an excuse for companies to look for "new ways of doing business and monetization models." Some companies need to transform in time to keep up with the times. Of course, the legislative framework (in different countries) should also be changed accordingly (I would like to hope that the law will protect the interests of not only copyright holders).

    A simple example is given with a Starbucks brand mug. If 3D printing is as accessible as regular printing (on paper), but companies will have to work hard to do their things better than those that can be created on home 3D printers. Competition will increase in all industries, and production standards will increase. Paid, that is, branded things, should become much better in order to compete with the ubiquitous 3D printing.

    In addition, the importance of software companies that will play a major role in the development and operation of future production processes will grow, and very significantly. A production model will gradually develop, including components such as 3D printing, open platforms and intelligent robotics, all on an equal footing. But this will happen later, when 3D printing will become really common and accessible to everyone.

    Already visible all the prerequisites for the development of such a situation. For example, most recently, Stratosys acquired MakerBot for $ 600 million. Large manufacturers of equipment, machinery and various kinds of vehicles (let's take the same Boeing) are already working with 3D printing to create all kinds of parts / components.
    Paul Brodie believes that the main advantages of 3D printing are, firstly, speed, and secondly - the ability to customize consumer goods.

    In the future, for example, it will be possible to develop customized consumer goods (well, for example, the independent creation of customized toothbrushes for company employees).

    As you can see, an IBM representative believes that all this will develop quite smoothly, and 3D printing will affect competition in the production of consumer goods.

    By the way, the opinion of representatives of the Institute for the Future Palo Alto coincides with the opinion of Brody. Back in 2011, a work was published that statedthat "three-dimensional printing will become a" Big Bang for production ", as jobs in factories, logistics companies will be replaced by 3D printers, which will be installed in stores to print things on site, instead of taking them from somewhere."

    There are other opinions.

    For example, according to a lawyerMichael Weinberg, an intellectual property expert at Public Knowledge, can expect a massive attack by copyright holders — the same powerful attack that comes with unlicensed copying of audio and video materials. Producers of goods will probably lobby for the adoption of a new bill against 3D printing, by analogy with the DMCA, they will start hunting for CAD file hosters, will initiate criminal cases against users - and then on the familiar list.

    Of course, I would like to believe in the path shown by the representative of IBMwhere there is a kind of velvet revolution in the sphere of production. Probably, the situation will develop according to some kind of averaged scenario, which includes both Brody's prediction and Weinberg's prediction. Well, we just have to follow the development of events and ... print our own circles from Starbucks :)

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