Welcome to The Matrix

We have entered the second generation of ‘machine generation’ with 3D printers.

Till now we used to have machines assembling machines from parts. For example, a robot in a car factory building a car. [UPDATE: link added] Now we can ‘print’ cars, or their parts thereof using a 3D printer.

As with every technology, as 3D printers get smaller, more efficient, faster and cheaper, I can almost visualize future machines having their own ‘healing units’ which can create and replace a part that has been worn out. Take it a step further and you can have fully self-spawning machines, not quite unlike living beings today.

And with huge acceleration provided to machine learning thanks to big data and miniaturized supercomputing, those machines could take decisions, and think for themselves. I give it 20 years to see ourselves living in a world filled with a completely different generation of machines, which are very close to humans in capabilities. I was reading the other day that in 20 years machines will know how to be funny, creative and, wait for it, sexy. The processing capabilities of your cell phone today, which is probably more powerful than yesteryears’ supercomputer, could be packed into something the size of a blood cell. On one hand we have the possibility of killing cancer cells by injecting intravenous supercomputers into the blood and keep a constant tab on our health. On the other, I wonder if it would be possible to monitor (and control?) people’s behavior using similar micro-gadgets. An extended version of The Manchurian Candidate could perhaps become reality?

I wonder if someday machines will be ’employing’ humans and patenting (imprisoning?) the intelligent ones. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Would you like to be harvested for energy?

PS: Did you ‘hear’? A 3D printed record has been created in the lab.

UPDATE: It has been 3 months since I wrote this post and we already have a 3D printed car and ear. Yes, the organ. I’m not saying I saw it coming, but I remember people saying that I was fantasizing and it was too far in the future to think about. Maybe not that far, after all.

I’m excited!


5 thoughts on “Welcome to The Matrix

  1. you seem to have a way too otimistic view on everything. There is no 3dprinter that prints anything close to a transistor, let alone multicore GPUs, and the massive improvements in AI technology have produced nothing resembling “intelligence” as it’s normally considered.

    I mean, in 20 years we may have very beautiful self driving cars with home printed shells, but they would still be completely unable to understand your jokes, and the CPU will still be produced in taiwan.

    • Haha.. that’s what I’m known as – the optimist. But seriously, for a minute, assume a 3D printer capable of printing objects in nanometers of details. Then it would probably sound less crazy 🙂 I have obviously thought of it as a science fiction for now, hence the correlation with The Matrix, but I see it as something that is possible in the future, if not in the near, then in the distant one.
      As for AI, it hasn’t really done miracles in the last 40+ years of research but I’m, er, an optimist who thinks all the data coming in would make things smarter. Look at Google Now. Whether computers will tell or understand jokes is altogether a different matter. We’ll see. I want to live atleast till the time my computer invents a ‘knock knock’ joke 🙂

  2. Yes I have pondered on this and it is inevitable I believe. The real question is when it’ll happen and whether it is going to be for better or worse.

  3. Think about a new dimension. 3D printers that print themselves. So we have self reproducing machines. Don’t know if that will be a menace to mankind or not, but if they can self-replicate, make processors and chips and with development of AI, we will be in a Terminator world.

    • That is kind of what I meant when I said ‘healing units’. 3D printer and some robotic machinery required for printing and replacing the worn out parts.

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