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How will society adopt 3D printing?

Publication of Creating 010
P. Troxler, | Part of a book | Publication date: 25 December 2015
In this chapter, Troxler and Van Woensel will try to identify the possible socio-technical changes that 3D printing effectuates and their larger consequences on businesses, the economy and society at large. To this end, they first track the emergence of three-dimensional printing technology. They draw the analogy with the developments of other digital technologies, particularly in media. In that way, they understand consumer 3D printing as the latest addition to these developments. Troxler and Van Woensel then sketch some of the next developments they expect in enterprise 3D printing. Framing 3D printing in the context of ‘industrial revolutions’ leads them to understand this development as part of broader, socio-technical ones that drive lateral power structures, distributed control and a networked society beyond the Internet in the physical realm. The authors then investigate some of the business and legal challenges for companies. Looking into these challenges leads them to matters of definition and scope in regard to product liability and consumer protection, and of intellectual property rights. Finally, the authors ask what governments can do to mollify concerns and let opportunities flourish. They provisionally conclude that an open-minded approach to 3D printing and the social-technical developments it represents is most promising. -


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