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Socio-technical changes brought about by three-dimensional printing technology

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P. Troxler, | Article | Publication date: 15 November 2013
The third industrial revolution is often thought to be caused by the emergence of three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. There is an evolving digital ecosystem that in several ways parallels the early development of digital music formats for the consumer market. At the same time there are social developments that build on the possibilities of digital and internet technology. To some, these changes in society evoke anxiety. In business, right holders fear the damage 3D printing technology will cause to their interests. Should they confront or adapt and what is the business case for a company accepting widespread use of 3D printing technology? And what is the socially responsible thing to do? The third industrial revolution is an assembly of socio-technical developments, the societal developments characterized by a trend towards lateral power structures and distributed control. Who should be trusted to coordinate these changes? Is this related to business ethics?

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