Thursday, April 7, 2011

A little light reading...

         I recently aquired the book to the right as part of my research into fabrication for The Black Desert.  It's a pretty good read; it has less to do with the technology itself and more with how that technology can be used in unexpected ways by people in developing countries to make use of the resources they have and address the problems unique to their regions.  My favorite story from the book is how a Ghanan chief is using fabricators to make solar-heated, steam-driven Tesla turbines for power and Vortex tubes hooked up to truck air-compressors to provide refrigeration.  This is heavy stuff- just a fraction of Ghana's available solar energy equates to more power than 10,000 nuclear reactors.  It's this kind of thing - the ability to manufacture without infrastructure - that transforms the "developing" nations of today into the political and economic powerhouses of the 23rd century in The Black Desert

           What do you guys think?  If fabricators become as ubiquitous as I they think they will, what do you think will happen to trade, economics, and the balance of power in the world?  Comments lines are open.  I'll see you tomorrow, RocketFans!


  1. I assume you mean Fab. I assume because there isn't a picture or link.

    Anyway, what do widespread fabs do? Well, they change things. A lot of creativity and energy gets unleashed to solve problems previously considered too trivial or unimportant to solve. The biggest bottleneck becomes skills, but that is something people can acquire themselves, and it can also go evolutionary. People won't always use the school solution and may find more efficient, different or relevant solutions to the problem at hand. Or it may just become a popular solution.

    Now, trade. Folks will trade feed stocks for chemical and bio fabs (tissue engineering for the win!). They'll also trade materials that can work with conventional fabs - raw materials, semi-finished materials or salvage that can be broken down for use in the fabs. People will also trade plans, skills/expertise. And that means either the web, or secured media for things people light heartedly hope to retain as trade secrets.

    Balance of power could shift to the individual. This assumes power and feedstocks aren't restricted of course. If they are, things are a bit freer, but probably can get nasty. And governments will have a hard time restricting this sort of stuff. Want a compressed air pistol that can get through a metal detector and uses spider silk proteins for the tough bits? Talk to your local black net contact - expect the favor trade to be tough though.

    So, things that touch on this. The aforementioned Fab.
    Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suarez, where the insurgents use fabs to good effect creating drones, etc.
    Then there's Charles Stross forthcoming Rule 34 which has fabs playing a major role in the plot for all that its a mystery thriller.

    Phew, and that's it for tonight. G'night Ray.

  2. And one more from a setting riff on The Shareware Hardware Collapse. Some neat bits there.

  3. I posted an Amazon link at the top of the it not showing up on your browser?

  4. Not in Firefox. IE 7+ it works though.

  5. Wait - I'VE got Firefox! 'Course, I'm also using the Ubuntu 10.10 distro. Maverick Meerkat FTW!


Questions, comments, criticisms? All non-Trolls welcome!