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Beware of the Invisible Gun of the Near Future

Posted in Convergence, Crime, Disruptive Technology, Future, Futurist, Manufacturing, Police, Risk

Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed delivered a real “shot heard around the world” last week when he demonstrated an operational 3D printed gun.

As profound as this event is, the future is about to become even stranger–and more frightening.

This is because researchers at Duke University have just created a simple invisibility cloak using a 3D printer.

In case you need help connecting the dots, this development suggests that the idea of an invisible gun may soon move from the realm of science fiction to science fact.

The world and its new emerging technologies are converging at warp speed and they are spinning off in some crazy directions.

3D printing is becoming more affordable and soon increasingly complex objects will be able to be printed with the help of advanced algorithms and nanomaterials. (This is now the invisible gun will be created.)

The madness won’t stop there because the CAD file for the printable invisible gun will be uploaded to BitTorrent (or some other cloud-based file-sharing service) where it will exist forever to be downloaded by both well-intentioned and ill-intentioned individuals.

And lest you take some small comfort in law enforcements’ ability to “follow the money” and track individuals who are selling or profiting from 3D-printed guns, this is highly unlikely because the creators are likely to be financially compensated via digital crypto-currencies such as BitCoin which are untracable.

Technology, in and of itself, is neither good or bad. It is how the technology is used that ultimately matters. Nevertheless, society is now at the point where lone individuals can wield extraordinary power for good–or evil.

There is no satisfying answer to the age-old dilemma of the doubled-edged nature of technology and, perhaps, the best we can hope for is that the responsible “invisible gun owners of the future” act as a check on those less responsible.

Still, before society gets to this point, it needs to be asking more–and tougher–questions and we may want to start with this one: Just because we can do something does that necessarily imply we should do it?

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