Skip to comments.The future of manufacturing
Posted on 12/02/2004 11:40:26 PM PST by billybudd
I was reading a nanotech article on TechCentralStation and started thinking about the future of manufacturing. I can see three potential futures. The real one may be some sort of synthesis, or the application of each in different domains, or the overall dominance of one over the others.
1. Assembly - this is the current manufacturing method, which has been used for centuries. It is a reductionist method: break up the system you want to build into component parts. Build those first, then put them together.
2. Digital printing - like the 3D printers today, except many times larger, faster, higher resolution, and using a wide variety of materials.
3. Self-organizing nanobots - simple little machines that do one task repetitively. Put a bunch of these suckers together (say, millions) and you've got yourself a ginormous workforce. The problem with this method is providing these drones with the intelligence to work in a context larger than their local environment. For example, a bot may know to join two molecules together, but it has no idea it's building a car.
Mohammadens are probably dumb enough to build everything we could ever want, at slave wages, if we can convince them they're building bomb vests.
Productivity would soar. Let's start with a Hormel bacon factory and see what happens.
Depends on the world economic situation.
I can easily envision 3-4 plausable senarios.
Good idea, but you'll have to keep the money, they will think if you pay them that there is something up.
Not WHAT, but WHERE will it be?
Nano is only something between an idea and a dream. Like a voyage to the moon was in the 16th Century.
Good fiction on the subject is Stevenson's "The Diamond Age".
Design and testing all done up front with digiatl modeling. Faster time from concept to market with fewer recalls also due to software. More robotics. The unltimate goal will be a factory without lights, not because of the electrical bill savings, but because it is completely automated and no one works there. The renewed love affair with cheap labor will end as quickly as it started.