Micro factories flood many scientists' mind since the coming of nanoscience age.
A micro factory or personal factory is a device that, with the use of nanobots, create almost every thing a human can desire, from a jacket to a piece of raw meat or a cup filled with the famous Earl Gray tea of captain Piccard from the Star Trek science-fiction series.
The Star Trek series is not the only one TV show that dreamed of that device; several other series, like Stargate SG-1, also have their own creation machines.
Some of the implications of these devices are:
Economical implications are unknown, but many companies, including the ones that provide food, will face difficult days. Most users will prefer to produce their own meals and other items directly at home without having to go to the supermarket. For example, a user needs a replacement glass for his front window, and he or she will tell the machine to produce the glass and then place it into the window frame. By following these steps at least three industries are simply not necessary.
Health implications are amazing, too; a user arrives to a hospital with a severely damaged kidney. The nanosurgeons can't repair the damaged kidney, then so a doctor starts the “replicator” and with a sample of the previous kidney or with a blood sample, and a new kidney is rebuilt and transplanted to the patient, while nanosurgeons will connect the new organ. This may revive a concept that has existed with mankind since it had consciousness: immortality. In this case, it means the continuous replacement of old or inefficient organs with new ones, and the consequences of this situation deserves a book or even more.
If a user produces its own meals, will livestock be necessary? Will farms disappear? Will be earth consumed by nanobots when extracting basic molecules to create new products? These are questions for which no single answer exists.
All these devices must provide a way to prevent a user from creating a bomb or a machine gun; also, there is a chance that the way the machine works is inverted, and it could happen that somebody finds the means to destroy instead of create products, so this machine can be used to kill or inflict damage to humans.
Will be these machines be like the ones depicted in science fiction? Will the machines able to create new tools using basic or vague descriptions given by its human operator? Will these machines able to propose or even improve their own designs? Will people use AI to create the products?
It is an interesting future tech, but how many benefits will report to us? Only time will tell, but this is the time where decisions are made, and these decisions will define the future, so let’s be careful.
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