February 7th, 02013 by Andrew Warner
Tuesday February 19, 02013 at the Lam Research Theater at YBCA, San Francisco
Long Now emeritus board member Chris Anderson originally earned his marks in publishing, starting as an editor of Science, Nature, and The Economist before taking the helm of Wired magazine. It was at Wired that Anderson became an unofficial evangelist of the Maker’s movement, becoming so deeply involved that he recently quit his day job as Editor to join a 22-year-old from Tijuana in running a “Makers” firm, 3D Robotics. Anderson’s current prognosis for the future focuses on how the Maker’s movement will change the world of objects that surround us:
Here’s the history of two decades in one sentence: If the past 10 years have been about discovering post-institutional social models on the Web, then the next 10 years will be about applying them to the real world.
Anderson’s book THE LONG TAIL chronicled how the web revolutionized and democratized content distribution. For most of history, to publish content one required a factory, complete with the bureaucratic systems that surround such institutions. When the first desktop laser printer became accessible, it created a new wave of self publishing. Nearly thirty years later, all we need to do is click a “publish” button in WordPress. Anderson’s new book MAKERS shows how the same thing is happening to manufacturing, with even wider consequences for the world:
Transformative change happens when industries democratize, when they’re ripped from the sole domain of companies, governments, and other institutions and handed over to regular folks. The Internet democratized publishing, broadcasting, and communications, and the consequence was a massive increase in the range of both participation and participants in everything digital — the long tail of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing — the long tail of things.
It all started when Anderson wanted to find some new science projects to work on with his kids. He bought a 3d printer (check out the demo below) and found a series of projects that were kid-friendly. Although his kids often quickly lost interest in the various projects he started, Anderson realized that technologies like 3D printers were more than just hobbyist niches. They were the beginnings of a system that has the power to disrupt established systems of manufacturing. MAKERS shows how new systems of funding (kickstarter, crowdfunding), open-sourced design communities (thingiverse.com), and new manufacturing technologies (3d printers, laser cutters, web-integrated small-batch factories) together allow for the radical democratization of manufacturing:
The collective potential of a million garage tinkerers is about to be unleashed on the global markets, as ideas go straight into production, no financing or tooling required. “Three guys with laptops” used to describe a Web startup. Now it describes a hardware company, too.
Chris Anderson will discuss the coming “Maker’s Revolution” and how it will affect our systems of manufacturing on February 19th at the Lam Research Theater at YBCA. You can reserve tickets, get directions, and sign up for the podcast on the Seminar page. This talk is in partnership with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and we would like to extend a special welcome to the YBCA:YOU members. We would also like to welcome members of General Assembly. Check your email for special ticketing instructions.